This two-year curriculum is designed to educate and train students to be legal assistants. The curriculum is composed of core introductory courses in the law as well as courses in the liberal arts, sciences and business. The curriculum is designed to prepare the graduate to do non-secretarial, paralegal work in a law office or in the legal department of a business, banking institution or corporation. It also prepares graduates to perform tasks in other law related institutions and activities in the community, including the judicial system. A paralegal may be expected to perform one or more of the following duties: under the supervision of an attorney, draw and complete form instruments, pleading and other legal papers; search official records; record and file instruments such as deeds, mortgages and certificates of incorporation with the county clerk, secretary of state or other official repositories; engage in legal research for the preparation of briefs and memorandum of law; and communicate by telephone and in writing.
Paralegals must work under the supervision of an attorney and may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
The Paralegal A.A.S. program is approved by the American Bar Association.
The ABA approved Paralegal program prepares graduates with the
knowledge and skills necessary to assist attorneys in their professional
responsibilities. Paralegals, under direct attorney supervision, must
be mindful of prohibitions against lay persons practicing law. The
program prepares graduates to:
Goal 1: Demonstrate knowledge of a broad range of ethical legal
- Identifying the unauthorized practice of law
- Displaying knowledge of legal best practices
- Applying established paralegal ethics in case studies
Goal II: Exhibit professional paralegal skills and abilities by.
- Demonstrating proficiency in both traditional and
technological methods of legal research
- Demonstrating capabilities in formatting legal
documents, constructing legal briefs, and
preparing legal submissions
- Displaying competency in legal writing
Goal III: Demonstrate understanding of substantive and procedural
- Displaying knowledge of the major sub-divisions
of the law
- Classifying the principle foundations of the legal
- Delineating the concepts of legal jurisdiction and
To ensure the integrity and continuity of the SUNY Schenectady
program and to comply with external accreditation policies, no
more than three (3) legal specialty (PAL) courses may be granted
credit by transfer or by alternative credit sources. No transfer credit
may be granted for Courts and Litigation (PAL 114) except from an
appropriate New York State institution.
Although legal assistants or paralegals are qualified by education,
training or work experience to assist a lawyer in the performance of
specifically delegated legal work, they are cautioned not to engage in
the unlicensed practice of law.