The Legal Education mission is to provide legal education to all students interested in legal studies. The credit programs prepare graduates to perform a significant role in the delivery of legal services. The department values personal fulfillment and professional development that results from lifelong learning, therefore, credit and non-credit classes, workshops, seminars, and television shows are developed and offered that respond to the needs of prospective, current, and graduate students, as well as to practicing legal professionals, the legal community, and other interested individuals.
The Associate in Science, Paralegal degree articulates to the University of Hawai‘i-West O‘ahu towards the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Public Administration with concentration options in General Public Administration or Justice Administration.
The program is guided by the Paralegal Program Advisory Committee, representing a cross-section of the legal profession in Hawai‘i – Hawai‘i-licensed attorneys, private and public sector Hawai‘i paralegals, law firm administrators in Hawai‘i, and faculty teaching at the college, as well as representatives from the paralegal students and the general public.
Special Admission Requirement for Paralegal (C.A.)
The Certificate of Achievement – Paralegal program requires a bachelor’s degree. Please submit information on our online application form to determine eligibility. The form can be submitted by users with a hawaii.edu account only.
Degree and Certificate Programs
The Kapi‘olani CC Legal Education is the only non-law school legal training program in the University of Hawai‘i System, offering an associate in science (AS) degree and one certificate.
- Associate in Science - Paralegal (60-62 credits)Kapi‘olani Community College's Paralegal program is the only Hawai‘i-based paralegal program offered in the State. Since 1978, it has been an American Bar Association-approved program and has been the major source of trained paralegals in the Hawai‘i legal community. A paralegal is a legal professional who assists in the delivery of legal services, generally under the supervision of an attorney. A paralegal is a member of the legal team in private law offices, government agencies, and corporations, performing technical and paraprofessional responsibilities. These include interviewing and assisting clients, legal research and writing, communicating effectively, implementing legal procedures, preparing instruments and documents, assisting in judicial and administrative appearances, representing clients in selected administrative hearings, completing client projects, calendaring, and coordinating office functions. These functions overlap with those of an attorney. The program graduate will be qualified to work in a private law firm, corporation, public agencies, and public law firms. A paralegal may not provide legal services directly to the public.
- Certificate of Achievement - Paralegal (27 credits)The Certificate of Achievement Program is designed for post-baccalaureate students interested in careers as paralegals or for positions where communication, analytical, and organizational skills as well as knowledge of law and legal procedures are necessary. The certificate program provides the foundation for students to think critically and act ethically in the workplace and in the community. The certificate program also prepares students to continue educational pursuits and encourages lifelong learning and community service.
- Certificate of Competence - Legal Secretary (18 credits)The Legal Secretary program is an open admission, evening program designed to provide currently employed secretaries and recent secretarial graduates with specialized office training in the legal environment. The program does not provide training in traditional secretarial skills. The training emphasizes familiarity of legal office theory and procedure, legal terminology, legal communications, legal documents, legal office technology, and actual work experience through cooperative education in a law office setting. The legal secretary may prepare, under the supervision of an attorney, initial drafts of common legal documents such as subpoenas, complaints, motions, and summonses. They may also review law journals and assist with legal research. Legal secretaries may handle the payments for witness fees and process fees, record trial dates, schedule witnesses, and deliver subpoenas.
The Business, Legal & Technology Industry Certification Test Center
The Paralegal program now offers a one-credit certification preparation class to help students prepare for the Relativity User Certification exam. Some prerequisite courses may be required. There are additional certification preparation classes offered in information technology (Security+) and accounting (Online QuickBooks Pro).
Potential Careers and Employers
- Careers: Graduates of the Associate in Science (AS) degree in Paralegal or the Certificate of Achievement in Paralegal may be eligible for paralegal positions in private law firms, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Legal secretary certificate recipients may be eligible for work as secretaries, office managers, clerks, or administrative assistants in a law related organization.
- Employers: The United States Department of Labor publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook with additional information about careers for paralegals and legal secretaries.
Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law. The Legal Secretary Certificate is not an ABA approved option and does not prepare students to work as paralegals.
Policy on the Transfer of Credits
- Policy on the Transfer of CreditsThe KCC paralegal program will not accept legal specialty credits by examination or portfolio.
The program will accept legal specialty credits by transfer as authorized by the program director, or a qualified faculty member approved by the program director. In addition to any restrictions on the transfer of credits imposed by Kapi`olani Community College, the program director will review each proposed transfer legal specialty course to assure it can appropriately be classified as a legal specialty course, that it meets the course objectives for an existing paralegal program legal specialty course in our program, is comparable to an existing paralegal program legal specialty course in our program, and requires a similar set of practical skills for an existing paralegal program legal specialty course in our program. Courses that focus on the laws of another state will probably not meet these requirements.
A student may transfer no more than four legal specialty courses taken within the past five years, and those courses shall not include the equivalents of required courses Legal Research (LAW 102), Computer Applications in the Law Office (LAW 145), Legal Document Preparation (LAW 148), and Legal Interviewing Negotiating & Advocacy (LAW 202). This ensures that students will complete a minimum of ten-semester credits in traditional instruction as required by the American Bar Association.