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Paralegal Studies Certificate

Advance Your Career with an LSU Certificate

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Jump-Start Your Legal Career with LSU

The LSU Paralegal Studies Certificate Program provides a faster pathway for you to pursue a rewarding legal career. Study with experienced instructors in eight paralegal courses (two of which are legal-specialty electives), a 150-hour internship, and an online legal ethics seminar. With night courses and convenient scheduling options, this program works in conjunction with your busy schedule. This noncredit certificate is the only one in the state of Louisiana to be approved by the American Bar Association.

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The application period for Spring 2023 has been extended to January 16, 2023

LSU Paralegal Studies: How To Apply in 4 steps

Applying to the LSU Paralegal Studies Program is a simple process, but you might have questions. Review the Admission requirements on our website, and if you have any concerns, contact the program coordinator, Alanna Clanton, at aclant1@lsu.edu or 225-578-6760.

Paralegal Application Schedule


Cohort Apply By Classes Start
Spring 2023 January 9, 2023  January 23, 2023

Benefits of Taking This Program

  • This program is the only non-credit paralegal program in Louisiana approved by the American Bar Association.
  • The program offers the best of both worlds: the resources of the state’s largest university and the personal attention of a small, student-friendly program.
  • All teachers are experienced lawyers, judges, or paralegals with extensive experience in the classroom and working with paralegals.
  • Paralegal students enjoy the following student services: student health center, use of the LSU Law Library and LSU Library.
  • The program is guided by an advisory committee of dedicated paralegals, lawyers and other interested people.

The LSU Paralegal Studies Program began in 1982. It is a college-level, non-credit program leading to a Certificate of Paralegal Studies. Upon completing the curriculum, you will be able to:

  • Write clear, effective legal memoranda, using proper citation form.
  • Explain the structure of both state and federal judicial systems.
  • Analyze (by briefing) reported legal opinions.
  • Interview clients and witnesses.
  • Articulate the ethical standards of the paralegal profession.
  • Describe basic concepts of business organizations and contract law.
  • Research legal problems using primary and secondary resources.
  • Recognize the procedure in a civil suit and draft appropriate pleadings

Paralegals must work under the supervision of an attorney and are not allowed to give independent legal advice, represent clients in court, or settle claims on behalf of clients. Paralegals who do so may be charged with the crime of unauthorized practice of law.

LSU Paralegal Studies graduate Johanna Fini talks about how the program impacted her life and career.

Explore This Program

General Information

You may begin the program in the spring or fall semesters. You should apply at least 30 days before the start of each semester. There is a $40 application fee and you need an official copy of your transcript showing your degree. If you do not have a degree, you must have at least 45 hours of college credit, and a 2.3 overall grade point average.

Once you apply to the program, the program manager will contact you to schedule a brief meeting to get you started.


The total curriculum costs range from $5075 to $5200 plus books. The program is semester based so you pay as you register for courses.

The Paralegal Studies Program does not qualify for federal financial aid or Pell Grants. However, students may apply for a continuing education loan through banking institutions such as Campus Federal Credit Union.

Note: Prices are subject to change. Cost does not include the price of textbooks. Contact an Enrollment Coach to see what savings you may qualify for.


In order to earn the paralegal certificate, a student must take six required courses, two paralegal electives, the internship, and the online legal ethics seminar. Students must take at least nine semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses through synchronous instruction.

The required courses, each of which is offered during every fall and spring semester, are as follows:

  • Principles of Paralegal Studies
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Case Analysis
  • Civil Litigation I
  • The Practicing Paralegal
  • Internship
  • Legal Ethics Online
  • Law Office Technology

Students choose two electives from the following list. The electives are offered on a rotating basis at the discretion of the program, unless otherwise indicated. At least 3 electives are offered in the spring and fall semesters.

  • Administrative Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Fundamentals of Louisiana Notarial Law and Practice
  • Immigration Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Legal Investigation & Interviewing Skills
  • Legal Writing
  • Real Estate Law
  • Wills, Successions & Inheritance

The internship is a supervised field experience in which the student works as a paralegal in a local law office, government agency or corporation. Students do their internship in their final semester of the program and are given a choice of about 40 different sponsors. The internship consists of a total of 150 hours; 144 hours of hands-on work at the internship site and 6 hours of meetings and workshops designed to support and enhance the internship experience.

Admission Requirement

The majority of the paralegal students have already earned a bachelor’s degree, and we recommend that students complete their bachelor’s degree before earning a paralegal certificate. However, students will be considered for admission without a bachelor’s degree if they meet these requirements:

  • At least 45 semester hours of college credit from an accredited college or university (remedial courses do not count).
  • At least a 2.3 grade point average.

18 of the 45 hours of college credit must be general education courses, which means they are from at least three of these disciplines:

  • Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Math
  • Humanities
  • Foreign Languages
  • English
  • Successful completion of a standardized aptitude test

Applicants who have attended another ABA-approved paralegal studies program can transfer up to 10 credit hours or two non-credit paralegal legal specialty courses. The transfer courses allowed are at the discretion of the program to ensure that the courses are equivalent to Louisiana state specific law. No course with a grade lower than a "C" will be accepted as transfer. Applicants must provide an official copy of the transcript with a course description to ensure that the academic quality and integrity of the program is upheld.

In addition to the above requirements, applicants must submit a personal statement.

Timeframe to Completion

We offer two program-length options:

  • The full-time program (students take four or five classes for two regular semesters)
  • The part-time program (students take two classes a semester for five regular semesters)

If you attend full-time, the certificate program can be completed in one year; part-time can take up to 2.5 years. Each class meets once a week for 2.5 hours. You must complete eight academic courses, a 150-hour internship, and an online legal ethics seminar. We do not have any weekend classes. Most courses are in the evening. Daytime courses are of short duration so that you do not have to take too much time from your employment or other day time commitments.


Earning your Paralegal certificate at LSU prepares you for valuable work as a:

  • Law Office Paralegal
  • Public/Government Paralegal
  • Corporation Paralegal
  • Trust Department Paralegal
  • Real Estate Paralegal
  • Law Office Manager
  • Freelance Paralegal
  • Paralegal Supervisor
  • Legal Aid Office Paralegal
  • Contract Administrator

If you're interested in a career in Paralegal, you'll want to look closely at career data:

  • NALA - National Association of Legal Assistants - Job Analysis Report
  • United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics - Paralegal

Local Professional Organizations that offer student and professional memberships: