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programs: paralegal studies

Program Director:
Robyn Ice
(504) 247-1361


about paralegal studies

The Paralegal Studies Program at Tulane University’s School of Continuing Studies is a college credit program, established in 1979. The Program was first granted approval by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1981 and is the oldest approved program in this region. The School of Continuing Studies offers Bachelors and Associate of Arts degrees in Paralegal Studies, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate of Paralegal Studies. A minor in Paralegal Studies is also available, but is not accredited by the ABA.

What is a paralegal? According to the American Bar Association, a paralegal is:

“…a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

Paralegals are not lawyers and do not practice law. Under the supervision of attorneys, paralegals work in large and small law firms, courts, banks, corporations, legislative offices, administrative agencies, non-profit advocacy organizations, and other legal services providers.

Tulane’s Paralegal Studies Program prepares our students to become efficient, effective, and ethical professional paralegals. Our program encourages diversity in our student body and faculty, and we are committed to equal opportunity in our placement program. Our dedicated adjunct faculty members work hard to ensure that our graduates are prepared to succeed in today’s competitive legal employment arena. In the Paralegal Practicum course, taken during the last semester of study, each student may acquire valuable hands-on paralegal experience by working as an intern in a law office.

Upon successful completion of the Paralegal Studies Program, our graduates are able to:

  1. Enjoy the benefits of a comprehensive college education, with proficiency in writing, formal thought, and oral communications; and exposure to a variety of disciples, including the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and critical thinking.
  2. Perform factual investigations and legal research, using both traditional and computer-based methods.
  3. Understand not only the state and federal civil, criminal, and administrative court systems at the trial and appellate levels, but also alternative dispute resolution methods.
  4. Analyze factual situations, follow applicable legal procedures, and draft the legal documents necessary for state and federal practice.
  5. Make effective use of the varied and ever-evolving computer software products that law offices typically employ to assist in litigation support, legal research, case management, and other functions.
  6. Categorize and organize documents, categorize documents for discovery and trial, manage office calendars and dockets, prepare a variety of legal forms, and perform the myriad tasks essential to any successful law office.
  7. Understand and comply with the principles of legal ethics in all matters.
  8. Enjoy and pursue lifelong learning and ongoing professional development.

The Paralegal Studies Program offers job placement assistance, maintaining a job bank and a ListServ to connect students and alumni with new openings. At the paralegal lending library on the Elmwood Campus, students may borrow books on a variety of topics, ranging from job search skills and career development to substantive areas of law. Students may earn a Certificate in Paralegal Studies by completing (1) a Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies; (2) an Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies; or (3) a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies (open to students who already hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited institution).

Students also may pursue a minor in Paralegal Studies, but must be aware that, unlike the as noted above, this degree program is not approved by the ABA. Further, students who minor in Paralegal Studies do not receive a Certificate of Paralegal Studies upon completion of the requirements.

It is not only required, but also important that all students acquire a solid grounding in general education courses before enrolling in paralegal coursework. Before enrolling in any Paralegal Studies course, each student must complete a first-year English composition course (ENGL 1010 at Tulane or an approved equivalent from another institution that meets Tulane’s criteria for credit transfers). Paralegal Studies majors with no previous college coursework take general education courses during their first semester of studies.

Before registering for classes, each new student must meet with the Paralegal Studies adviser to discuss Program requirements, course prerequisites and sequencing, and other issues relevant to academic progress and success.

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Tulane University School of Continuing Studies 6823 St. Charles Ave.New Orleans, LA 70118504-865-5555