(Santa Ana, CA) - At its annual meeting, the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Paralegals Approval Commission granted re-approval to the Paralegal Studies at Santa Ana College (SAC). The approval is in effect for a term of seven years through August 2021. SAC is one of three community colleges in Orange County to earn ABA approval for their paralegal studies programs.
"The ABA approval process is the gold standard for paralegal programs," said SAC Legal Studies Department Co-Chair Rick Manzano, J.D. "ABA re-approval demonstrates a paralegal program’s high standards and consistency. The Santa Ana College paralegal program started in 1972 and was first ABA-approved in 1975. We are very proud that our program has consistently received ABA re-approval. The legal community knows that students who complete their paralegal studies at SAC are ready to meet the challenges of working as a paralegal in the fast-paced environment of a law firm, corporate legal department or government agency."
Santa Ana College offers Associate of Arts (AA) Degree and a certificate in its paralegal program. In the AA degree program, the ABA stipulates that students must complete a minimum of 18 semester units of ABA-approved general education courses in the areas of language and composition, mathematics, social science and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, humanities and the arts. In addition, the associate degree program requires students to complete 36 semester units of core paralegal coursework, including The Paralegal Profession,Law Office Management,Ethics and Professional Responsibility,Civil Litigation Review,Tort Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution, and much more. Students must also choose from a minimum of three units of legal elective courses, including Elder Law, Immigration Law and Procedure, the Law of Global Commerce, among others. Additional degree and certificate requirements are available at www.sac.edu/paralegal.
Over 300 students are currently enrolled in the SAC Paralegal Program. In addition to their coursework, SAC students have the opportunity to be placed in paralegal internships. Of the current students, the program has placed over 50 in internships at locations including the City of Santa Ana Attorney’s Office, Legal Aid and the Superior Court of California, County of Orange.
Irving Valdovinos, who is currently in the program says, "I had heard about for-profit schools taking advantage of students, so I was glad to find out Santa Ana College, unlike other programs in the area, was nothing like that. Even though I have already graduated from a four-year university, it was the SAC legal studies program that helped me land my first paying legal job, at Callahan and Blaine, which is a leading litigation firm in Orange County. I can't say enough about the program and the instructors."
Veronica Mendieta graduated from the program and interned for the County of Orange Alternate Defender’s Office, where she now works in a permanent capacity. Mendieta gives thanks to the SAC Paralegal Program for contributing to her success and she works to support the program. She says, “The Paralegal Program at SAC has been an important contributor to my success as a paralegal. I now have the opportunity to give back as the head of our office internship program where we provide essential hands-on experience opportunities to SAC paralegal students."
"Our ABA review and re-approval, our proximity to Santa Ana Courthouses and legal community, plus workforce initiatives, really blend together so that students can find a pathway into higher paying paralegal careers," said Manzano.
U.S. News ranks the paralegal profession as number 15 among the Best Social Service Jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects eight percent employment growth for paralegals between 2014 and 2024, which will add 21,200 positions. Legal firms are expected to hire more paralegals to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The median earning in 2016 for paralegals and legal assistants in California was $57,441 annually, or $27.61 hourly.
For more information on the Santa Ana College Paralegal Program, contact Rick Manzano at (714) 564-6858 or visit www.sac.edu/paralegal.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
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