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West Valley College

West Valley College Program Options

At West Valley College, options such as an Associates of Science Degree or Post-Degree Certificate are available to students who have an AA/AS degree or higher, and the Paralegal Program is approved by the American Bar Association.

The American Bar Association gives us the following definition: A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, eligible by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who carries out specifically delegated substantive legal work that a lawyer is held accountable for.

Performing a wide variety of legal tasks under the supervision of an attorney, a Paralegal is a trained specialist. These legal tasks may include law office management, legal research and preparation of legal documents. No one but a licensed attorney is qualified to provide direct legal services to the public.

Program Information

The Paralegal Studies program's primary goal is to provide students the skills and knowledge to function as legal assistants. West Valley's paralegal studies program fulfills the needs of the State of California and helps improve the skills of legal professionals.

Students that finish the paralegal program successfully will gain: an outline of the US legal system; an outline of law skills in practice; knowledge of working in civil litigation; comprehension of ethical rules and regulations which are relevant to paralegals and other professionals; a rounded education based on integrating general education, legal theory and practical legal skills; and the chance to gain the skills required to function in fields of practice besides litigation.

Paralegals should possess exceptional organizational skills, and the ability to perform complex, detailed work quickly and accurately. It is vital to have effective communication skills, both written and oral, and be able to work well under pressure. Paralegals must be able to work both independently and on teams, and deal with a diverse work environment.

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