Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies
The market for paralegals, especially in Hartford County, is growing. Paralegals work directly with lawyers to perform tasks requiring knowledge of the law and legal procedures. Students will learn about several fields of law, including personal injury, torts, property, and trusts and estates. There is a focus on practical skills for paralegals, including legal research and writing, and document preparation for the supervising attorney. Students who enroll in this program will learn the necessary skill set to be hired into a growing job market. Paralegal students will be positioned to gain entry into this growing field.
Students enrolling in the certificate program must either already possess an undergraduate degree, or be simultaneously enrolled in an Associates degree program at Tunxis.
What is a paralegal?
“Most people think of the role of a paralegal as an assistant to an attorney. The American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) defines a paralegal as someone who “performs substantive and procedural legal work as authorized by law, which work, in the absence of the paralegal, would be performed by an attorney. Paralegals have knowledge of the law gained through education, or education and work experience, which qualifies them to perform legal work. Paralegals adhere to recognized ethical standards and rules of professional responsibility. But what activities can one really expect to do each day as a paralegal?”
Specific job duties of a paralegal
- Legal Research and Presentations
- Client Interviews
- Drafting Legal Documents
- Law Office Administration (filing papers, answering telephone calls, and maintaining and organizing reference files. Paralegals are often in charge of maintaining the schedule of their attorney, and spend some time of each day calling clients, lawyers, witnesses, experts, and court personnel to schedule interviews, hearings, meetings, depositions, and trials. Paralegals may also handle any needed travel arrangements).
Paralegals in Connecticut
Paralegals are an integral part of the Connecticut legal community, as evidenced by the Connecticut Bar Association’s Paralegals Committee and the three paralegal associations that exist within a geographically small state. In fact, some 4,560 Connecticut residents were working as paralegals in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Paralegal Job Market in Connecticut
According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, Paralegal is an in-demand occupation. Employment in this occupation is expected to grow faster than average, and the number of annual openings will offer excellent job opportunities.
Average annual job openings statewide are 602.
The average entry level wage is $29.33 per hour in the Hartford region
The average annual salary in the Hartford region for a paralegal with experience is $59,499.00
Paralegal Certificate at Tunxis
Presently, the college is offering a certificate in paralegal studies, which can only be obtained if you are enrolled in a full Associates degree program at Tunxis. Many paralegal certificate students are enrolled in the Business degree program, Criminal Justice program, General Studies, and Political Science program.
Tunxis will be developing the full Associates degree in Paralegal Studies over the course of the next year.
The certificate is a total of 23 credits, and the courses can be taken in the fall and spring semesters.
Paralegal Courses at Tunxis
Introduction to Law
Legal Research and Writing
Computer Applications in Law
Legal Studies Capstone
Cooperative Education/Work Experience
Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to contact me:
Angela Fierro, JD/LMSW
Upon successful completion of all Paralegal certificate requirements, graduates will be able to:
- recognize and describe the proper role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services to the public and apply the ethical rules that govern the conduct of the legal profession
- demonstrate critical thinking, reasoning and analytical skills; conduct factual and legal research using print and computerized methods; and organize and present information effectively, both orally and in writing
- describe the organization of the American legal system, apply procedural law to litigation and administrative agency law, and demonstrate substantive knowledge of principles of law
- draft and interpret legal documents, including pleadings, deeds, mortgages, probate documents, court forms, business documents, and contracts for review by the supervising attorney
- perform file and case management tasks in accordance with office policy and court procedures, using problem-solving, organizational and computer skills
- recognize opportunities for professional development through continuing education and affiliation with professional organizations
Contact: Angela Fierro
STUDENTS: The Community Colleges are undergoing a merger with a plan to become Connecticut State Community College in fall 2023; please work closely with your advisor/program coordinator to select your courses accordingly. Get more details about this merger.