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Paralegal Studies certificate

The paralegal studies certificate prepares students for work as paralegals and for careers in the field of law. This American Bar Association approved program focuses on both theory and practice and is open to current Grand Valley students and students who have completed a bachelor's degree at another institution.

Visit the program website for more information.

Program Overview

Students who have a bachelors degree with a GPA of 2.7 are eligible to apply for the certificate program. Current Grand Valley undergraduate students may earn the paralegal studies certificate with their bachelors degrees.

In addition to the paralegal studies certificate, the Legal Studies program offers bachelor of arts (B.A.) and bachelor of science (B.S.) degrees. Students who complete these degrees will also complete all of the requirements for the paralegal studies certificate. A minor, not approved by the ABA, is also available.

Why Paralegal Studies at Grand Valley?

  • The certificate is approved by the American Bar Association and features a curriculum that provides a strong foundation in writing and critical thinking with an emphasis on professional skills necessary for success in the legal field.
  • The certificate consists of 30 credits and can be completed in a year or less.
  • The program prides itself on the diverse professional experience of its faculty members, most of whom are licensed attorneys, who collectively have many years of experience working in areas of civil and criminal law.
  • The program has an advisory board consisting of attorneys and paralegals representing a broad cross-section of employers. The board plays an important role by giving guidance on matters such as curriculum, internship and employment opportunities, and trends in the legal field.

Helpful Links

For More Information

School of Criminal Justice

gvsu.edu/cj
289C Richard M. DeVos Center
(616) 331-7130

For Gainful Employment Disclosure Information

gvsu.edu/gedt/legal/Gedt.html

Location & Format

Undergraduate students in this program study at Grand Valleys Allendale Campus.

Format: Face To Face

Coursework

  • Substantive law, including contracts, criminal law, torts, property, business law, and family law
  • Oral and written communication
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Investigation and legal research
  • Legal ethics and professionalism

Career Options

The certificate is a stepping stone for law-related work in many areas, including:

  • Insurance companies
  • Government agencies
  • Law firms
  • Courts
  • Corporations
  • Nonprofit organizations

Graduates who work in these fields can play an important role in the delivery of legal services but they are not permitted to practice law. To practice law, graduates must obtain a law school degree and satisfy other state requirements for admission to the bar.