Portland Community College Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon


Cascade TH 109 | Faculty Department Chairs: Aubrey Baldwin and Leni Tupper | Program Specialist: Diana Blake, 971-722-5770

law library at Cascade campus

Paralegal Research Center

Paralegals provide critical and integral support to lawyers, corporations, public institutions and other employers, and they have established themselves to be an indispensable workforce within the legal system since the 1960s. Paralegals must perform all tasks under the supervision of a lawyer. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.

Different categories of paralegals offer specialized skills. A probate paralegal may interview clients while conducting the collection, valuing and transfer of assets. A corporate paralegal working within a large corporation may help write employee benefit plans, employment handbooks, agreements, or perform patent and trademark searches, and assist in intellectual property issues. A family paralegal may have a significant role maintaining client contact and helping clients sort through legal issues. A litigation paralegal plays an important role in case management up to and including trial. Whatever the role, the paralegal provides an integral part of the legal team. PCC’s Paralegal program offers a high quality education, providing you with the fundamental skills you need to succeed in today’s world of paralegal professionals.

Program details

  • Associate of Applied Science Degree: 90 credit degree program, including 24 hours of required paralegal courses; 21 credit hours of elective paralegal courses; 27 credits of general education courses; and 18 credits of other electives. The Associate Degree Paralegal program is an open-enrollment program. The primary prerequisite is a college level writing class (Wr 121), which is met by students who have a previous 4 year (and most 2 year) degrees. Advising and career development counseling is offered by the full-time faculty and career services department, providing students an opportunity to develop their careers in directions suited to their needs and interests.
  • Certificate: 45 credit certificate program, including 24 credit hours of required paralegal courses and 21 credit hours of elective paralegal courses. The Certificate program is a limited-entry program requiring Department Chair approval to enter.
  • Follow the enrollment steps for admission.
  • While in the program, students must maintain a "C" average in all required courses.

New Program Developments

The Paralegal Program remains active and current by conducting surveys of potential employers, graduates of the program, current students and faculty to obtain feedback. Through consultation with the Program’s Advisory Council, program developments are implemented which enhance the student’s educational and career development experience, such as:

  • New courses
  • Law library installed at Cascade campus during summer, 2006
  • Student-run paralegal club
  • Supplemental programs

The program works to maintain links with local law firms and corporations to ensure information about job openings, training needs and professional developments.

Paralegals may not practice law and may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.