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Paralegal Advanced Diploma (Co-op)

Also ideal for internationally trained law graduates and lawyers.

paralegal

 

Advanced Paralegal Program

Delivery Mode

Availability

In-Class Learning

Yes

 Distance Learning

No

Intake is Quarterly:  September, January, April and July

Program Duration and Fee

Full-time Accelerated: 50 weeks (modularized coursework), plus 24 weeks (co-op experience) Total Duration = 74 weeks

Full-time Regular: 96 weeks or 2 years (semester coursework), plus 24 weeks (co-op experience) Total Duration = 120 weeks

Precludes: Statutory and sessional holidays

Contact Hours: 1,300 and Co-op: 600 Hours (Total Hours = 1,900)

Credit Hours: 78

Tuition Fee (subject to change):

a) Domestic Students – $14,000.00 to complete the program (i.e. $3,500.00 per semester)

b) International Students – $17,000.00 to complete the program (i.e. $4,250.00 per semester)

Qualification Awarded: Advanced Diploma

 Admission Requirements

Admission is open to both domestic and international students in one of three ways, involving the possession of:

a) secondary school completion (Grade 12 or equivalent qualification), or

b) mature student status (19 years of age or over), or

c) previously recognized post-secondary school education (degree or diploma).

Additionally, candidates are required to have a good command of the English language (both orally and in writing), and undertake an interview and placement assessment.

Equal Progression

No advanced standing is granted, except in a transfer credit evaluation for previously completed post-secondary studies.  Courses in the program are structured and integrated, and students progress as a cohort.  Once admitted, applicants can apply for the assessment of their previous post-secondary credits.

 Entry Routes

There are two entry routes to admission, namely: a) accelerated entry route, and b) regular entry route. 

a)     Accelerated Entry Route:  The accelerated entry route offers a model of learning that reduces a program’s completion time to an appreciable duration.  For the Advanced Paralegal Diploma, it is 50 weeks, plus co-op education.   The route is more conducive either a continuous intake model or a quarterly intake cycle.  It is favoured by domestic students because of its short duration over time in completing the program requirements and seeking employment.  It is also an option for students who want to take all of the courses within the program without regularly extended breaks such as summer, winter holidays, March/Spring break, etc.

b)     Regular Entry Route: The regular entry route is the opposite of the accelerated model, and features an extended program duration for the advanced paralegal diploma program, it is 120 weeks, plus co-op education.  It is semesterized, in a manner of speaking. The regular entry route is conducive to a semester/cohort entry model, and allows for much longer intermittent break periods and study cooling-off phases for students.  There is also the inter-play of seamless assimilation of learning within an unfamiliar learning environment and course materials.  It is most favoured by international students.

Entry Routes Common Features

Regardless of an applicant’s preferred entry route, there are two important common features to the two entry routes.  They are:

a)  To graduate with an advanced paralegal diploma, 78 credit hours must be completed.

b)  Because the credit hours required for graduation in the two entry routes are the same at 78 credits, there is no difference in the tuition fees for the two entry routes.  In short, the tuition fees are essentially the same.

 Program Overview

This is an advanced paralegal diploma program with a 24-week paid co-op component. It represents the gold standard entry-level qualification for paralegal. The College has a long history of offering paralegal program of study, and prides itself as the first private college in British Columbia to offer the program. It is also the first and only College authorized to extend its paralegal diploma offering to the advanced diploma qualification, which is much higher in strength and value than the traditional diploma. This is so because the advanced diploma includes all the courses of a diploma and much more. Also, the advanced paralegal diploma credential is one step below a bachelor’s degree and one step above the ordinary, traditional diploma.  It exceeds the standard 60-credit hour requirement of the ordinary diploma.

  • Adding to the uniqueness of the program is the fact that it is also approved by the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC), and students enrolled in the program (and have satisfied all the prescribed course requirements) may apply for co-op program with all the Canadian Federal Government organizations, including criminal justice systems. This is not all, co-ops may be equally sought and completed in all law and law-related institutions in both public and private sectors, like law firms, judicial and quasi-judicial institutions.
  • The paralegal curriculum has been prepared to reflect the once proposed aim of the British Columbia Law Society’s Paralegal Task Force in raising the profile of paralegals in BC. The curriculum is also broad-based and includes such rare-to-find substantive law courses at the diploma level as a) Securities Law and Regulations, b) Procedures in Creditors’ Remedies, c) Immigration and Refugee Law, d) Law and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, etc.
  • Paralegals assist lawyers in preparing cases. They also carry out administrative functions, and may on occasion undertake preliminary legal research work, all under the supervision of a lawyer. This program will help students discover the challenges offered by a career as a paralegal. It will also provide them with more than just legal facts and theories. Indeed, students will have the opportunity to study substantive, procedural and paralegal skills courses(see course list), and our grads’ testimonials provide a useful insight into the program.

Earn Income While Studying

The program offers two opportunities for students to work while studying. The first is the 24-week paid co-op experience for those (whether domestic or international students) taking the co-op education which applies to all students. The second, which applies only to international students, is the designated learning institution work and study program.

Co-op Education

All students in the co-op component of the advanced paralegal program undertake a paid 24-week co-op experience as part of their training requirements. Co-op placements may occur in both public and private sector institutions including, judicial and quasi-judicial institutions of governments and private law corporations.

Work and Study

This is an initiative of the federal government through Citizenship and Immigration Canada which grants a designated learning institution status to eligible post-secondary institutions in Canada. International students attending full-time and on a study permit at a designated learning institution may work off campus for 20 hours a week during study periods, and 40 hours a week during non-study periods.

Internationally Trained Law Graduate and Specific Focus

The advanced paralegal diploma is the gold standard entry-level qualification for paralegals. It is beneficial to all students, including foreign trained law graduates and lawyers (whether or not in practice) who wish to gain the experience of the Canadian law, and perhaps write the law practice accreditation exam of the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). This group of students may also, following program completion, wish to pursue further education in the legal or related field. For these foreign trained lawyers, this program will also offer the all-important first-step exposure to the Canadian law as well as the opportunity to gain the basic understanding of the prescribed law subjects of the NCA. These are law subjects that, depending on the NCA’s assessment, foreign trained lawyers/law graduates are required to take to be eligible for the accreditation to practice law in any common law jurisdiction in Canada should they decide to do so (but see Note 1 below). Gaining an understanding of the Canadian law is important because:

  • In order for internationally trained lawyers to seek admission to practise law in any common law jurisdiction in Canada, they must first obtain a Certificate of Qualification from the NCA (see also www.lawsociety.bc.ca).
  • The NCA’s assessments for certification focus on a number of common law subjects, and basic understanding of these subjects are reflected in our Advanced Paralegal Diploma qualification.
  • Essentially, of all the subjects for NCA assessments, four are core subjects and others are non-core subjects.

The four core subjects are:

Non-core subjects are:

  • Foundation of Canada Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law
  • Canadian Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Principles of Canadian Administrative Law

  • Evidence
  • Contract
  • Property
  • Torts
  • Corporate/Business Law
  • Professional Responsibility

Note 1: Even though our advanced paralegal diploma program offers a basic understanding of the subjects required for the certification to practise law in Canada, it must be said at once that it does not claim to confer credentials on students for the practice of law in any common law jurisdiction in Canada or membership of any law society in Canada. The program simply offers tutorials on NCA‘s law subjects, and prepares students for the entry-level paralegal work, as they gain fundamental familiarization with the principles of Canadian law.

Paralegal Trends

The paralegal field has been expanding rapidly in the last few years. This is perhaps due to the increasing need for legal and quasi-legal services in almost all sizes of business enterprise – small, medium and large. While paralegals do not offer legal services much like lawyers, they however play a vital and ever-expanding role in providing limited legal services under the supervision of lawyers. Our paralegal courses are taught in modules within the Socratic method of teaching. Each module adopts both analytical and practical approaches to learning (complemented by instructor-led lectures, moot court sessions, guest speakers and instructional feedback). This method of teaching allows students the opportunity to be able to apply the knowledge so acquired to a practical setting. Adding to this exemplary method of teaching, each module is taught by qualified instructors with relevant background in the course topics. Each course is also made up of credit hours with an overall minimum completion requirement of 78 credits for graduation.

Paralegal Modules

The paralegal program is offered at three (3) levels. At each level, students are required to attend the full instructor-led lecture hours, and participate as well in instructor-facilitated student assignments and presentations. Feedback and instructor’s assistance are available throughout the course. The goal of each module is not only to provide students with the opportunity to master the skills required for success in each course, but also to prepare them to be able to practise and demonstrate a working knowledge of the skills acquired in each module. In short, the paralegal modules are specifically designed for students to be able to a) understand the fundamentals of paralegal work, b) develop the necessary skills required for the paralegal profession, and c) gain the opportunity for practical experience in paralegal work. In doing so, the paralegal course starts with a basic historical overview of and introduction to paralegal. It then dovetails into the development of fundamental skills necessary for the paralegal profession. This includes fundamental understanding of substantive and procedural laws, acquisition of skills in basic computing, critical thinking, paralegal writing, legal interviewing, to name just a few.

Program Objectives

In this program, students will learn how to become competent paralegals. They will be taught the skills that will help prepare them for entry into the paralegal profession in law firms or like organizations. The 24-week co-op experience aims to offer students both the practical experience of and familiarization with the practice and procedures of law firms and like organizations, administrative aspects of paralegal work and related services. Adding to these skills, on successfully completing this program, students should be able to, among other things, demonstrate with a reasonable degree of efficiency:

  • An understanding of all services in connection with documents relating to property that may be registered or recorded in a registry or other public office, and meeting with clients to take instructions and execute documents
  • An understanding of all services in connection with basic wills, including meeting with clients to take instructions and sign wills
  • An understanding of key paralegal concepts
  • Application of skills to real work environments
  • A good working knowledge of substantive and procedural laws
  • An ability to find and sustain employment through the exercise of professional judgment and strong interpersonal skills at all times
  • And much more.

Transfer Option

The courses have been prepared with transfer possibilities in mind, and may transfer individually (i.e., on a course-by-course review basis) or collectively (i.e., on a block-transfer basis) to related higher programs of study (e.g. degree in paralegal, criminology, etc) in other institutions (universities and university colleges alike), depending on the policy of the receiving institution. Students wishing to explore the transfer option should request from the College Director relevant detailed course outlines of the program at the time of applying for transfer.

Delivery Method

Lectures on the substantive and procedural law courses are traditionally given in-class (although on occasion, and often discouraged, paralegal skills courses may be taught by distance learning in other institutions). The College adopts the in-class, Socratic teaching method. Much for its advantages, the in-class lecture format is the preferred and traditional method of teaching law at the diploma and degree levels. In short, in-class lectures allow for the Socratic method of debating legal issues and reasoning. Also, students have the opportunity to: a) attend legal workshops, b) observe Supreme Court proceedings, c) conduct interactive mooting court sessions, d) visit Law Courts Library, and e) enjoy occasional lectures given by expert guests.

Lectures will generally occur at the start of each class in order to introduce each daily topic. Students are expected to attend all classes and complete assigned readings before attending classes. This format encourages students to be active participants in the exchange of ideas that will characterize the learning experience in this course. To further facilitate this interactive approach, students will be responsible for various assigned materials and for conducting their own search of relevant research materials.

Graduation Requirement

  • A grade of “C” or better is required to pass each course.
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (“C”) or better is required to qualify for graduation.

Career Prospects

Outside further academic pursuit, graduates should be able to seek employment opportunities in offices of notaries public; corporations of varied sizes (e.g. ICBC) whose daily transactions involve dealing with any aspect of the law; private law firms; crown prosecutors’ offices; municipal, provincial and federal government offices; real estate firms; insurance offices; Canada Boarder Services Agency; police; corrections; quasi-judicial organizations such as Workers’ Compensation Board, Human Rights Commission, Employment Standards Commission (Labour Board); probation services; parole boards, courts; corporate legal departments; financial institutions; insurance companies; legal technology providers, to name just a few.

Depending on your career path, as a paralegal and under the supervision of a lawyer, you could be preparing trial documentation, interviewing witnesses, arranging trial dates and adjournments, drafting corporate/commercial documentation, completing Family Law Act financial statements, administering estates, negotiating leases, administering contracts, legal research, searching titles or processing real estate transactions. The scope of duty for a paralegal is wide. To help you further, we have gathered some helpful links to internet employment resources. Please contact the Employment Services Representative for access to the link.

Funding

This funding information applies to domestic students only (but see also Financial Aid). Funding may be available to eligible domestic candidates. In particular, the paralegal diploma qualifies for the Student Aide BC and Canada Student Loan, and HRDC/Service Canada funding for people who have been out of work and are looking for career training programs to be able to find employment. The program further accepts Workers Compensation Board’s funding to re-train workers. Equally, First Nations and Native Bands also provide funding to their eligible members for further education. Check with your Band. Some banks operate a program of student line of credit, and you may look into this opportunity as well. Those who fall outside of these funding schemes, or are perhaps self-funded, should equally apply to the paralegal program.

Employment and Study Advantages

The different course exposures in substantive and procedural law that graduates receive in our Paralegal Diploma Program place them ahead of other job seekers when it comes time for employment. For all those foreign trained lawyers, such course exposures additionally provide them with the basic knowledge and understanding of the Canadian law. Further, students can choose to pursue further education in related disciplines, such as criminology and criminal justice, or even pursue paralegal studies at the degree level. Students wishing to pursue further studies are advised to contact their intended institution for its admission policy.

Job Search Support

Metropolitan Community College provides guidance and job search resources to all of its program participants and graduates. These include: assistance with resume preparation and updates, cover letters, interview preparation, job search strategies, web and Internet access, and career networking.

Advanced Paralegal PROGRAM MODULE*

Program Content *
ENG101 Orientation to Study (3)
PLAS115 Introduction to Paralegal (3)
PLAS266 Criminal Law (3)
Plas150 Approaches to the Study of Law (3)
PLAS105 Information and Communications Technology (3)
PLAS152 Issues in Litigation (6)
PLAS179 Paralegal Writing (3)
PLAS180 Contract Law (3)
PLAS256 Family Law (3)
PLAS189 Legal Interviewing and Communications (3)
PLAS254 Business and Corporate Law (6)
PLAS151 Evidence (3)
PLAS157 Wills, Probate and Estates (3)
PLAS170 Legal Research (3)
PLAS255 Real Property (3)
PLAS264 Insurance Law (3)
PLAS172 Legal Document Drafting (3)
MBU110 Interpersonal Communication Skills (3)
PLAS267 Intellectual Property (3)
MCC210 Career Development Strategies (3)
PLAS199 Paralegal Co-op Education  ** (6)

Total Credit Hours: 78
Program Contact Hours: 1,300
Co-op : 600

Disclaimer: Metropolitan Community College reserves the right to vary course timetables, fees, delete and add
courses without notice.
* Courses are not necessarily offered in the order shown above, and are subject to change without notice.
** Although a compulsory requirement of graduation for those taking the co-op education, and is awarded a
 grade of “Pass” or “Fail”, the co-op is excluded from the program credit hour calculation because it is waged, and
therefore involves limited instructional contact hours of 50 with interns.