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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


ABA Approval

Is the TCC Paralegal Program ABA approved? Yes, TCC’s Paralegal Program is approved by the American Bar Association. This means that TCC’s Paralegal Program has successfully completed a review by American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Paralegals & Approval Commission, which conducts an intensive evaluation of the program, including a review of courses, resources, graduation rates, and other significant factors.

What are the benefits of attending an ABA approved paralegal program? Students attending TCC’s ABA approved Paralegal Program can take confidence that such programs have been evaluated to ensure they meet superior educational and professional training standards. The ABA website notes, “The guidance and direction of the ABA through the Standing Committee and its Approval Commission has led to the development of superior paralegal education programs designed to raise the competence of those individuals who assist lawyers in the delivery of legal services.”

Students seeking the LLLT credential should take special note that part of the LLLT education requirement requires obtaining 45 credits at an ABA approved paralegal program or law school.


Advising

Who can I contact for advising and information about the Paralegal Program? For more information about the Paralegal Program, students can contact Paralegal Program Chair, Jennifer Sorensen. New students should also contact TCC Advising and begin their steps to enrolling at TCC.

I have completed some legal or paralegal classes at another college. Will these courses be accepted and count towards my PLST degree or pro-certificate requirements? It depends. If the course was taken at another ABA approved program, it will be easier to transfer those credits towards the TCC Paralegal Program requirements. For questions about specific courses, contact Program Chair Jennifer Sorensen. Please have or be prepared to provide a copy of the course syllabus, the title of the text used (if not referenced in the syllabus), and a copy of your transcript.

I just enrolled at TCC for the Associate of Applied Sciences Degree. Should I complete all of my general education courses before I began my Paralegal courses? No. Because of the sequencing of courses in the paralegal program (for example: Legal Research 1/ Legal Research 2 or Civil Procedure 1/ Civil Procedure 2) and their availability, it is important that students take core paralegal classes when they are offered. Not every class is offered every quarter so it delays the amount of time it takes a student to complete the program if they take all of their general education courses first and then start taking paralegal classes. Please refer to the Recommended Courses for New Students.

How do I find out my PIN in order to register for classes? If you are a new paralegal student, you are assigned to Kiko Salas or a general advisor for advising – you must obtain your PIN from advising. You should schedule an appointment as soon as possible to go over your 1st and 2nd quarter classes. Once you are transferred to a paralegal program advisor, your registration PIN will become your 6-digit date of birth.

When I try to register for a course it is asking me for an Entry Code – what is that? An entry code will allow you to bypass the prerequisites. In order to obtain an entry code you must speak with an advisor. In order to receive an entry code you must indeed meet or exceed the prerequisite requirements. An entry allows you to register if space allows.


Courses

Which courses should I take if I don't have any computer skills? It is highly recommended that students take CU 091 and CU 100 if they have little to no experience with computers before taking any paralegal courses. The paralegal courses require students to use computers and the Internet for assignments and communication with the instructors.

Can I take all of my classes online? No. The TCC Paralegal Program offers a variety of classes including: web-enhanced (traditional face-to-face classes), hybrid (60% in class, 40% online), and online classes. Students must take at least 10 semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses through traditional classroom instruction.

What if I work full-time during the day? The TCC Paralegal Program offers both day and evening courses for students.


Computer Resources

What if I don't have a computer/printer at home? Students may use on-campus computers free of charge. There is a charge for printing.


Degree Options

What if I already have a two or four-year degree? If the student already has an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree, the student should enroll in the Paralegal Pro-Certificate program.

How long will it take to finish the paralegal program? It depends on which program the student is enrolled in and whether the student is full-time or part-time. The full-time Associate of Applied Sciences Degree takes approximately 2 years to complete and the full-time Paralegal Pro-Certificate program takes approximately 1 year to complete.


Enrollment Information

How do I enroll at TCC? Visit the TCC "New Student Enrollment Process.

How do I find out if I am at college-level English, Reading, and Math? You need to take an assessment test. These are commonly called "Accuplacer," "Asset," or "Compass" tests. You can take these tests at any local college and send the results to TCC. Sorry, tests are not yet available completely online. For more information, visit: http://www.tacomacc.edu/accuplacer.

Assessment below college level in any of these 3 areas will require that you take developmental classes to attain college level competency to satisfy this requirement. Also, these results are a MUST for initial advising purposes. Complete this early in the enrollment process!

Do I have to go to school full-time to be enrolled in the paralegal program?Students may attend TCC full-time or part-time.

Do I have to enroll in and/or start the program in the fall, or can I start at any time? Students may enroll any quarter; however students are cautioned that not all courses are offered every quarter and careful sequencing of classes will prevent unnecessary delays in completing the program. Therefore, frequent advisor consultations are strongly recommended.

Do I have to apply and be formally accepted to the Paralegal Program? There is no formal acceptance process.


Financial Aid, Costs and Scholarships

Can I apply my financial aid to my Paralegal Program? Generally, yes. However, for the most accurate assessment of both your eligibility and amounts of any financial aid, students must contact the Financial Aid Services Office.

Are there any scholarships offered for students in the Paralegal Program? Yes. There are a select number of scholarships offered specifically for students in the Paralegal Program. You can find information about these and other scholarships at the Financial Aid Services Office. Additionally, scholarship opportunities are available to the students from outside paralegal associations and groups.

How much does it cost to attend the TCC Paralegal Program? Please refer to the Tuition page for more information. There are costs for tuition, fees, and books.


Internship

Is there a required internship? Yes. PLST 233 is a required 5-credit internship class where students work a minimum of 132 hours at a law firm, government agency, corporation, etc. The course is taken towards the end of a student’s program.

Do I find my own internship or does the college find one for me? The student finds the internship site with the support of the faculty supervisor. The TCC Paralegal Program has long-standing relationships with local law firms. Students are provided resources by the Paralegal Program Chair and Paralegal Program Canvas website.

When should I begin looking for my internship? Students should begin looking for an internship 2 months before the internship begins or earlier if possible.

Where can I find out more information about the internship requirements and prerequisites? Students can find detailed information about the internship, requirements, and eligibility by reviewing the Student Internship Manual and the Agency Internship Manual. Both of these documents are provided on the Paralegal Program Canvas website.


Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT)

What is the LLLT Program? Adopted by the Washington Supreme Court in an effort to address the growing access to justice needs of Washington citizens, the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Rule, became effective September 1, 2012 and authorizes non-attorneys who meet certain educational requirements to advise and assist clients in approved practice areas of law.

Do the courses at TCC qualify under the 45 credits of core education an applicant must meet in order to become a LLLT? Yes. Please see the WSBA’s Pathway to LLLT Admission handout. Students may also contact Paralegal Program Chair Jennifer Sorensen for more information on the LLLT required courses available at TCC.

What are the requirements for the LLLT credential? All applicants for licensure as an LLLT must meet certain education requirements, take and pass LLLT examinations, and complete 3,000 hours of substantive legal work. Students can visit http://www.wsba.org/LLLT for more information.


Program Objectives

What are the paralegal program objectives? Upon successful completion of the AAS degree in Paralegal and the Paralegal Preferred Pro Certificate, students will:

  1. Recognize ethical issues that arise in a legal work environment and apply rules of professional conduct to resolve them.
  2. Demonstrate oral and written skills that paralegals use on the job.
  3. Apply basic principles of legal analysis.
  4. Use computers and other technology for document production, law office management, and trial preparation.
  5. Demonstrate sensitivity through adaptability and flexibility in working with a diverse group of people.
  6. Manage multi-tasks while prioritizing them to meet deadlines.
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