Paralegal/Legal Assistant Program
Virtual Open Houses
Tuesday, August 1st
6:00 – 7:00PM CST
Live on ZOOM
After registering using the button below, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting.
These Open Houses will showcase this profession which offers a wide-open job market and excellent income potential. A Q&A session with Ms. Becky Hougesen Walters, Paralegal Studies and Criminal Justice Program Coordinator.
Visit Our Paralegal Program LinkedIn Page
For more information, please contact Ms. Walters
Thinking about a program elsewhere? Not all Legal Office Assistant programs are created equal.
SSC is the only community college in the South Suburban Chicago region that is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is also an institutional member of the American Association for Paralegal Education. Our program has been recognized by the Illinois State Bar Association in the September 2021 ISBA article, “The Problem Solving Court Boom”*.
* Reprinted with permission of the Illinois Bar Journal, Vol. 110 #9, September 2022. Copyright by the Illinois State Bar Association. isba.org.
Have someone reach out to answer your questions about the program.
The mission of the program is to:
- To provide a strong, flexible program for the quality education for the training of occupationally competent paralegals/legal assistants through a curriculum that provides a balance of legal theory, practical skills, and practical experience resulting in highly trained paralegals qualified to work under the supervision of an attorney in a variety of legal and law-related environments.
- We also seek to promote both the paralegal profession generally as well as the professionalism of paralegals/legal assistants with the result of increasing the ways paralegals/legal assistants can be of service to the legal profession.
- Demonstrate effective legal knowledge and practical skills necessary to perform substantive legal work under the direction of an attorney.
- Demonstrate appropriate paralegal skill development and professionalism through practical experience.
- Demonstrate an understanding of ethical responsibilities in the legal profession.
- Analyze and synthesize clearly complex information, both in writing and verbally, in an organized and logical manner.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the technology necessary to meet employer needs.
- Articulation of the paralegal role in the delivery of legal services to the public.
- Maintain equality of opportunity in the educational program without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, disability, national origin, or sex.
A student who is able to successfully complete the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Certificate will have done so after demonstrating adequate skills in each of the following competencies:
- knowledge of the various functions and roles of a paralegal;
- knowledge of the ethics and professional responsibility of attorneys and paralegals;
- knowledge of legal terminology;
- knowledge of the various court systems;
- knowledge of evidence and investigations;
- proficiency in manual and computerized legal research;
- proficiency in legal writing and analysis;
- knowledge of technology used in the law office;
- successful completion of an approved internship;
- an appreciation and understanding for the importance of continuing legal education; and
- ability to apply paralegal skills in potential areas of practice, such as but not limited to:
- Alternative dispute resolution,
- civil and criminal litigation,
- domestic relations,
- probate and estate planning,
- real estate,
- contracts and commercial transactions, and
- legal research and writing
Forward all high school and college transcripts directly to the Office of Admissions and Records. A person can take paralegal classes without being in the paralegal program. However, a person must be in the paralegal program in order to take any of the legal research and writing classes and the internship class. To be accepted into the Paralegal program, students must have a high school diploma or High School Equivalency (HSE) and must complete the following:
- an application for admission to the program
- successfully complete ENG 101, PLA 101 and BLW 201 with a grade point of 2.66
- complete a resume
- submit three letters of reference and copies of all college transcripts to the Program Coordinator
Upon completion of the above requirements schedule a personal interview with the Program Coordinator.
Students must complete ALL Paralegal (PLA) program and Business Law (BLW) course requirements with a grade “C” or better.
Paralegals may not provide Legal Services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
Students must complete ALL Paralegal (PLA) and Business Law (BLW) course requirements with a grade of “C” or better.
A maximum of 9 credit hours of legal specialty (PLA) courses may be transferred into the program from an ABA approved program. These courses must be substantially similar to an existing South Suburban College course and the awarding of this credit must be pre-approved by the paralegal program coordinator.
The Paralegal/Legal Assistant Program offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree career program. It is designed to prepare a student to become a highly trained paralegal/legal assistant.
The Paralegal/Legal Assistant Certificate Program is available to those persons possessing a Bachelor’s or AAS Degree from an accredited post-secondary institution.
SSC’s curriculum prepares students to work in a variety of legal environments including civil and criminal litigation, insurance, banking, public and governmental agencies, law offices and corporate legal departments. Emphasis is placed on the development of core skills in legal research techniques including compilation and analysis of data, understanding legal vocabulary, preparation of legal documents, and technology used in a law office. To help prepare its students, the program offers a hands-on internship in a legal or law related setting.
of SSC Graduates from August, 2021 to March, 2022 were working in the Legal field within six months of graduation.
2021 Median pay according to *BLS.
Growth according to the 2021-31 Job Outlook, much faster than average.
Paralegals MAY NOT provide Legal Services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
What is a Paralegal?
What is Unique About the Paralegal Program?
Why Did You Enroll in the Paralegal Program?
Paralegal/Legal Assistant Program Faculty
SSC requires that all of the instructors in the program are lawyers or judges to ensure the quality of instruction. Students utilize this program in preparation for law school, or to gain immediate employment in a high demand field.
Legal Studies Adjunct Professor
Professor Ahmad is an Associate Judge in the Pre-Trial Division at Leighton Criminal Court Building and has served many positions and appointments in Cook County Court system. Recently, Chicago’s CBS2 interviewed Judge Ahmad about how she decides defendants bonds.
Paralegal/Legal Assistant Program Resources
DISCLAIMER: Links to non-SSC Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
Paralegal/Legal Assistant Career Coach
Paralegals and legal assistants are projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2026. The AAS degree can be completed in four (4) semesters if you begin the program in the Fall semester. The certificate program can be completed in three (3) semesters if you begin the program in the Spring semester. To ensure the quality of instruction, all of our program instructors are lawyers or judges.
Questions about the Program?
If you have questions about the Paralegal/Legal Aid Program at SSC that weren’t answered above or was not a frequently asked question, fill out this form or email us and someone will get in touch with you.
Becky Hougesen Walters, J.D.
Paralegal/Criminal Justice Coordinator