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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 Assisting links of interest

Internship Opportunities

Volunteer and Paid Internship Opportunities
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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

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They need volunteers in many capacities.
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