When a legal matter emerges, an entire team of legal professionals is assembled to resolve a matter whether it's a lawsuit, an estate matter, or a driving violation. A key part of any legal team is the paralegal. Paralegals are professionals who have specialized legal training and perform a wide array of legal services on behalf of a lead attorney, such as investigating cases, interviewing witnesses, drafting legal documents, assisting in trial preparation, and accompanying the attorney to court or depositions (where parties give testimony). Whether you are filing documents in court, listening to testimony, or performing legal research, there are many different roles for a paralegal.*
Paralegals take specialized law courses that prepare them for the practical aspects of supporting attorneys in legal matters. Courses include legal topics such as:
- Criminal law
- Family law
- Real property law
- Intellectual property law
- Bankruptcy law
- Legal research and writing
In addition, all paralegal students have the opportunity to perform an internship in which they do legal work under the direct supervision of a practicing attorney. For those interested in additional hands-on experience, you may work with our refugee program to provide legal support to attorneys working for the rights of individuals who are new to this country.
The demand for paralegals has grown, and students who are well-prepared can begin an exciting career immediately. These legal courses can be taken as electives as well for students with other majors who desire to have a unique or more complete set of skills within their fields. Those who wish to go on to graduate school or law school will find themselves well-prepared with hands-on training in specific legal topics and skills.
*Paralegals assist attorneys in legal research, writing, and case investigation. Paralegals cannot provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.