An associate degree in legal studies can get you started on a career as a legal professional. Through this program, you can explore the relationship of the legal system to business, government, and society while learning about civil procedure. You can also develop skills in legal writing and procedure. The degree can prepare students for careers in corporate, private, or government organizations.
Why an Associate Degree?
At the associate degree level, legal studies programs generally prepare students for work as a paralegal. So students interested in pursuing this career may be drawn to this degree. They would be able to gain skills and experiences needed for careers in public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The degree can also prepare them for advanced study, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in legal studies or a related field for those students interested in continuing their education.
Getting Into an Associate Degree Program
Each online legal studies degree program will have its own application requirements. Generally, this is what you can be expected to have:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
Inside a Legal Studies Associate Degree Program
Associate degree programs take about two years to complete. Students studying legal studies can expect to learn about the legal process, as well as develop legal skills. Core courses might cover civil litigation practice, real estate law, business law, legal ethics, legal research, and legal writing. Some programs might also prepare students for paralegal certification.
While lectures, assignments, and discussions can be held virtually, some legal studies associate degree programs might require students to undergo an internship on-site at a law firm. This would provide them with the opportunity to apply concepts learned in the classroom and practice their legal research and writing skills. It would also provide an opportunity to connect with professionals in the field and make valuable connections.
What’s Next for Legal Studies Associate Degree Holders?
Graduates of associate degree programs in legal studies would be prepared for as paralegals or legal assistants, supporting lawyers in such tasks as conducting legal research, drafting documents, and maintaining files. Paralegals and legal assistants are primarily found in law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. Prospects are promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18% from 2010 to 2020.
An associate degree in legal studies would also prepare students for a more advanced degree. For example, students on a pre-law track might go on to a bachelor’s degree in legal studies or law followed by law school. Related areas also include public affairs, government, and public policy.