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Mercer County Community College

Mercer County Community College

Gain a successful career in the paralegal field

The program for the Certificate of Proficiency is a short one, and includes nothing more than legal specialty course and related subjects. Students not already in possession of a bachelor's or associate degree are ineligible for the Certificate of Proficiency program. Proof is needed that the student has either of these, and if the qualification is an associate in science or applied science, then candidates must possess a minimum of 18 credits of coursework in general education as part of that prior degree.

The Paralegal Certificate qualifies students for employment as a paralegal assistant in a number of possible positions. Most paralegals tend to work in law firms and for individual attorneys, and also in the legal department of banks, insurance firms private corporations, title companies, and government agencies. Internships are also available, and a successful internship must be completed during the final semester before graduating. The Mercer County Community College program has been approved by the American Bar Association.

Graduates that have successfully completed the program will:
  • Understand the function of a paralegal
  • Demonstrate a good range of practical skills covering a wide area of substantive law, including real estate, family, commercial and civil law, and wills and probate

The specialized courses in paralegal studies are available in evenings only, and the remainder during the day and/or evenings. They may also be studied either as full time or part time courses. The specialty legal courses are taught by fully qualified practicing lawyers. The college library contains an extensive range of legal publications appertaining to both New Jersey and to federal law, and courses in computerized legal research are available. The course is not intended for students planning to transfer to universities or four-year colleges, or to take further law-related studies, but for entry-level employment as a paralegal professional. It is not designed as a training course for legal administrators or attorneys. Paralegals and legal assistants are not permitted to practice law or to provide legal advice, set fees or to provide representation for clients in court. To do so is a criminal offence.

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