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Paralegal Studies | On Campus

Paralegal Studies Certificate

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 (three of which are legal-specialty electives), a 150-hour internship, an online legal ethics seminar, and a Court Day field experience. 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.

The application deadline for Spring 2020 is January 3, 2020.

Benefits of Taking This Program

  • This program is the only non-credit paralegal program in Louisiana approved by the American Bar Association.
  • All courses are held in Baton Rouge on the LSU campus.
  • 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 Middleton 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 Perfect for Non-Traditional Paralegal Students

LSU Paralegal Studies graduate Amanda Tillman talks about her experience in the program and how its flexibility is ideal for non-traditional students.


Explore This Program

General Information

You may begin the program in summer, fall, or spring semesters. You should apply at least 30 days before the start of each semester. There is a $35 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, a 2.3 overall grade point average, and pass an entrance exam.

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

Cost

The total curriculum costs approximately $5,400 plus books. You pay as you go. Classes cost $525, except for the Legal Ethics Seminar, which is $150, and Court Day, which is $100.

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

Curriculum

In order to earn the paralegal certificate, a student must take five required courses, three paralegal electives, the internship, the online legal ethics seminar, and court day. Students must also take an Intro to Word or Mastering Word course or test out of it. Law Office Technology (an elective) fulfills the requirement for the Word class.

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

  • Principles of Paralegal Studies (also offered in summer)
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Case Analysis
  • Civil Litigation I
  • The Practicing Paralegal
  • Internship (also offered in summer)
  • Legal Ethics Online
  • Court Day (two offerings each spring and fall)
  • Introduction to Word or Mastering Word (or equivalent knowledge)

Students choose three electives from the following list. The electives are offered on a rotating basis at the discretion of the program, unless otherwise indicated. Two electives are offered in the summer semester; and at least 3 or 4 electives are offering in spring and fall semesters.

  • Administrative Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Civil Litigation II (offered in fall semester)
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • eDiscovery
  • Electronic Trial Presentation (Trial Director and other presentation software)
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Federal Civil Procedure (offered in spring semester)
  • Immigration Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Law Office Technology (This elective satisfies the requirement for Intro to Word, if taken)
  • Legal Investigation & Interviewing Skills
  • Legal Writing
  • Mastering Digital Evidence
  • 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.

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, an online legal ethics seminar, and court day. You must also complete a one- or two-day course in either Intro to Word or Mastering Word, or you can test out if you feel you have mastered word processing skills. 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.

Careers

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:

Advisory Committee Members

A. Brock Avery
State of Louisiana, Division of Administrative Law (Administrative Law Judge, Public Sector)

Lauren Barbalich
Solicitor General’s Office, Division of Attorney General’s Office (Paralegal, Public Sector)

Ann K. Gregorie
Director, Baton Rouge Bar Association

JP Gorham
Private Practice (Attorney, Private Sector)

Katrina Gwin
Bienvenu, Bonnecaze, Foco, Viator & Hollinga, APLLC (Paralegal, Private Sector)

Frankie Snyder
CP/CLA, Roedel Parsons Koch Blache Balhoff & McCollister Law Corporation, Paralegal, Private Sector

Noel Steffes Melancon
Attorney, The Steffes Firm, LLC (Faculty Representative)

Wendy Ross
Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips LLP (Paralegal, Private Sector)

Melinda Stallings
Melinda Stallings International (Citizen Representative)

President
Baton Rouge Paralegal Association

Student Representative
LSU Paralegal Studies Program

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