Work in a Law Firm or Corporation or Pursue Law School 

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies

The region's only ABA approved four-year paralegal program, College of Saint Mary's four-year bachelor of arts degree in paralegal studies prepares you for work in law offices, government agencies and corporate legal departments. What you learn also serves as a pre-law track, providing excellent preparation for the law school entrance exam. Law firms and departments in other businesses welcome our paralegal studies graduates because they know you will hit the ground running with research and writing skills and a depth of knowledge of the law that is second to none. All courses are taught by attorneys.

During your senior year, you will complete a semester-long internship in a law firm, a corporate legal department, government agency or non-profit legal services organization.

What you learn in our program will prepare you to work under the supervision of an attorney in crafting legal documents, researching legal precedent, preparing for trial and directing and coordinating law office activity. Should you choose to work in a business, the job options open to you with this degree include contract analyst, quality assurance officer, software compliance manager, legal brief reviewer and more.

Required Courses in Your Major

Intro to Paralegal Studies

This survey course discusses the legal environment, law office procedures, legal ethics including confidentiality, avoiding unauthorized practice of law, professional responsibilities of the paralegal, interpreting statutes, employment opportunities, salary surveys, regulations and other sources of law.

The Legal Environment

This survey course considers the different substantive areas of the law: the history of the American legal system; a general overview of the type of law applicable to the legal assistant; an introduction to basic legal principles including the judicial system and more.

Legal Research and Writing

This course emphasizes the basics of legal research methods and good written communication, with an emphasis on precise writing. The course uses a case-study approach for developing organizational, legal style and analytical skills.

Legal Research and Writing II

A continuation of Legal Research and Writing (LAW 200).

Law Office Administration and Technology

This course includes a study of administrative systems, file management, docket control, retrieval, time keeping, billing, accounting dictation, word processing, types of legal fees and their handling and the role of the attorney, paralegal, legal administrator and legal secretary in a law office.

Litigation I

This course is an introduction to the civil litigation process, with emphasis on the practice associated with a civil action. Topics covered include: civil procedure, preparation and use of pleadings, discovery, evidence, client interviewing and investigative techniques.

Litigation II

This course is a continuation of Litigation I (LAW 230) with an emphasis on the functions of a paralegal in trial preparation and pretrial and trial procedures including the gathering and organizing of materials, investigating, interviewing, appellate procedures, preparation of the trial notebook and assisting during and after a trial.

Torts

This course is an introduction and overview of intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, product liability, professional negligence, worker’s compensation, medical malpractice and their defenses.

Advanced Business Law

This course emphasizes the practice related to formation and operation of sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability corporations, limited liability partnerships and corporations.

Estates, Trust, and Tax Law

This course includes a study of intestate succession, wills, and trusts with an emphasis on the administration of an estate. It includes the preparation and drafting of wills, trust instruments and documents related to the probate process.

Real Estate Law

This course deals with laws and regulations affecting real estate ownership and use, including ownership interests, conveyances, mortgages, title assurance, landlord-tenant relationships, public and private land-use controls, foreclosures and the preparation of real estate documents, such as leases, contracts and deeds.

Contracts

This course is an introduction to principles of contract law with an emphasis on contract interpretations and clear and effective contract drafting and editing.

Family Law

This course is an introduction to family law, including the role of the lawyer as counselor. Emphasis is placed on the practical aspects related to divorce, separation, the scope of family law, custody, support, adoption, guardianship, tax consequences, legal rights of women, juvenile law and interfamily torts.

Paralegal Internship

Law 470 is a 3 credit class and consists of the following: mock interview, orientation, work experience and online discussion board and assignments.

 

Requirements for Graduation from College of Saint Mary

To graduate with a bachelor of science degree in paralegal studies, you need 128 credit hours: 

  • 44 hours in required law courses
  • 18 hours in a minor 
  • 18 hours in supporting courses
  • 48 hours in general education courses and electives

 

To complete the pre-law studies curriculum, you’ll select from four majors: paralegal, humanities, English or business and you will need 128 credit hours comprising, in part:

  • 30 or more credit hours in your chosen major 
  • 17 hours in required law courses
  • 17 hours in a minor
  • 48 hours in general education courses and electives

 

Pre-law courses cannot be used as a concentration area for business administration majors or as credit for a paralegal certificate. 

The Assurance of Accreditation

The assurance of regional accreditation means that our degrees have been evaluated for their outcomes — including how well they prepare you to meet the needs of your employers, yourself and our global society.  College of Saint Mary is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

College of Saint Mary’s paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association, Standing Commitee on Paralegals, 312-988-5618.

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary

  • High school transcript with GPA and class rank. Unofficial transcripts may be reviewed for admissions purposes, but official transcripts are required before you start classes.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.0
  • ACT score of 18 or higher or SAT score of 860 – 890 (verbal + math) or higher
  • Transcripts from any post high school institutions for transfer students. Students who have earned 12 or more credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0 from other institutions qualify as transfer students.
  • $30 application fee

Academic Description

Work in a Law Firm or Corporation or Pursue Law School 

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies

The region's only ABA approved four-year paralegal program, College of Saint Mary's four-year bachelor of arts degree in paralegal studies prepares you for work in law offices, government agencies and corporate legal departments. What you learn also serves as a pre-law track, providing excellent preparation for the law school entrance exam. Law firms and departments in other businesses welcome our paralegal studies graduates because they know you will hit the ground running with research and writing skills and a depth of knowledge of the law that is second to none. All courses are taught by attorneys.

During your senior year, you will complete a semester-long internship in a law firm, a corporate legal department, government agency or non-profit legal services organization.

What you learn in our program will prepare you to work under the supervision of an attorney in crafting legal documents, researching legal precedent, preparing for trial and directing and coordinating law office activity. Should you choose to work in a business, the job options open to you with this degree include contract analyst, quality assurance officer, software compliance manager, legal brief reviewer and more.

Accreditation

The Assurance of Accreditation

The assurance of regional accreditation means that our degrees have been evaluated for their outcomes — including how well they prepare you to meet the needs of your employers, yourself and our global society.  College of Saint Mary is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

College of Saint Mary’s paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association, Standing Commitee on Paralegals, 312-988-5618.

Admissions Requirements

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary

  • High school transcript with GPA and class rank. Unofficial transcripts may be reviewed for admissions purposes, but official transcripts are required before you start classes.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.0
  • ACT score of 18 or higher or SAT score of 860 – 890 (verbal + math) or higher
  • Transcripts from any post high school institutions for transfer students. Students who have earned 12 or more credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0 from other institutions qualify as transfer students.
  • $30 application fee

Curriculum

Required Courses in Your Major

Intro to Paralegal Studies

This survey course discusses the legal environment, law office procedures, legal ethics including confidentiality, avoiding unauthorized practice of law, professional responsibilities of the paralegal, interpreting statutes, employment opportunities, salary surveys, regulations and other sources of law.

The Legal Environment

This survey course considers the different substantive areas of the law: the history of the American legal system; a general overview of the type of law applicable to the legal assistant; an introduction to basic legal principles including the judicial system and more.

Legal Research and Writing

This course emphasizes the basics of legal research methods and good written communication, with an emphasis on precise writing. The course uses a case-study approach for developing organizational, legal style and analytical skills.

Legal Research and Writing II

A continuation of Legal Research and Writing (LAW 200).

Law Office Administration and Technology

This course includes a study of administrative systems, file management, docket control, retrieval, time keeping, billing, accounting dictation, word processing, types of legal fees and their handling and the role of the attorney, paralegal, legal administrator and legal secretary in a law office.

Litigation I

This course is an introduction to the civil litigation process, with emphasis on the practice associated with a civil action. Topics covered include: civil procedure, preparation and use of pleadings, discovery, evidence, client interviewing and investigative techniques.

Litigation II

This course is a continuation of Litigation I (LAW 230) with an emphasis on the functions of a paralegal in trial preparation and pretrial and trial procedures including the gathering and organizing of materials, investigating, interviewing, appellate procedures, preparation of the trial notebook and assisting during and after a trial.

Torts

This course is an introduction and overview of intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, product liability, professional negligence, worker’s compensation, medical malpractice and their defenses.

Advanced Business Law

This course emphasizes the practice related to formation and operation of sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability corporations, limited liability partnerships and corporations.

Estates, Trust, and Tax Law

This course includes a study of intestate succession, wills, and trusts with an emphasis on the administration of an estate. It includes the preparation and drafting of wills, trust instruments and documents related to the probate process.

Real Estate Law

This course deals with laws and regulations affecting real estate ownership and use, including ownership interests, conveyances, mortgages, title assurance, landlord-tenant relationships, public and private land-use controls, foreclosures and the preparation of real estate documents, such as leases, contracts and deeds.

Contracts

This course is an introduction to principles of contract law with an emphasis on contract interpretations and clear and effective contract drafting and editing.

Family Law

This course is an introduction to family law, including the role of the lawyer as counselor. Emphasis is placed on the practical aspects related to divorce, separation, the scope of family law, custody, support, adoption, guardianship, tax consequences, legal rights of women, juvenile law and interfamily torts.

Paralegal Internship

Law 470 is a 3 credit class and consists of the following: mock interview, orientation, work experience and online discussion board and assignments.

 

Degree Requirements

Requirements for Graduation from College of Saint Mary

To graduate with a bachelor of science degree in paralegal studies, you need 128 credit hours: 

  • 44 hours in required law courses
  • 18 hours in a minor 
  • 18 hours in supporting courses
  • 48 hours in general education courses and electives

 

To complete the pre-law studies curriculum, you’ll select from four majors: paralegal, humanities, English or business and you will need 128 credit hours comprising, in part:

  • 30 or more credit hours in your chosen major 
  • 17 hours in required law courses
  • 17 hours in a minor
  • 48 hours in general education courses and electives

 

Pre-law courses cannot be used as a concentration area for business administration majors or as credit for a paralegal certificate.