Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies

This program prepares students for employment as paralegals/legal assistants in private law firms, courts and government agencies, corporations, businesses and organizations conducting legal-related work. Students learn legal principles, legal research and writing, critical thinking, preparation of legal documents, law office administration and legal ethics. Students are encouraged to continue studying for a four-year college degree, and this program includes 18 credits that are currently accepted on the New Mexico statewide transferability matrix.

NOTE: A.A.S. degrees are designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in specific occupations; they are not generally intended to transfer to four-year institutions.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Explain the structure of the American legal system and how legal cases are processed.
  • Analyze legal problems by conducting legal research, interpreting law, and composing persuasive written and oral legal arguments.
  • Compose basic legal pleadings, legal memoranda, and correspondence related to case processing.
  • Demonstrate evidence gathering techniques for interviewing clients and witnesses and obtaining discovery.
  • Explain the paralegal’s role in providing office support that maintains the legal field’s ethical and professional standards.

Class Requirements


Communications (9 hrs.)

ENGL 111         Composition and Rhetoric (3)

ENGL 119         Professional Communications (3)

Any Speech course (3)

Mathematics (3 hrs.)

BSAD 112         Business Math (3)

Laboratory Science (4 hrs. min.)

CRJS 135          Forensic Science I (4)


Any  laboratory science courses (4)

Social/Behavioral Sciences (3 hrs.)

Humanities and Fine Arts (6 hrs.)

The combined total of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts areas should equal 9 credit hours.

Health and Wellness (1 hr.)



LEGL 111         Introduction to Law (4)

LEGL 112         Introduction to the Paralegal
Profession (3)

LEGL 115         Torts, Practice and Procedure (3)

LEGL 121         Legal Research and Writing I (3)

LEGL 231         Evidence Law (3)

LEGL 241         Legal Research Writing II/Westlaw (4)

LEGL 250         Civil Litigation (3)

OFTC 111         Business Software Essentials I (4)

*It is highly recommended that students take LEGL 111 and 121 in their first semester.



LEGL courses 200 and higher*


LEGL 114         Legal Secretarial Skills (3)


CRJS 203          Criminal Law and Procedure (3)


* LEGL law courses, including CRJS 203, are preferred related requirements. Students with no paralegal work experience should take three credit hours of LEGL 298 Internship.

** LEGL 114 is primarily for students enrolled in the legal secretary or Law Office Administrative Assistant Certificates.

Six credit hours of the A.A.A. and A.A.S. must come from an approved list of courses that satisfy the following requirements. These are not meant to be additional hours in the degree but are, instead, existing courses that satisfy the requirement and appear anywhere in the degree.

  • Cultural Perspectives (3 credit hours)
  • Sustainable Living (3 credit hours)