The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Paralegals is responsible for ensuring that paralegal programs promote sound educational policies and operate in accordance with ABA guidelines. Students interested in the paralegal profession should attend ABA-approved programs in order to be prepared for and knowledgeable about both the legal and research aspects of their career. Many institutions across the country offer paralegal programs that instruct students in becoming valuable members of any legal team.
California State University, Los Angeles, offers a paralegal certificate program focused on producing paralegals who can communicate effectively and demonstrate professional skills to assist attorneys. Students in the program take eight courses that cover topics on legal writing and research, civil procedure and the role of a paralegal. In addition, students are taught how to work with the most up-to-date legal software used in law firms. At Pioneer Pacific College, professionals with experience in the legal profession teach all courses, including constitutional law and torts. To supplement their classroom coursework, students are expected to complete a 180-hour externship that will give them practical knowledge of and insight into the field.
Students completing the paralegal program at Venango College at Clarion University receive an Associate of Science degree in paralegal studies, preparing them for careers in courthouses, law offices and governmental institutions. Courses cover topics in business management, real estate law and unemployment compensation. Georgetown University’s Paralegal Studies Program not only helps students enter into the paralegal field but also provides continuing education courses for paralegal professionals. Students take courses focusing on subjects like legal ethics, contract law and litigation. The school also offers skills workshops to ensure that students are viable candidates for employment.
The paralegal certificate program at Webster University is designed to provide a theoretical and practical educational foundation to students interested in entering the paralegal field. Students take courses that cover areas such as juvenile, property and consumer law to help them better serve attorneys in specific areas of practice. The University of Tulsa’s paralegal program seeks to increase its students’ awareness of ethical, moral and social issues in the legal profession. Upon graduation, students should be able to prepare legal documents and demonstrate a true understanding of the law. The school also offers students job placement assistance.
At the University of Memphis, students can earn a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in the paralegal studies program. Although paralegals may not engage in practicing law, the school prepares its students to be flexible in meeting the challenges of the profession. Students may also participate in the school’s paralegal honor society to network with paralegals and other legal professionals. Amarillo College offers a paralegal certificate program taught by attorneys and paralegal professionals. Coursework includes conducting client interviews, criminal law and public speaking. The program is designed to help students prepare for a career as a paralegal or continue their studies by obtaining an undergraduate degree and attending law school.
- American Bar Association: Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs
- California State University, Los Angeles: Paralegal Studies Certificate Program
- Pioneer Pacific College: Paralegal
- Venango College at Clarion University: Paralegal Studies
- Georgetown University: Paralegal Studies Program
- Webster University: Paralegal Studies
- University of Tulsa: Paralegal Program Mission
- University of Memphis: Paralegal Studies
- Amarillo College: About AC’s Paralegal Studies Program
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