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Paralegal Bachelors Degree

Paralegal studies seek to teach students about legal ethics, introduce them to major areas of law, train them to draft legal documents and perform legal research, expose them to state and federal court systems and procedures, and qualify them for beginning assignments as a paralegal.

paralegal bachelors degree

The four-year paralegal studies program results in a Bachelor of Science degree and offers highly specialized courses to prepare students to practice as paralegals in a variety of different areas of law. The curriculum provides proficiency in legal research and case citation, use of office technology and multimedia and the application of professionalism and ethics in the legal field.

The paralegal studies program at SIU has been approved by the American Bar Association since 1987. Each faculty member is a licensed attorney and brings real life experience to the classroom. This unrivaled knowledge is imparted to students as preparation to enter the workforce with a true understanding of the expectations for successful paralegals both in law office and courtroom settings.

The paralegal studies degree requires the completion of 34 credit hours in the core legal specialty courses. These requirements are drawn from the American Association for Paralegal Education and reflect the competencies required of a legal professional. These core legal specialty courses include:

Within each of these courses, students are expected to complete written assignments and participate in analytical discussions of legal theories. Faculty members initiate thoughtful discourse in substantive and procedural law in each of the different practice areas. Students also learn the role of both paralegals and attorneys in the court system and are expected to draft complaints, wills, discovery requests and a variety of other legal documents in their coursework.

For the general program of study, the required courses focus on paralegal skills that encourage the development of better interpersonal professional relationships and non-clerical office skills.

For the pre-law specialization, students must complete 12 credit hours of any combination of 300- to 400-level paralegal studies courses, or approved courses in criminology and criminal justice, political science, psychology, sociology, philosophy, English, history, Africana studies, mass communication and media arts, journalism and women, gender and sexuality studies.

With a requirement of 15 credit hours, a minor in paralegal studies provides a deeper understanding of legal research and writing, civil procedure, business entities and financial matters such as bankruptcy, torts and estates.

The Organization of Paralegal Studies (OPS) encourages awareness of the paralegal profession and enrollment of new students in the paralegal studies program. With regularly scheduled meetings and tours of local courts, law offices and prisons, members interact with attorneys, paralegals and guest speakers from the legal community. Regular study sessions, fundraiser and social activities also promote camaraderie within the student body.

The United States Department of Labor has reported in its current Occupational Outlook Handbook, that: "Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects. This occupation attracts many applicants, and competition for jobs will be strong. Experienced, formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects."

Articulation agreements list the EMU courses and equivalent community college courses that satisfy some of the requirements of specific majors or programs at EMU. Students who want to complete an associate degree will need to consult their community college catalog for community college program requirements. Eastern Michigan University has established articulation agreements for the Paralegal Program with the following Michigan community colleges:

Bay Path University's Paralegal Studies degree program prepares graduates for careers in law by providing a strong undergraduate education emphasizing communication, leadership, technology, and ethics. By challenging students to a rigorous curriculum of theory and practical application, the paralegal studies degree program prepares them for professional opportunities in a wide variety of legal settings including: law firms; legal service agencies; courts; corporations; financial institutions; and city, state, and federal government agencies and offices.

Students who complete our paralegal studies degree program will have fulfilled the requirements for the American Bar Association (ABA)-approved Certificate of Advanced Paralegal Studies. Students graduate knowing that paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney and are not authorized to engage in the practice of law.

Bay Path's legal programs on the associate and baccalaureate degree level, as well as the Certificate of Advanced Paralegal Studies, are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

A paralegal or legal assistant performs many aspects of legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Although prohibited from giving legal advice or setting fees, they are an integral part of the legal profession. Paralegals help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Paralegals are employed in a variety of settings including law firms, corporate legal departments, and various government offices.

Students seeking legal studies degrees or a certificate must complete at least 18 credits of general education course work in at least three disciplines, such as social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, languages, and English. Under normal circumstances, a student must complete at least 18 credit hours of legal specialty courses at Bay Path in order to receive a degree from the University.

Lawyers represent individuals or organizations in various legal situations or advise them on managing any number of legal issues. To become a lawyer, candidates must earn an undergraduate degree, attend law school, and pass the bar exam in the state where they want to practice. Paralegals assist lawyers by organizing files, conducting research, preparing legal documents, and beyond. These professionals typically only need to earn an undergraduate degree and fulfill any licensing or certification requirements dictated by their potential employers.

While this well-rounded knowledge translates directly to law enforcement careers, you can also become a paralegal with a criminal justice degree. Criminal justice can also be a good major for law school. For example, the criminal law and procedures classes featured in a criminal justice curriculum enable students to learn exactly how elements of specific crimes can shape the determination of criminal cases. Through a study of criminal procedural law, criminal justice majors also develop an in-depth understanding of the various steps involved in the prosecution and common defenses used by lawyers.

Thanks to this education, students attending law school will already have some experience studying the criminal justice system, which may place them a step ahead of their classmates. This knowledge can also be essential when applying for paralegal jobs or seeking licensure from the American Bar Association.

In simple terms, paralegals help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and other legal engagements. This requires a baseline understanding of legal proceedings, coupled with high-level research skills. When lawyers are litigating complex cases, paralegals are often tasked with researching case law, investigating legal precedents, and gathering facts that can be used to build a legal argument. They then create reports and briefs that summarize their findings.

Employers may also require paralegals to have a certificate in paralegal studies from a program approved by the American Bar Association. That said, not all employers require certifications. Some firms may be willing to hire and train recent graduates.

Paralegals work in different environments, depending on the type of law practiced by their firm. While roles and responsibilities are similar across the board, the setting a paralegal works in can dictate the kinds of activities they perform on their jobs and their salary. Below are three typical paralegal roles with salary information.

Lawyers practice in many different areas, including personal injury cases, estate planning, intellectual property litigation, corporate law, and more. Criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors, however, are most likely to benefit from a criminal justice degree. Criminal defense lawyers work with people accused of crimes and represent them before, during, and after court. Prosecutors work for the government to prosecute defendants in criminal cases.

Paralegals work on both sides of the aisle and in criminal as well as civil courts. They investigate the facts of a case, conduct legal research, help draft documents, keep and maintain case files, draft correspondences and assist lawyers during trials. Like lawyers, paralegals often specialize in various areas of law, such as litigation, corporate law, immigration and personal injury, among others.

There are various educational paths you can follow to become a paralegal. While you can follow various paralegal programs offered at many colleges and universities in the United States, it is highly advisable to choose one that is approved by the American Bar Association.

Paralegal certificate programs and paralegal certification are not one and the same. Paralegal educational or training programs at many colleges, universities and technical schools offer students a certificate upon the successful completion of their program, but this does not make them "certified paralegals." 041b061a72


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