Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Step into the world of law with a Paralegal Studies degree.

Paralegals are an integral part of the legal system at large. They work in large and small law firms, in courtrooms, in government and in corporate legal departments. While paralegals cannot give legal advice or practice law, they can perform legal research, conduct interviews, draft documents and complete many tasks critical to the efficient operation of law offices.

The Institute for Legal Studies at Sullivan University offers three programs designed to help you receive training as a paralegal. If you already have a bachelor’s degree from an appropriately accredited college or university, a post-baccalaureate certificate is available. If not, associate and bachelor’s degree programs are available. The latter is a good option if you are considering law school.

All programs are approved by the American Bar Association and typically taught by attorneys. Through the Library and Learning Resource Center, you also have access to a wide variety of reference material such as the LexisNexis and Westlaw electronic databases and a multitude of law books.

Course offered at the following campuses:
Paralegal Degrees Offered
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
Associate of Science Degree
Bachelor of Science Degree

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program Success

 

Get to know the program.
Nicholas W. Riggs is the Dean of The Institute for Legal Studies.

 

What type of person would this program appeal to?

As laws have become more complex, paralegals are becoming more specialized. Areas of specialties may entice you if you have an interest in any of the following: medical malpractice, product liability, family law, litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, intellectual property, and real estate.

Furthermore, this program would likely appeal to you if you have the following personality traits:

  • High personal standards and positive work ethic
  • Self-confidence
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Analytical skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Interpersonal “people” skills
  • Common sense and good judgment

Finally, you may be interested in the Paralegal Studies program if you have the following basic hard skills:

  • Organizational skills
  • Research skills
  • Document drafting skills
  • Computer skills

 

What specific skills or knowledge are taught in the program?

  • Understanding ethical and professional responsibilities
  • Utilization of legal terminology
  • Theoretical and practical understanding of applicable law
  • Knowledge of state and federal court structure and procedures
  • Factual investigation skills
  • Legal research skills
  • Legal analysis and interpretation capabilities
  • Legal writing and document preparation capabilities
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Understanding of technology and its impact on the practice of law

 

What are potential jobs or employment settings for graduates?

Private law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, but a growing array of other organizations, such as corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real estate & title insurance firms, and banks hire paralegals.  After graduation, you may work in:

  • Large and small law offices
  • Solo practicing attorneys’ offices
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Local, state and federal government agencies
  • Local state and federal courts
  • Legal aid offices

Job titles include:

    • Paralegal
    • Senior paralegal
    • Legal assistant
    • Law clerk
    • Document clerk
    • Freelance paralegal
    • Director of legal services
    • Paralegal manager
    • Case manager
    • Investigator
    • Claims representative
    • Office manager
    • Law office librarian
    • Compliance officer
    • Legal clerk/technician
    • Paralegal specialist
    • Hearing officer
    • Rules manager
    • Securities examiner
    • Technical advisor
    • Lobbyist
    • Personnel director
    • Law office administrator

 

What is the most important or unique aspect about this program?
All of the Paralegal Studies programs offered by The Institute for Legal Studies are approved by the American Bar Association. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (last updated March 29, 2012), there are over 1,000 colleges offering Paralegal Studies programs, but only about 270 have ABA approval.

Additionally, Louisville’s Paralegal Studies program provides a variety of activities and benefits. For example, there is an active Sullivan Student Paralegal Association (SSPA) student group, which sponsors various activities and fundraisers, including the dunking booth at the Spring Luau. There are also periodic Friday field trips to courtrooms, most often going to Frankfort to observe the Kentucky Supreme Court in action. These trips also include a tour of the state capitol building and a free lunch, if you are an SSPA member. Another benefit is free student membership in the Louisville Association of Paralegals (LAP) and the Kentucky Paralegal Association (KPA). You must join on your own, but it is free! Finally, in the Fall Quarter each year, there is an annual Paralegal Roundtable Discussion, with local paralegals speaking about the profession and answering your questions.

 

Resources:
The following websites can provide information about the paralegal profession:

 

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE POST-BACCALAUREATE CERTIFICATE PARALEGAL STUDIES

Time length for program completion will vary depending upon the number of courses taken per term, developmental courses when required, transfer credit accepted, lack of continuous enrollment, etc.

Course Titles Credit Hours
CSC 118 Computer Applications I
4
PLS 114 Introduction to Law and the Legal System
4
PLS 134 Legal Research
4
PLS 144 Legal Writing
4
PLS 154 Tort Law
4
PLS 184 Business Organizations and Commercial Practice
4
PLS 204 Criminal Law
4
PLS 214 Estate Planning and Administration
4
PLS 224 Litigation
4
PLS 234 Real Estate Law
4
PLS 244 Domestic Relations/Family Law
4
PLS 262 Basic Legal Ethics
2
PLS 272 Paralegal Externship or Research Project
2
PLS 284 Computers in the Law Office
4
WPR 101 Word Processing I
4
Total Credit Hours
56

 

*Courses subject to change.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ASSOCIATE OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN PARALEGAL STUDIES

Time length for program completion will vary depending upon the number of courses taken per term, developmental courses when required, transfer credit accepted, lack of continuous enrollment, etc.

Course Titles Credit Hours
BUS 224 Professional Development
4
COM 214 Public Speaking
4
CSC 118 Computer Applications I
4
ENG 101 Composition I
4
ENG 102 Composition II
4
MGT 114 Business Organization and Management
4
MTH 101 College Mathematics
4
PLS 114 Introduction to Law and the Legal System
4
PLS 134 Legal Research
4
PLS 144 Legal Writing
4
PLS 154 Tort Law
4
PLS 184 Business Organizations and Commercial Practice
4
PLS 204 Criminal Law
4
PLS 214 Estate Planning and Administration
4
PLS 224 Litigation
4
PLS 234 Real Estate Law
4
PLS 244 Domestic Relations/Family Law
4
PLS 262 Basic Legal Ethics
2
PLS 272 Paralegal Externship or Research Project
2
PLS 284 Computers in the Law Office
4
PSA 260 Spanish for Public Safety Professionals OR Elective
4
WPR 101 Word Processing I
4
*ELECT* General Studies Elective
4
*ELECT* Humanities/Fine Arts Elective
4
*ELECT* Natural Science/Math Elective(s)
4
*ELECT* Social/Behavioral Sciences Elective(s)
4
Total Credit Hours
100

 

*Courses subject to change.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN PARALEGAL STUDIES

Time length for program completion will vary depending upon the number of courses taken per term, developmental courses when required, transfer credit accepted, lack of continuous enrollment, etc.

Completion of the Associate degree in Paralegal Studies (100 credit hours) or its equivalent PLUS the following 78 credit hours:

Course Titles
Credit Hours
ACT101 Principles of Accounting I
4
BUS424 International Business
4
CSC218 Computer Applications II
4
ECO201 Microeconomics
4
ECO202 Macroeconomics
4
ENG204 Advanced Writing
4
MGT304 Principles of Management
4
MGT344 Organizational Behavior
4
MKT304 Principles of Marketing
4
MTH201 College Algebra
4
PLS302 Applied Legal Ethics
2
PLS304 Administrative Law
4
PLS314 Advanced Legal Writing with Computer Applications
4
PLS404 Advanced Litigation and Appellate Practice
4
PLS414 Advanced Real Estate Law
4
PLS434 Contemporary Legal Topics
4
*ELECT* Humanities/Fine Arts Electives
8
*ELECT* Free Electives
16
Total
82
Total Credit Hours (100 associate degree credit hours + 82 bachelor’s degree credit hours)
182

 

Important note: if the associate degree or other transfer credit does not include all of the classes listed in the Sullivan University Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies program, those classes must also be completed for the Bachelor’s degree.

*Courses subject to change.