Legal Studies Program

Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies Degree

*18 units of ABA Breadth Requirements which must include one of: Courses from at least three different areas of Areas 1-5B of the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), excluding performance courses, activity courses, administration of justice courses, and the lab component of science courses.

Suggested sequence of classes leading to an Associate of Arts degree

Semesters 1 and 2

It is anticipated that students may begin their legal assisting studies in either the Fall or the Spring semester. The current plan includes offering the LA 300 Introduction to Law and the American Legal System course both Fall and Spring semesters, afternoons, evenings, or fully on line. Successful completion of the A.A. degree general education requirements with an eye to transferring to a four year institution requires the assistance of an ARC counselor.

Students must take LA 300 Intro to Law & the American Legal System in the first semester in which any of the required Legal Assisting courses are attempted.

All required Legal Assisting courses (Core Requirements) are available to be taken either in the afternoon or the evening. At this time, all Legal Assisting electives (Concentration Requirements) are scheduled as evening classes.

A suggested course of full-time study for students who have no prior college experience might be as follows*:

Semester 1 -- Fall:
  • ENGWR 300 College Composition, 3 units **
  • 12 units of general education and/or ABA Breadth classes*
Semester 2 -- Spring 
  • LA 300 Introduction to Law & the American Legal System, 3 units
  • 12 units of general education and/or ABA Breadth classes*


* The final 18 units of ABA Breadth courses for the degree must include one of the following: ENGWR 300 or ENGWR 480; and five classes (15 units minimum) selected from Areas 2 - 5B on the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) taken from at least two different areas. All courses must be completed with a "C" or better. Performance and activity courses as well as the lab component of science courses are excluded. The units applied to this requirement can also be used to meet the regular ARC General Education and Competency requirements, where applicable.

The student must also complete ARC General Education and Competency requirements to complete the degree.

An academic counselor MUST be consulted to ensure appropriate selection of general education courses for the LA degree.

Semesters 3 and 4

Semester 3 -- Fall:
  • LA 312 Torts and Personal Injury, 3 units
  • LA 320 Legal Research, 3 units
  • LA 350 Law Office Management, 3 units
  • Electives, 6 units 
Semester 4 -- Spring 
  • LA 310 Civil Litigation and Procedure, 3 units
  • LA 314 Contract Law for Legal Assistants, 3 units
  • LA 321 Legal Writing, 3 units
  • Electives, 6 units


It is advisable to meet with an ARC counselor to determine appropriate courses for transfer.

Students desiring to take the Legal Assisting courses only part time should select courses from the first ones listed each semester. For example, if you wish to take only one class in the Fall semester you should choose ENGWR 300, then in the Spring take LA 300.

** Please note that this requirement may be met by any of the following classes: ENGWR 300 or ENGWR 480. The ENGWR requirement must be met prior to starting LA 300.  If a student must take classes preparing them for ENGWR 300 (or its equivalent) their individual academic plan may take longer than two years to complete. An ARC counselor must be consulted and the appropriate placement tests taken.

LA 300 Introduction to Law and the American Legal System must be taken at the same time, or prior to, the first Legal Assisting required course.  LA 300 must have been taken and passed with a grade of 'C' or better before any additional Legal Assisting courses may be attempted.

The American River College Legal Studies Program is proud to partner with local bar associations to host a monthly expungement workshop for individuals with records in California.

Legal Clinic Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

The clinic is open to ARC students, faculty, staff, and the general public.  

We will assist people only with criminal convictions obtained in California. Other states, the military, and the federal government may have similar procedures, but you must check with them to find out what is required.

Try the Public Defender's Office for the county you were convicted in, the Judge Advocate General's Office (Navy), (Army), (Air Force) for military convictions, or the Federal Defender's Office for federal convictions.

For more information visit the California Courts website

Will attorneys be present?

Yes, ARC's Legal Studies students will be assisting clinic participants with the paperwork necessary to file a petition for dismissal. Volunteer attorneys from the Wiley Manual Bar Association, The Cruz Reynoso Bar Association, and from the greater Sacramento legal community will be present to answer questions and review applications. 

How do I get my rap sheet?

Applicants must first complete a Live Scan fingerprint application and then take that applicatoin to a Live Scan location to have finger prints taken. There are different applications for California and out-of-state residents, so make sure you pick the right applicatoin. 

What happens when my record is expunged?

The most common reason for obtaining relief pursuant to PC1203.4/1203.4a is to allow the previously-convicted person to state on non-governmental employment applications that they have not been convicted of a felony. However, the record of conviction continues to exist and continues to have certain effects. A clearance of this type does not eliminate all possible adverse consequences or release a person from all "penalties and disabilities" resulting from the charges in the case:

  • Information relating to the case may be available to others when the release of such information is authorized by law.
  • A dismissal pursuant to PC 1203.4/1203.4a does not relieve you from the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery, but allows you to indicate "no" on most employment applications that ask whether you have been convicted of a crime.
  • A dismissal pursuant to PC 1203.4/1203.4a will not keep the conviction from being used against a person as a prior conviction in any future criminal proceedings, such as for enhancing a prison sentence.
  • A dismissal pursuant to PC 1203.4/1203.4a will not avoid suspension of one's driving privilege as set forth in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. Granting of the Petition does notaffect Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) actions or future consequences for crimes involving operation of a motor vehicle.
  • A dismissal pursuant to PC 1203.4/1203.4a will not permit the person convicted to own, possess, or have in their custody or control a firearm, and will not prevent a person from being convicted under Section 12021 of the Penal Code (person prohibited from possessing a firearm) in the future.
  • Granting of the Petition does not relieve you from any obligation to register under Penal Code §290.
  • Granting of the Petition does not seal your record, destroy or remove any entries from the court, law enforcement, Department of Justice or DMV. The case, including the conviction will remain public record.


Legal Assisting links of interest

Internship Opportunities

Volunteer and Paid Internship Opportunities
For additional current listings, contact 

Work Experience and Internships

Voluntary Legal Services of Northern California

517 12th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-9595
Contact: (916) 551-2133 or (916) 551-2123

Senior Legal Hotline

444 North Third Street
Sacramento, CA
They need volunteers in many capacities.
Please check out their web site at:

Expungement Clinic Flyer

Provided by ARC’s Legal Studies Program.

Free and Open to the Public

Expungement Clinic Flyer