The Paralegal Studies Program provides students with the education and training necessary to seek and begin career as a paralegal. Under the supervision of a lawyer, paralegals will: Gather background information; interview clients and witnesses; perform legal research and writing; draft legal documents and contracts; and assist attorneys in preparing for court and at trial.*
For the student looking to pursue an education beyond the Associate degree, this program is designed to provide transferability to bachelor degree programs.
Taught by Attorneys
All paralegal courses at Nashua Community College are taught by experienced attorneys. In all paralegal specialty courses, the students will not only be taught the essential knowledge of the law, but will also be given the practical knowledge necessary for employment and success as a paralegal.
Nashua Community College is a Sustaining Member of the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (www.panh.org).
To be successful in the Paralegal Studies Program, students should have an interest in the law, must be diligent and committed to their studies, be dependable, have good communication skills, be well-organized; or be willing and able to develop all these skills and qualities.
A criminal conviction may preclude employment as a paralegal. A criminal record check may be required for the Paralegal Internship and/or employment by the organization, law firm, or government agency, and which is the sole responsibility of the student.
*Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
Upon the completion of the degree in Paralegal Studies, graduates will be able:
- To demonstrate they possess the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary to work effectively, competently, ethically and successfully as a paralegal/legal assistant for a law office/firm, government agency, or other private or public law-related organization.
- To understand their role as paralegals under the supervision of lawyers, how law is practiced by lawyers in the various settings, and understand the duties and responsibilities of lawyers and paralegals for the delivery of legal services in a competent, professional, and ethical manner.
- To demonstrate they have been adequately and effectively trained to produce work on a professional level as a paralegal, they possess the fundamental knowledge of the legal system and principles of law acquired in each of their paralegal specialty courses, and possess the practical knowledge of the practice of law by lawyers necessary to work successfully as a paralegal.
- To demonstrate they acquired effective communication, quantitative, and analytical skills necessary to work competently and successfully as a paralegal.
- To demonstrate they possess the necessary time management and organizational skills as they are applied to the duties and responsibilities of paralegals working in the legal profession, including: prioritizing their assigned tasks and projects working independently or with others; preparing checklists for work done and to be done; organizing and categorizing legal files and documents; maintaining accurate calendars of all important matters, dates and deadlines; and maintaining accurate time records of all their work.
- To demonstrate they are prepared to engage in proper legal analysis of issues of law, to conduct thorough legal research of the issues of law using traditional and technology-based legal research sources and tools, and effectively communicate the results of their legal research, analysis and legal reasoning in oral presentations and in written work-product on a professional level.
- To effectively communicate with other persons and entities associated with the field of law by utilizing oral communication skills and writing skills on a professional level.
- To draft legal documents and forms by following required legal procedures and directions of their supervising lawyer.
- To demonstrate they possess a working understanding of the legal purposes and functions of the different branches and departments of the federal and state governments and court systems, and of the procedural law governing civil and criminal cases from the commencement of a case, through trial, judgment/sentencing and appeal.
- To perform proper and thorough investigation of legal matters and cases they are assigned by their supervising lawyer through the gathering of relevant evidence and through interviews with clients and witnesses.
- To demonstrate an understanding of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and its importance as an alternative to legal action and court proceedings, including mediation and all forms of voluntary, mandatory, binding and non-binding arbitration.
- To demonstrate they possess the computer skills necessary to work efficiently as a paralegal professional, possess a working knowledge of integrated software applications and word processing utilized in the legal field, and are familiar with other technology utilized in the legal field, including the use of computer databases, case management systems, and trial presentations.
- To apply basic principles, terminology and methods of financial accounting.
- To compete effectively in the employment search process, from employment research, through resume and cover letter preparation, interview preparation and skills, and interview follow-up.
- To demonstrate an understanding of the importance of community service and the importance of making quality legal services available to all persons in the community regardless of socio-economic status.
- To demonstrate an understanding of the importance of having a sensitivity and respect for persons and groups with cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and traditions different from their own both in the legal profession and in every-day living.
In addition, the graduate will be able to demonstrate competency in the general education outcomes.
First Year – Fall Semester
Legal Research and Writing
First Year – Spring Semester
Professional Writing & Presentations
Contracts and Business Organizations
Total Credits: 4
MATH106N, MATH110N or MATH115N is recommended.
MATH106N or MATH115N is recommended for Certificates in Accounting and Spreadsheets
MATH103N recommended for Associate in Arts Degree in Communications
Includes CSCN, ELET MATH or BCPT courses for Associate in Science Degree in Computer Networking.
ECON201N/202N will satisfy the Quantitative Literacy elective for Associate in Arts Degree in English.
MATH106N or ECON202N is recommended for Associate in Arts Degree in Humanities.
MATH106N recommended for Associate in Science Degree in Nursing.
MATH106N, MATH110N, or MATH115N are recommended. HUMA230N, or HUMA109N recommended for Associate in Science Degree in Paralegal Studies.
Second Year – Fall Semester
Litigation and Trial Preparation
American Constitutional History
Humanities/Fine Arts or Global Awareness
Total Credits: 3
HUMAXXXN or PHIL109N
HUMA140N is recommended for Associate in Arts Degree in Communications
Any language recommended for Associate in Science Degree in Paralegal Studies.
Students are advised to meet with their advisor to make appropriate elective selections based on their career goals and to facilitate the broadest range of transferability.
Introduction to Philosophy
Second Year – Spring Semester
Probate, Estates, and Trusts
PLGL290N or PLGL280N
Total Credits: 3
Paralegal Internship & Seminar
Paralegal Capstone Experience
Science Core Requirement
Total Credits: 4
Science elective must be 4 credits
PHYS101N or PHYS130N recommended
Lab Science recommended for Associate in Science Degree in Human Services
Recommended Lab Science courses are Calculus-Based Calculus-Based Physics I and Physics II for Associate in Science Degree in Mathematics