Paralegal Studies

Associate's Degree in Paralegal Studies

Learn more about this degree

Suffolk's Associate's degree in Paralegal Studies meets the rigorous standards established by the American Bar Association.

Degree Requirements: 8 courses, 32 credits

Required Courses (5 courses, 20 credits)

Credits:

4

Description:

Introduces the student to the responsibilities of paralegals and to the culture of the legal profession. Topics include the development of paralegalism as a profession, the definition of the practice of law, ethical considerations, interviewing techniques, legal research, law office management, and client relationships. Normally offered each semester.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

The Rules of Civil Procedure dictate the steps taken in state and federal lawsuits. This course will acquaint students with rules and the practical requirements of the rules, from filing a complaint to clarifying a judgment and to the duties of paralegals in a litigation office. Normally offered each semester.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

The existence and validity of a contract is determined by specific rules. Students will learn about formation through offer and acceptance, contract enforceability, the necessity of consideration, and breach of contract and will draft contract provisions as a paralegal might in a law office. Normally offered each semester. Sophomore status required.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

How to use the law library, perform legal research, write legal analysis in memorandum form, and use computers as a research tool. Initial focus is on learning how to find legal materials, including federal and state case law, statutory law, and administrative law. Use of finding tools such as digests, encyclopedias, and CALR will be studied, as will shepardizing. Focus also on legal writing, from letters through case analysis. Normally offered fall semester. Sophomore Status Required

Prerequisites:

ALS-361 OR LAWU-301

Credits:

4

Description:

Building on the skills in LAW 301 - Legal Research & Writing I, this course continues the focus on learning how to find legal materials and how to summarize research results. Writing skills will be strengthened through various exercises and revisions. Skill development in legal analysis, writing legal memoranda, and using computer assisted legal research with Westlaw and Lexis will be emphasized.

Electives (3 courses, 12 credits)

At least one elective course must be a legal specialty class. For a list of electives, see the list under "Law Major Requirements." Students may choose LAWU-521, Paralegal Internship, as an elective. 

For a list of legal specialty classes, see the Legal Specialty Classes section. 

Note: Transfer students working toward an associate’s degree must take four LAWU courses at Suffolk.

Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Learn more about this certificate

Suffolk's Certificate in Paralegal Studies meets the rigorous standards established by the American Bar Association.

Certificate Requirements: 6 courses, 24 credits

Students should note that only the classes listed below may count toward the Certificate because of American Bar Association "legal specialty" requirements. Certificate students must achieve a GPA of at least 2.0 in their LAWU classes in order to receive a certificate.

Undergraduate Suffolk University students must apply to receive a Paralegal Certificate. Applications for the Paralegal Certificate must be completed during the first semester of the Senior year. The application may be completed online through Undergraduate Admissions. Suffolk University students may take courses toward the certificate prior to entry into the program. Please note that students who are enrolled in the Bachelor's Degree in Applied Legal Studies or Bachelor's Degree in Law programs are not eligible to receive the Paralegal Certificate.

It is strongly advised that students interested in the Paralegal Certificate see a Law program advisor as early as possible to plan accordingly.

Required Courses (5 courses, 20 credits)

Credits:

4

Description:

Introduces the student to the responsibilities of paralegals and to the culture of the legal profession. Topics include the development of paralegalism as a profession, the definition of the practice of law, ethical considerations, interviewing techniques, legal research, law office management, and client relationships. Normally offered each semester.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

The Rules of Civil Procedure dictate the steps taken in state and federal lawsuits. This course will acquaint students with rules and the practical requirements of the rules, from filing a complaint to clarifying a judgment and to the duties of paralegals in a litigation office. Normally offered each semester.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

The existence and validity of a contract is determined by specific rules. Students will learn about formation through offer and acceptance, contract enforceability, the necessity of consideration, and breach of contract and will draft contract provisions as a paralegal might in a law office. Normally offered each semester. Sophomore status required.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

How to use the law library, perform legal research, write legal analysis in memorandum form, and use computers as a research tool. Initial focus is on learning how to find legal materials, including federal and state case law, statutory law, and administrative law. Use of finding tools such as digests, encyclopedias, and CALR will be studied, as will shepardizing. Focus also on legal writing, from letters through case analysis. Normally offered fall semester. Sophomore Status Required

Prerequisites:

ALS-361 OR LAWU-301

Credits:

4

Description:

Building on the skills in LAW 301 - Legal Research & Writing I, this course continues the focus on learning how to find legal materials and how to summarize research results. Writing skills will be strengthened through various exercises and revisions. Skill development in legal analysis, writing legal memoranda, and using computer assisted legal research with Westlaw and Lexis will be emphasized.

Elective (1 course, 4 credits)

Choose one of the following:

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

The role of computers and software in the law office as it affects the paralegal Lectures and hands-on applications will focus on the changing technology of computer hardware through fact scenarios that students will use to track changes from introduction to resolution in litigation. Focus on software applications involving word processing, spreadsheets, billing, diary and scheduling, research, and use of the Internet.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

An opportunity to learn the history of domestic violence including battering, child abuse and child neglect, and the legal response to it. Focus will be on Massachusetts Law and its response, especially the Abuse Prevention Act, its application and enforcement, and on laws protecting children from abuse and neglect. Filings, law office issues and special issues in dealing with battered women and abused and neglected children will be included with the psychological issues, cultural issues, and advocacy possibilities. Normally offered yearly. Sophomore status required. Cultural Diversity A

Prerequisites:

Take LAWU-101

Credits:

4

Description:

State laws affect the disposition of an individual's estate at death, and upon death, the estate must be probated in court. Focus on estate information gathering, drafting of wills, and the probate of estates for those with and without wills. Emphasis on the role of the paralegal in a law office handling wills and probate.

Prerequisites:

Take LAWU-101

Credits:

4

Description:

This course will present common law real estate principles and the effect of federal agencies on the buying and selling of real property. Sample forms including leases, purchase and sale agreements, and closing forms are reviewed and drafted.

Prerequisites:

Take LAWU-101

Credits:

4

Description:

Family law includes marriage, divorce, support, custody, property division, and abuse prevention petitions. Essentially an area of state law, it is often the backbone of general practice law firms. The role of paralegals in a family law office will be studied.

Prerequisites:

Take LAWU-101

Credits:

4

Description:

This course provides a basic overview of key issues in contemporary education law and policy. Relevant local, state, and federal laws will be reviewed as well as education policy issues, including civil rights, student safety and discipline. This course covers the core educational entitlements granted to all students with disabilities in the public education system. The course covers major federal legislation such as the IDEA, ADA and Section 504, as well as major Supreme Court and other important cases.

Prerequisites:

Take LAWU-101

Credits:

4

Description:

A survey of the law of the protection of ideas, trade secrets, inventions, artistic creations, and reputation. The course will briefly review the bases for patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection, the distinction among the various forms of intellectual property, and the statutory and common law methods of enforcing rights.

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

"Corporations are unique business entities and specialized ""citizens"" of the state. This course will examine the special rules for establishing and maintaining a corporation\"

Prerequisites:

Take LAWU-101

Credits:

4

Description:

The nature of the employment relationship and and overview of constitutional and federal statutory provisions which affect the employment relationship will be studied. Particular emphasis on the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Statutory provisions regarding benefits and employment-related entitlements will also be studied

Prerequisites:

Certificate or Sophomore status, or Instructor's consent

Credits:

4

Description:

Study of the immigration and nationality laws of the United States focusing on the interplay of the administrative agencies which administer those laws: Justice Department, Labor Department, and State Department. Topics include the immigrant selection system; the issuance of non-immigrant visas; grounds for excluding aliens and waiver of excludability; grounds for removal; change of status, and refugee and asylum status. Special emphasis on the paralegal's role in representing and communicating sensitively with aliens.

Prerequisites:

Take LAWU-101

Credits:

4

Description:

With the globalization of the world economy, legal professional and business people require knowledge of international law more than ever. This course offers students a survey of selected materials in public international law. Covered will be the practical and theoretical issues of international law, from the Law of the Sea to business implications to definitions of war and international concepts of justice.

Prerequisites:

ALS 362 or LAWU 211, or permission of instructor

Credits:

4

Description:

Building on the skills introduced in LAW 211, Litigation, this course will provide a thorough study of the rules of evidence, the process of discovery, and the preparation of a case for a trial, as well as the roles of arbitration, mediation, and negotiation in litigation and other legal disputes. Theory will be combined with practical applications for prospective paralegals, such as deposition abstracting, gathering and preserving evidence, and techniques on how to prepare a case for ADR.

Prerequisites:

Paralegal Certificate or Senior standing and at least 15 hours of paralegal courses.

Credits:

4

Description:

A one-semester internship in either a law office, a governmental agency, insurance company, or a for-profit or non-profit corporation, depending on the positions available during each semester. Once a week seminars will discuss such topics as ethical considerations in a law office, experiences gained as a paralegal interns, and seeking paralegal employment. Prerequisites: Senior status and at least 15 hours of Paralegal Studies or permission of instructor.