Paralegal Program Objectives
The primary goal of the Paralegal Program is to prepare students for positions as paralegals as a means of improving the accessibility, quality and affordability of legal services. West Valley's Paralegal Program is responsive to the needs of the State of California and contributes to the advancement of legal professionals.
Students who successfully complete the Paralegal Program will be able to
- Describe the American legal system.
- Describe the practice of law and the paralegal's role in the legal profession.
- Demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed to work in civil litigation.
- Demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed to do legal research.
- Demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills.
- Apply the ethical rules and regulations applicable to paralegals and other legal professionals to given situations.
- Demonstrate knowledge and abilities based on the balanced education they receive from the integration of general education, legal theory, and practical legal course work.
- Demonstrate skills needed to function in those areas of practice offered as electives by the program.
Length of Program
If you already have a degree (Associate degree or higher), you need only take the 10 required Paralegal courses and 12 units in Paralegal electives. (40.5 units) Most elective courses are 3 units.
Those who do not have a degree must take these courses and the general education courses required to earn an A.S. degree. (25 units)
To determine whether your degree from another college or university is acceptable by the College, you should contact the Counseling Department at 408-741-2009 or http://www.westvalley.edu/services/counselingservices.html
How long it takes to complete the program is up to you. The program is designed for completion in 4 semesters if a student already has a degree and can attend full-time. Some students take less time by also taking courses during summer and winter sessions. However, many of our students take 4 or more years to complete the program because they are also working full-time and/or raising a family.
If you already have a degree and want to know how long it will take to complete the program, just calculate how many of the 14 paralegal courses you can take each semester. If you do not have a degree, you should consult with Counseling to create an education plan for both paralegal and general education courses.
Cost of the Program
Information about the current cost of classes and the application process is available on West Valley's web site, www.westvalley.edu
The cost of textbooks can vary but expect to spend $60.00 - $120.00 per class. For help with financial issues, contact Financial Aid at 408-741-2024 or http://www.westvalley.edu/financialaid/
ABA Approved Paralegal Program Status
West Valley's Paralegal Program has earned the approval of the American Bar Association. Approval by the ABA assures students and Bay Area employers that the program meets the requirements for paralegal education under California law (California Business & Professions Code section 6450 et seq.).