The primary concern of a paralegal education program is to develop professional competence, which requires both general education and legal specialty course work. The Paralegal Studies Certificate (PSC) program will be taught in-person at Catholic University’s Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS). The Paralegal Studies Certificate (PSC) program will be taught in-person at Catholic University’s Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS).  The program is designed for students who already have an undergraduate degree and will consist of a specialized Law curriculum of 13 classes (39 credit hours). Students will focus their legal specialty course work in one of two tracks: General Practice or Litigation Practice. All students will be required to participate in a legal internship during their last year in the program.

MSPS seeks to prepare individuals to function as informed, practical, knowledgeable, and morally alert members of society.  To support this mission, the Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies program will place the pursuit of professional excellence within the context of human, social, and religious values in the law.  Classroom instruction will emphasize applying course material to solve professional and social problems within a legal setting.  Students will be equipped intellectually, morally, and professionally to serve their communities and meet the needs of a future legal employer (e.g., law firms, businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, etc).  Building upon the program’s focus on Catholic values and paralegal skills, students will be expected to meet a wide array of educational objectives rooted in liberal arts and legal education.  Finally, by studying within the nation’s capital and participating in a mandatory internship, Paralegal Studies students will enjoy abundant practical opportunities to implement and apply their theoretical education to real world and current issues within a professional legal setting.

Who Would Most Benefit?

The Paralegal Studies Certificate program is designed for those who possess an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and now wish to pursue an exciting professional career as a skilled paralegal equipped with the knowledge to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of paralegals is projected to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024.[1]

The role of paralegals is vital in the legal industry.  The utilization of paralegals improves the efficiency, economy, and availability of legal services.  As a result, increased emphasis is being placed on hiring paralegals in a variety of law-related settings.  Although private law firms continue to be the single largest employer of paralegals; outstanding job opportunities also exist in private and public sector markets.  In 2015, the median annual salary for a paralegal in the Washington, D.C. area was $77, 230.[2]

Requirements

Aside from the General Education courses listed below, students must also complete nine Law Core courses, a legal internship, and the requirements of the General Practice or Litigation Practice Track (students must complete four out of six electives from their chosen track). Please visit PSC Courses for detailed course requirements.

Law Core Courses (9 courses plus internship)

 

  • MLA 101: Introduction to Paralegal Studies
  • MLA 110: Professional Responsibility and Legal Ethics
  • MLA 201: Legal Research and Writing
  • MLA 211: Civil Procedure
  • MLA 216: Corporations
  • MLA 230: Criminal Law and Procedure
  • MLA 312: Torts
  • MLA 340: Contract Law
  • MLA 494: Paralegal Internship

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm (visited on March 8, 2017).

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates District of Columbia, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_dc.htm (visited on March 8, 2017).

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