Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
The American Bar Association defines a paralegal as a person “who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.” The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies provides students with the specialized skills and knowledge to build a career performing substantive legal work under the supervision of a lawyer, in accordance with American Bar Association standards, or to work in a variety of public service and government agencies where familiarity with government regulation and legal processes is required. The program is approved by the American Bar Association.
The AAS in Paralegal Studies is coordinated with the Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies. Students obtaining the associate degree may apply their core courses and general education credits toward completion of the baccalaureate degree. The AAS in Paralegal Studies is designed to articulate directly into the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies. Both programs are approved by the American Bar Association.
Please note that students obtaining an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies are not authorized to provide direct legal services to the public. The program offers training for paraprofessionals who are authorized to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. The program does not train lawyers.
The AAS in Paralegal Studies provides students with the specialized skills and knowledge to build a career performing substantive legal work as paralegals and legal assistants under the supervision of a lawyer, in accordance with American Bar Association standards. Graduates are also prepared to work in a variety of corporate, public service, judicial, and government agency settings where familiarity with government regulation and legal processes is required. The AAS does not authorize students to provide direct legal services to the public and the program does not train students to practice law.
Proficiency in the use of computers and standard office software is an important component of legal practice. Students are strongly encouraged to build their technological skills through coursework in Computer Information and Office Systems (CIOS) or Computer Information Systems (CIS) as they progress through the program.
Licensure and/or Certification
Paralegals and legal assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of Alaska. Students completing the AAS in Paralegal Studies are eligible to apply for the certification and registry examinations of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the National Association of Legal Assistants, and the National Association for Legal Professionals.
Please go to UAA's Authorization by State website for information about licensure or certification in a state other than Alaska.
- Complete the Admission Requirements for Associate Degrees.
- Complete the following courses:
- Have a 2.00 overall GPA.
- Students who do not meet the admissions requirements above will be admitted as a paralegal studies pre-major. Students may take up to 12 credit hours of Legal Studies (LEGL) courses while in pre-major status.
- LEGL courses beyond LEGL A101 are all available on the Anchorage campus and may be available online. Campus restrictions for this program are enforced in accordance with the American Bar Association Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs.
Students must complete at least 10 credits of legal specialty courses through traditional classroom instruction.
- Complete the General University Requirements for Associate of Applied Science Degrees.
- Complete the General Education Requirements for Associate of Applied Science Degrees.
- Complete the Oral Communication Skills requirement with a minimum grade of C.
- All students in the AAS in Paralegal Studies must take the Legal Studies Exit Examination. No minimum score is required for graduation.
- Complete the following major requirements with a minimum grade of C, and a minimum grade of B in all ENGL courses.
|Legal Studies Core Courses|
|LEGL A101||Introduction to Law||3|
|LEGL A215||Legal Ethics and the Role of the Legal Professional||3|
|LEGL A356||Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing||3|
|LEGL A367||Civil Procedure and Pretrial Practice||3|
|LEGL A377||Evidence, Investigation, and Discovery||3|
|LEGL A487||Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes||3|
|LEGL A495||Legal Studies Internship||3|
|Complete one of the following courses:||3|
|Writing and Rhetoric in Public Life|
|Advanced Technical Writing|
|Legal Studies Electives|
|Complete one of the following courses focused on a field of legal practice:||3|
|Contracts, Property, and Debt|
|Torts, Workers' Compensation and Insurance Law|
|Health Care Law and Regulatory Compliance|
|Legal Studies Senior Seminar|
Other upper-division Legal Studies (LEGL) or Justice (JUST) law course with Legal Studies Program Coordinator approval.
|Complete one of the following legal studies courses focused on the US Constitution and/or judicial systems:||3|
|Law, History and Social Change|
|Complete one additional Legal Studies (LEGL) or Justice (JUST) elective course at the 100-level or above.||3|
|Complete 9 additional credits from the GER Tier II Disciplinary Areas of the General Education requirements for baccalaureate degrees. No more than seven credits, including those used to satisfy General Education requirements, may be from a single disciplinary area.||9|
A minimum of 60 credits is required for the degree.
Pro Bono Service Honors
The Justice Center recognizes distinguished achievement by conferring pro bono service honors to those legal studies students who work toward improving access to justice by contributing volunteer service to Alaska legal aid agencies. Students in the AAS in Paralegal Studies are eligible to graduate with pro bono service honors on satisfactory completion of the requirements. See the Justice Center website for more information.
Program Student Learning Outcomes
Students graduating with an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies will be able to:
- Produce superior university-level written documents and oral reports.
- Identify and accurately apply the rules of professional ethics governing lawyers and nonlawyer staff, and the rules governing the unauthorized practice of law in Alaska.
- Interpret and accurately apply legal terminology and foundational principles of substantive and procedural law in the analysis of legal issues.
- Develop and execute legal research plans using law library resources and commonly used legal research databases.
- Synthesize primary and secondary legal authorities and draft memoranda of legal analysis.
- Prepare legal investigation and discovery plans and draft legal pleadings that conform to the rules of civil procedure and incorporate standard techniques and resources for managing a case in litigation.
- Relate legal rules and doctrines to client problems in the performance of entry-level paralegal duties in a private law firm, public legal service agency or law department.