Audio by Prof. Jordan - (audio - click here)

Hello - This is David Jordan, Attorney at Law, and Director of the Paralegal Studies Program at Los Angeles Mission College. This audio will cover items of interest and questions you might have about our program. Now to our audio presentation.

Our Program

Los Angeles Mission College - with our rich history of 30 years, first located in San Fernando Valley store fronts, and since 1991, in a new spanish mission syle campus with 7000 students is located in Sylmar, California, just 30 minutes north of dowtown Los Angeles. It serves the educational needs of our neighbors in the San Fernando Valley - Pacoima, Mission Hills, North Hills, Panorama City and Granada Hills, as well as Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster .

Community support and involvement has been one of Mission College's most valued resources. We invite you to be part of Mission College! and the Paralegal Studies Program. Our Paralegal Program is one of the many, excellent vocational certificate programs offered by Mission - a 2 year California community college, accredited with the Department of Education, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and which forms part of the Los Angeles Community College District, the largest community college in the nation.

Since 1987, under the able leadership of the Department Chairs and the Paralegal Program Directors, L. Edmund Kellogg, Esq. and David Jordan, Esq. , both respected private law practice attorneys, and paralegal educators, has offered a vocational Paralegal Program Certificate, which consists of 12 classes or 36 units, and an outstanding curriculum including such diverse subjects as introduction to the law, civil litigation, contracts, partnerships, corporations, landlord-tenant, bankruptcy, family law, wills, trusts, probate administration, torts and claims investigation, civil and criminal evidence, legal research, legal writing, creditor and property rights.

In 1997, David Jordan, Esq. in colloboration with the new 7 million dollar Mission College Learning Resources Center with its 300 state of the art computers, connected to the world wide web, established the home webpage for the Paralegal Program and began to place the entire class content on the internet bringing the paralegal program and its students into one of the few "state of the art - computer age" paralegal certificate programs in California.

In the Summer of 2002, the paralegal program inaugurated an entirely online/internet paralegal certificate. It is one of the few "entirely online paralegal certificates" in the California Coummunity College system. California law now requires paralegals receive a minimum of 24 semester units of training in the law.

The legal internet content for this program was developed over a 5 year period in the "classroom" by Prof. Jordan and his able students. Both on campus and online classes were built with "care and attention to detail". The "law webpage" has "evolved" through a process of constant improvements in response to the needs of our paralegal students, and the growing implementation of "internet technology" in the field of law.

Program Objectives

The objective of the paralegal program is to impart knowledge of the structure of the California and federal legal systems, to educate our students in basic understanding of areas of law with which law offices commonly deal, to give practical training in the performance of legal tasks associated with these areas including the preparation of legal documents, and pleadings , to train our students to do excellent legal research, to write and communicate clearly and precisely, and to teach the ethical principles governing the relationship of attorney, paralegal-legal assistant, and client.

The completion of the 12 law classes for a total of 36 units can be done within 12 - 18 months, or an additional year for an Associates Degree which includes 24 General Education Credits for a total of 60 units signifies completion of a course of study designed to equip the paralegal graduate for responsible duties in a law firm or the legal department of a business or government agency. Our program focuses on training our paralegal in core competencies (as defined by "AAFPE" - the American Association for Paralegal Education, of which Mission College has been a member since 1998). Paralegals should possess not only a common core of legal knowledge, but also must have acquired vital critical thinking, organizational, research, writing, oral communication, and interpersonal skills.

What is a "Paralegal"

The term "paralegal" (a person qualified through education, training or work experience, to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyers) was coined in 1968. Since then the legal profession has developed, encouraged, increased the training and utilization of nonlawyer assistants, PARALEGALS, to enable lawyers, the court system, and the criminal an civil justice system to discharge their professional responsibilities more effectively and efficiently. Paralegals are employed or retained by lawyers, law offices, governmental agency, or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work."

History of the Paralegal Profession

In the early to mid 1960's, law firms provided in-house training to experienced legal secretaries.

In the 1970's to the mid 90's there emerged diversified paralegal educational programs including in August of 1997, the state of the art, internet-world wide web page of L.A. Mission College Paralegal Studies Program which now allows students to work on their assignments from home, email their work to their law instructors, to take exams, receive and review the answers to exams, and see their exam grades, all posted, daily, and sometimes hourly, on the home webpage for the Paralegal Studies Program. Paralegal Students can access all of the current and past California cases and codes, federal codes, recent U.S. Constitutional case decisions. They can review summaries of legal topics, along with the syllabus for their course, class assignments which include interactive links to current cases and codes, and they can even register for their law classes on the home webpage.

Employment Opportunities

Demand for Paralegals: In the early 1980s the U.S. Department of Labor told the nation that the paralegal profession was the fastest growing profession and that by the year 2000, there would be 100,000 paralegals in the nation. According to predictions released in 1995 by the Department of Labor, by the year 2005 there will be between 150,000 and 176,000 paralegals in this nation.

Salaries

The most recent survey by the National Association of Legal Assistants - "NALA"

year salary bonus total compensation
1997 $36,435 $2062 $38,497
2000 $40,974 $2449 $43,423
2002 $46,074 $2909 $48,983
2004 $46,862 $3393 $50,255
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The median expected salary for a typical Paralegal I in Los Angeles, CA 90035, is $45,116. This basic market pricing report was prepared using our Certified Compensation Professionals' analysis of survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at employers of all sizes, industries and geographies. Our Paralegal Program has a rich history. The program has an excellent reputation in the legal community. Many of our paralegals are currently employed in the courts, federal and state agencies, and large, small, and solo practitioner law firms in the greater Los Angeles area.

Our Programs of Study

The Law Department at Los Angeles Mission College offers three programs of legal studies:

A Certificate in Legal Assisting/Paralegal which requires 36 units of academic study. The completion of the Certificate enables students to become state certified under new California Law.

The Associate in Arts Degree - Legal Assisting/Paralegal, which is a combination of the 36 units of the Paralegal Certificate, 18 units of Plan B in General Education and 6 elective units for a total of 60 units.

The Paralegal Path to Law School. This unique program prepares students for law school while they are earning their Paralegal Certificate or Associate Arts Degree.

Students can complete any course of study (Certificate/AA/Law school prep) in courses taught on campus or through the Internet or through some combination of both modes of instruction. Courses offered in any mode of instruction are exactly the same. The only difference is the mode of delivery of instruction.

Our Accreditation

The Los Angeles Mission College Paralegal Studies Program has been approved by the Board of Governors of the L.A. Community Colleges (since 1987), and its curriculum is continuously updated to ensure that it is a quality paralegal program. In 2002 all of our 12 classes and course outlines went through a rigorous update through our Curriculum Commitee at Mission which includes information competency, and was approved for delivery in an entirely online paralegal certificate to meet the needs of its students.

Our program exceeds the mandate for paralegal education requirements under the Business and Professions Code §§ 6400 and 6450 in the State of California. Earning a Certificate of Completion from our program complies with the educational requirements of this new California law regulating paralegals in the State of California. The new law states the paralegal should receive a certificate either from an ABA approved school, or a certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a degree from, a post secondary institution that requires the successful completion of 24 semester units. ( Mission College is an approved post secondary institution). Our program exceeds the ABA guidelines (which requires 18 semester units - our program requires 36 units).

Los Angeles Mission College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Post-Secondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Additional Considerations

In choosing your paralegal program you should evaluate the following:

1. What is the reputation of the institution and the paralegal program?

" The general public and the legal community should hold the institution offering the program and the program itself in high regard. Check with people you know in the community, in the legal field and in higher education for information." Our program has graduated over 500 paralegals since 1987 who are working in the legal community.

2. What services are offered to students?

"Assistance should be offered in these areas: orientation, tutoring, academic counseling, financial aid, career information and counseling, and placement assistance. Information on the placement rate and job satisfaction of graduates should be available."

Mission College and the Paralegal program provides orientation, and the college provides tutoring, academic counseling, financial aid, and career information, and placement assistance.

3. What facilities are available to students?

"Programs should have a legal research library, computer laboratories, and properly furnished classrooms. Facilities should accommodate students with disabilities."

Mission College Paralegal Program is a high-tech program. Take a tour of our webpage. Our program uses computers, the internet, and on-line legal research to assist its paralegal students in obtaining a high quality paralegal education. We have a new Learning Resource Center, with 300 computers all connected to the internet maintained by the Computer Systems Services Staff at the college. Computers assist students in legal writing and legal research.

4. What activities are available to students?

"Students should have the opportunity to participate in such activities as honor societies and volunteer work in the legal community. Information about paralegal associations and continuing paralegal education should be available."

Our Paralegal Program has established a law clinic which provides "hands on" experience for the paralegal student. We have also created a Paralegal Student Association, and an Alumni Association.

5. What is the mission of the institution and what are the goals of the paralegal program?

" The mission and goals should be clearly stated in the institutional and program literature. You should assess whether the mission and goals match your individual needs."

Mission College has the following mission statement: The mission of Los Angeles Mission College is the success of our students. To facilitate their success,
Los Angeles Mission College provides accessible, affordable, high quality learning opportunities in a culturally and intellectually supportive environment by:
Encouraging students to become critical thinkers and lifelong learners; Ensuring that students successfully transfer to four-year institutions, find meaningful employment, improve their basic skills, and enrich their lives through continuing community education; Providing services and programs that improve the life of its immediate community.

6. What is the content and nature of the curriculum?

"The courses should teach practical job skills in conjunction with the underlying legal theory. The curriculum should cover legal research and writing, litigation, ethics, contracts, business organizations and torts. Courses should develop students' critical thinking, communication, computational, computer and organizational skills, and competency to handle ethical issues. Our paralegal program provides a solid academic curriculum to its paralegals.

7. What are the backgrounds of the program director and faculty?

"The program director and members of the faculty should possess appropriate academic credentials. Most program directors have a law degree or formal paralegal education; some have advanced degrees in related areas. Many have experience in the legal field. Faculty members should have expertise and experience in the subject areas they teach and experience working with or as paralegals. The program director and faculty must be committed to the role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services."

The director of the Mission College Paralegal Program is David Jordan, Esq. He is a graduate of Georgetown University ( B.A. Economics - 1968), and Loyola Law School ( Juris Doctor - 1975) , a licensed attorney in both the federal and state courts, and has practiced law for over 20 years. He is a committed educator, and a leader in the new technology of internet and its use in the classroom. He has written a number of articles which have been published in the "Paralegal Educator" - a legal publication of the American Association for Paralegal Education (AaFPE). His most recent article is "How to keep the student "ontask" in the online classroom". "Mr. Jordan is a committed, respected and innovative paralegal educator.

9. What are the special considerations of enrolling in a distance education program?

A growing number of educational institutions and other providers are offering paralegal courses and/or entire paralegal programs through distance education. Prospective students need to supplement the above criteria with additional factors when evaluating these offerings. You should find out the type of distance delivery system used, such as interactive video broadcasts to distant sites, telecourses, or web-based courses on the Internet and determine whether the institution provides training to students in using the system and technical assistance throughout the course. You should find out how much interaction takes place among teachers and students during courses and through what medium. Additionally you should assess whether you are well suited to learn through a distance delivery system which requires a high degree of self-discipline, self-motivation and independence. "

How do I get started in your program

If the above stirs your interest and you would like to enroll in our program, or just take a class to check us out, then please visit our webpage at www.lamission.edu/law where you will be guided through the application and enrollment process, and then you can select your classes.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this audio presentation on the Paralegal Studies Program. We invite you to come and visit our College and take a tour of our beautiful College.

Should you have any questions, please email or contact me, Prof. Jordan,

Again thank you for your time, and have a great day.

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updated: 12-1-12