College of the Canyons has been selected to participate in a new joint initiative launched by the California Community Colleges and The State Bar of California that will provide community college students a smoother pathway to six of California’s top law schools.
The Community Colleges Pathway to Law School initiative is an unprecedented effort within California higher education to enhance opportunities and advancement in the legal profession for diverse populations.
The project, sponsored by the State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness, will establish agreements with 24 community colleges and six law schools and their respective undergraduate institutions.
“Opportunities like this are rare! As a place committed to student success and completion, we are proud to be a partner in this innovative program,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “With our outstanding paralegal program and Civil Rights Clinic, we are uniquely positioned to help students pursue careers in law.”
The Community Colleges Pathway to Law School Initiative requires students to complete courses based on a defined set of “success factors” that help make effective lawyers.
The transfer initiative will also align criteria from these success factors with already approved community college courses to help better prepare students for law school.
Additionally, students in the program are assured that credits in prescribed courses will transfer, while receiving early exposure to the law school experience, individual advisement and mentoring from law school advisors, financial aid counseling, LSAT preparation and waived application fees for admission to the participating law schools.
“This project will put talented and promising community college students on a trajectory to enter some of the finest law schools in the nation and receive the support they need to succeed and make the legal profession more diverse and the justice system more reflective of our state,” said Brice W. Harris, Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, in a statement.
Other community colleges selected to participate in this program are Antelope Valley College, Bakersfield College, Chabot College, Chaffey College, College of Alameda, College of the Canyons, College of the Sequoias, Contra Costa College, Fresno City College, Gavilan College, Hartnell College, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Mission College, Merritt College, Oxnard College, Rio Hondo Community College, Riverside City College, Sacramento City College, San Joaquin Delta College, San Jose City College, Santa Ana College, Solano Community College, Southwestern College, and Ventura College.
Participating law schools are University of Southern California Gould School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, UC Davis School of Law, UC Irvine School of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law and Loyola Law School.
More about the COC Paralegal Studies Program & Civil Rights Clinic
The College of the Canyons paralegal studies program prepares students for positions as paralegals in order to improve the accessibility, quality and affordability of legal services.
In 2010, the American Bar Association (ABA) formally approved the college’s paralegal studies program, making COC the only ABA-approved paralegal associate degree program in the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys.
Students who successfully complete the college’s paralegal studies program will gain a broad-based understanding of the American legal system and the practice of law in California, while developing the skills and knowledge needed to work as a paralegal in civil litigation law firms.
Interested students also have the opportunity to receive hands-on training in areas related to the investigation and processing of civil rights based legal issues at the College of the Canyons Civil Rights Clinic (CRC), located inside the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center.
The CRC was launched in 2012 in partnership with California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)Educational Partnerships Program, to help begin training a new generation of civil rights lawyers, investigators and law professionals.
Participating students serve as CRC interns at the college’s Valencia campus and receive academic credit through the college’s Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE) program, while also training and working directly with DFEH staff.
The COC paralegal studies program is designed for students who are working professionals, with classes primarily offered in the evenings at both the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.
For more information please visit www3.canyons.edu/paralegal.