The American Bar Association approved baccalaureate program in Legal Studies prepares students to fulfill professional roles as paralegals and in related occupations, as well as to pursue graduate study at law school or in other fields, such as criminal justice or social justice. Grounded in a commitment to liberal education, the program provides students with a solid foundation of knowledge, critical thinking, cultural competency and professional skills that are essential to success in the legal field. The program promotes a respect for diversity, and also seeks to prepare students to make ethically sound and appropriate decisions in response to the challenges presented to them in their professional and personal lives. The program's mission is accomplished through studies which focus on:
1. Mastery of substantive knowledge critical to the legal profession, including principles of legal ethics and legal restrictions on the unauthorized practice of law;
2. Critical thinking skills;
3. Mastery of basic investigative and legal research techniques;
4. Proficiency in oral and written communication;
5. Development of appropriate professional behavior and job-seeking skills.
Paralegals need to be able to think logically and analytically, to present facts and conclusions in a clear, concise manner, to write effectively, to utilize ingenuity during fact-finding, and to exercise good judgment. All of these skills can be nurtured and perfected within the academic environment offered here at Grand Valley State University.