Sullivan University College of Legal Studies

The College of Legal Studies consists of programs in Paralegal Studies and Justice and Public Safety Administration, both of which offer Associate and Bachelor’s Degrees. The Paralegal Studies program also offers a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate.

Paralegal Studies

The legal profession plays an important role in society by maintaining law and order and ensuring justice. Paralegals are an integral part of the profession, enhancing the service attorneys provide and society’s access to justice. Paralegals work at the elbow of the attorney and help them accomplish their clients’ goals, while enhancing the client’s experience. Graduates of the program will be qualified to work directly for practicing attorneys in private law firms, and to work in legal departments of businesses and government agencies, including the court system. All Paralegal Studies programs are approved by the American Bar Association. Students in the program have access to a print law library that includes a representative of almost every legal resource a paralegal can anticipate using in practice. Students also have access to and train in commercial electronic database research. Students in the program become members of the National Society for Legal Technology and receive training in legal specific software programs.

Justice and Public Safety Administration

The criminal justice system will impact every member of society and represents one of the most important sets of relationships between citizens and government. Graduates of the program will be equipped with the skills necessary to become a worthy addition to a field with the honorable goal of protection of public order. They will be qualified for employment in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole at the local, state or federal levels. Graduates will also be qualified to work as correction classification specialists, Department of Juvenile Justice case workers, in child protective services, and as social service case workers.

Students in the Justice and Public Safety Administration programs have access to the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to examine and analyze data during their course work.

The College of Legal Studies is remarkable in that all of its faculty bring real world experience into their classrooms. They have all worked in their field of study, many of whom continue to do so while teaching. Students have a unique opportunity to learn from these faculty members, who are able to demonstrate how the classroom material relates to the careers the students are seeking upon graduation. The College of Legal Studies offers practical training to equip graduates with the skills expected by employers in the field. Unlike the traditional college experience, this training starts at the beginning of the student’s academic experience, and continues throughout.

Jennifer Gaither is the Dean of the College of Legal Studies. She earned her Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Sullivan University, and went on to graduate from the University of Louisville Law School. She is licensed to practice law in Kentucky as well as two federal courts. Gaither’s Sullivan story does not begin with her Associate degree, however. Her father, also a lawyer, was a full-time faculty member in the Paralegal Program from the late 80’s until his passing in 2004. In 2000, Gaither began her first faculty position at Sullivan as an adjunct professor while she continued to practice law. After her father’s passing, she took over his full-time teaching position. She transitioned to Dean of the College of Legal Studies in 2019. She is incredibly passionate about the legal profession and hopes to share that with her students.

Sullivan Legal Studies Dean

Jennifer Gaither
Dean of the College of Legal Studies

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9 Comp 01

Graduates of The College of Legal Studies will possess nine competencies:

  1. Identify and asses ethical and professional responsibility issues.
  2. Define and use legal terminology.
  3. Differentiate federal and state court structures and procedures.
  4. Conduct factual investigations in an organized manner.
  5. Conduct legal research in an organized manner.
  6. Analyze and interpret the law in an organized manner.
  7. Prepare legal documents, including pleadings, memoranda and legally operative forms.
  8. Demonstrate strong communication and interpersonal skills appropriate for the legal field.
  9. Use legal technology and determine its impact on the practice of law.


Paralegals work in all facets of the legal system—in large and small law firms, in courtrooms, in government and in corporate legal departments. Attorneys recognize the valuable contribution paralegals make in increasing the effectiveness and productivity of the legal system. Accordingly, paralegals perform legal research, conduct interviews, draft documents and complete many tasks critical to the efficient operation of law offices. It should be noted that paralegals cannot give legal advice or represent a client in a court of law nor engage in other forms of unauthorized practice of law.

The College of Legal Studies at Sullivan University began in 1979 and offers programs of study that lead students to challenging and rewarding careers as paralegals. Most paralegal courses are taught by attorneys who not only understand the complexities of the law, but also can instruct students on the practical skills needed to be paralegals.

In addition, the legal reference section of the Sullivan University Library and Learning Resource Center provides access to law books, materials and computerized databases, such as Westlaw®, that enhance the learning potential of all paralegal studies students.

Paralegals may not, however, provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.


  • Don’t let money be an obstacle. There are many options at Sullivan—workstudy programs, grants,scholarships. You don’t have to face mountains of debt—there is always a way to make it work.

    Grayce Avalos
    College of Legal Studies