Paralegal Studies

Program Overview

The Paralegal Studies program is a sequence of courses that prepares students for positions in the paralegal profession. Learning opportunities develop academic technical and professional knowledge and skills required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. The knowledge and skills emphasized in this program include ethical obligations; research in state and federal law; legal correspondence preparation; family law matters; basic concepts of real property law, criminal law and procedure, civil litigation, tort law, substantive contract law; and wills trusts, and probate law. The program of study emphasizes opportunities that provide students with specialized legal knowledge and skills required to aid lawyers in the delivery of legal services. Program graduates receive a Paralegal Studies Associate of Applied Science degree.

Unauthorized Practice of Law-According to the Official Code of Georgia 15-19-51, paralegals shall not engage in the unauthorized practice of law and must work under the supervision and direction of an attorney in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia.

The Paralegal Studies program is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education (www.aafpe.org).

 

Entrance Requirements

Admissions Requirements

  • Students must be 16 years of age.
  • Completion of high school diploma or GED and submission of official transcript required to apply.
  • Achievement of minimum program admission scores in Reading, English, and Math.
  • A student must complete at least four legal specialty courses in a traditional classroom setting.
  • Transfer of previous post secondary credits will be determined by the Registrar. Any student seeking to transfer paralegal classes for credit may be asked to provide the Paralegal Studies Program Director and the Registrar\'s Office with a copy of a course description and syllabus for every class for which transfer credit is sought. Whether a paralegal course is transferable to Atlanta Technical College is subject to the discretion of the Paralegal Studies Program Director and the Registrar\'s Office. Atlanta Technical College reserves the right to request additional course materials for any class for which transfer credit is sought. Transfer credit may only be given for courses that are equivalent in content and credit hours.
  • Student Performance/Graduation Requirements: Students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average and complete all required courses to graduate.

 

Course Overview

Contact Hours
Credit Hours
Curriculum (69 hours)
General Education Courses (18 hours)
Area I - Language Arts/Communication (6 hours)
3
45
Explores the analysis of literature and articles about issues in the humanities and in society. Students practice various modes of writing, ranging from exposition to argumentation and persuasion. The course includes a review of standard grammatical and stylistic usage in proofreading and editing. An introduction to library resources lays the foundation for research. Topics include writing analysis and practice, revision, and research. Students write a research paper using library resources and using a formatting and documentation style appropriate to the purpose and audience.
SPCH
1101
3
45
Introduces the student to the fundamentals of oral communication. Topics include selection and organization of materials, preparation and delivery of individual and group presentations, analysis of ideas presented by others, and professionalism.
Area II - Social/Behavioral Sciences (6 hours)
Introduces the major fields of contemporary psychology. Emphasis is on fundamental principles of psychology as a science. Topics include research design, the organization and operation of the nervous system, sensation and perception, learning and memory, motivation and emotion, thinking and intelligence, lifespan development, personality, psychopathology and interventions, stress and health, and social psychology.
3
45
Explores the sociological analysis of society, its culture, and structure. Sociology is presented as a science with emphasis placed on its methodology and theoretical foundations. Topics include basic sociological concepts, socialization, social interaction and culture, social groups and institutions, deviance and social control, social stratification, social change, and marriage and family.
Area III - Natural Sciences/Mathematics (3 hours)
MATH
1111
3
45
Emphasizes techniques of problem solving using algebraic concepts. Topics include fundamental concepts of algebra, equations and inequalities, functions and graphs, and systems of equations; optional topics include sequences, series, and probability or analytic geometry.
Area IV - Humanities/Fine Arts (3 hours)
Select One of the Following (3 hours)
ARTS
1101
3
45
Explores the visual arts and the relationship to human needs and aspirations. Students investigate the value of art, themes in art, the elements and principles of composition, and the materials and processes used for artistic expression. Well-known works of visual art are explored. The course encourages student interest in the visual arts beyond the classroom.
3
45
Emphasizes American literature as a reflection of culture and ideas. A survey of important works in American literature. Includes a variety of literary genres: short stories, poetry, drama, nonfiction, and novels. Topics include literature and culture, essential themes and ideas, literature and history, and research skills.
Explores the philosophic and artistic heritage of humanity expressed through a historical perspective on visual arts, music, and literature. The humanities provide insight into people and society. Topics include historical and cultural developments, contributions of the humanities, and research.
Occupational Core Courses (51 hours)
3
75
Introduces the fundamental concepts, terminology, and operations necessary to use computers. Emphasis is placed on basic functions and familiarity with computer use. Topics include an introduction to computer terminology, the Windows environment, Internet and email, word processing software, spreadsheet software, database software, and presentation software.
Emphasizes the American legal system, the role of the lawyer and legal assistant within that system, and the ethical obligations imposed upon attorneys and legal assistants. Topics include: survey of American jurisprudence, code of professional responsibility and ethics overview, and introduction to areas of law and legal vocabulary.
Introduces the student to the process of locating statutory, judicial, administrative and secondary sources on both a state and federal level. The student will utilize both print and electronic research resources. Focuses on the application and reinforcement of basic writing skills, familiarizes the student with types of writing typically engaged in by lawyers and legal assistants, and prepares the student for legal writing tasks. The student learns to write business letters as well as advisory documents. Topics include: legal analysis and legal correspondence and composition.
Builds on competencies acquired in PARA 1102 and continues the process of locating statutory, judicial, administrative and secondary sources on both a state and federal level. The student will conduct a wider range of research in both print and electronic research resources. Emphasis will be placed on preparation of legal documents. Criminal case documents will be examined, but most of the emphasis will be on civil matters. The student will be presented factual scenarios, and utilizing these facts, research and develop a case from intake to trial.
PARA
1115
3
45
Introduces the student to the issues which may arise in family law cases and to the role of the paralegal in assisting the attorney in the development and presentation of such cases. Topics include: issues associated with client and witness interviews, marriage validity and dissolution, litigation support in family law matters, issues concerning children, special matters in family law, and attorney and paralegal ethical obligations.
PARA
1120
3
45
Introduces the student to the basic concepts of real property law as they pertain to common types of real estate transactions. Additionally, emphasis will be placed on practical skills such as document preparation and title examination. Topics include: real estate contracts, plat reading and legal descriptions, types and purposes of deeds, title searches, common real estate mortgages and documentation, real estate closing and closing statements, recordation statutes and requirements, and elements of the lease.
Introduces the student to the basic concepts of real property law as they pertain to common types of real estate transactions. Additionally, emphasis will be placed on practical skills such as document preparation and title examination. Topics include: real estate contracts, plat reading and legal descriptions, types and purposes of deeds, title searches, common real estate mortgages and documentation, real estate closing and closing statements, recordation statutes and requirements, and elements of the lease.
PARA
1130
3
45
Emphasizes competencies and concepts of civil litigation in both federal and state courts. Topics include: federal and state litigation; trial and pretrial proceedings; litigation ethics; and litigation documents, exhibits, investigations, and interviews.
Provides a general framework of the substantive theory of wills, trusts, and estates. Topics include: wills, trusts, and powers of attorney; probate of wills and administration of estates; document preparation for other probate proceedings; general jurisdiction of the probate court; terminology of wills and estate practice; client interviews; and document preparation.
PARA
1140
3
45
Introduces the student to the basic concepts of substantive tort law. Topics include: concepts of intentional torts, negligence and product liability; causation and liability concepts; damages and defenses; and special tort actions and immunities.
3
45
Introduces the student to common forms of law practice. The student will be exposed to methods of billing and time-keeping, automation in the law office, the law office library, the appropriate role of support staff in the law office, and ethical concerns relevant to law office management. Topics include: forms of law practice and insurance needs, support systems, support staff, and ethical responsibilities.
Introduces the student to the basic concepts of legal rules commonly applicable in commercial settings, to the basic concepts of substantive contract law and to the formulation and operation of sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited partnerships, and corporations. Additionally, the course explores the basic concepts of agency law. Topics include Constitutional law and its impact on business, the essential elements of a contract and related legal principles and the Uniform Commercial Code, sole proprietorships, partnerships, professional associations and other business organizations, corporations and tax implications of different organizations.
6
270
Focuses on the application and reinforcement of paralegal skills in an actual workplace environment, or at the discretion of the instructor, in a school practicum with simulated work experiences. Students are acquainted with occupational responsibilities through realistic work situations and are provided with insights into paralegal applications on the job. Topics include: problem solving, adaptability to the job setting, use of proper interpersonal skills, application of paralegal skills in a workplace setting, and professional development.
6
270
This course continues the focus on the application and reinforcement of paralegal skills in an actual workplace environment, or at the discretion of the instructor, in a school practicum with simulated work experiences. Realistic work situations are used to provide students with insights into paralegal applications on the job. Topics include: problem solving, adaptability to the job setting, use of proper interpersonal skills, application of paralegal skills in a workplace setting, and professional development.
Select One of the Following (3 hours)
Introduces the student to the purpose and application of the Federal Bankruptcy Code and Rules, as well as applicable state law related to bankruptcy and debtor-creditor issues. Topics include: the Bankruptcy Code and Rules, Bankruptcy Court procedures, the preparation of bankruptcy forms and documents, state law workouts and collection, and the role of the paralegal in a bankruptcy practice.
PARA
1205
3
45
Explains the major legal principles and concepts of the U.S. Constitution including governmental powers and structure, and civil liberties. Additionally, this course includes an exploration of the history of the Constitution and case law interpreting it.
Provide an overview of the legal issues involved in the delivery of healthcare and the issues relating to Elder Law. Students will recognize the fundamentals of the healthcare treatment relationship, liability issues, patient care decisions and the human condition of sickness. They will explore the complexities of heath care financing, health care access, governmental regulations and privacy issues. Topics will also include access to care, informed consent, patient care decisions, the doctor-patient relationship, end-of-life decision making, legal problems of the elderly, law and mental health, AIDS and the law and the privatization of health care facilities.