What Are Some Well-Known Schools for Legal Assistants in the U.S.?

Legal assistants, or paralegals, usually go to school for an associate's degree or a post-degree certificate. Successful graduates have basic legal knowledge, practice in reading and writing legal documents clearly and the people skills necessary in business. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What to Expect From a Legal Assistant Program

Many schools offer legal assistant programs under the paralegal title. Programs are mostly offered at community colleges at the associate's degree level. Some schools also have certificate programs in this area. Associate's degree programs typically include about 60 credit hours of work and may be completed in about two years. Certificate programs take about a year, but may only be available to students who already possess an undergraduate degree.

Coursework in these programs generally includes a mixture of core classes, law classes and electives. Programs may also include an internship. Some classes that may be included are:

  • Intro to Law
  • Contracts
  • Legal Analysis
  • Law Office Management
  • Legal Research

Important Facts About This Degree

Concentrations Litigation, child and family law, business law
Online Availability Online programs are commonly available
Continuing Education Paralegals can pursue bachelor's degree in their field
Common Courses Criminal law for paralegals, current issues in law, family law

Some Well-Known U.S. Schools for Legal Assistants

The American Association for Paralegal Education (www.aafpe.org) offers tips on choosing a good-quality legal assistant training program. Colleges with an accredited or ABA-approved legal assistant program may become AAfPE members, like the three schools listed below.

Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO

Arapahoe Community College's (ACC) legal assistant/paralegal program has held ABA approval since 1977. The faculty includes attorneys and experienced legal assistants. Students without a college degree earn the Associate of Applied Science degree. Those with an associate's, bachelor's or other college degree, or who have worked in the legal field for five or more years, may choose a 36-hour certificate program. The programs include training in several computer applications and a cooperative work experience.

Bronx Community College in Bronx, NY

The ABA-approved paralegal studies program at Bronx Community College prepares students for legal assistant careers. Students choose an Associate of Applied Science degree program or a certificate program. This legal assistant program includes a 210-hour internship in a legal setting. It also offers a lay advocate option, which prepares students to help people dealing with the criminal system, family law or issues of access or rights regarding health care, social services and the like.

University of Cincinnati - Clermont College in Batavia Township, OH

Changing technology affects the legal assistant's work in research and document preparation. Law firms want legal assistants to be proficient in computer-assisted legal research, office management and document filing and security. Clermont College's Associate of Applied Business in paralegal technology degree program offers open admission, and students must be in the top-half of their graduating class or receive at least a 55 on the GED test to be admitted to the program. To get into the ABA-approved paralegal technology program, you should also have approved placement test scores, and should have completed college-prep English composition and math courses if entering with a high-school diploma. This program also has a technology focus, and many courses are taught in a computer lab, using common legal office software.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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