A bachelor’s degree in legal studies is designed to offer students – often existing paralegals (paraprofessionals) or legal assistants with some experience in the field – with an in-depth understanding of the legal system. The program will likely take four years to complete and requires students to take general education courses in addition to required discipline-specific courses. Students a lot of options when it comes to choosing a paralegal degree program. Many schools offer traditional, online, or hybrid-based programs. Online or hybrid programs allow students greater scheduling flexibility, which is especially appealing to those who have family or work obligations.
Some of the classes you can expect to take include:
- Legal Research And Writing
- Civil Litigation
- Contract Law
- Family Law
- Law Office Management
- Rules Of Evidence
- Legal Ethics And Social Responsibility
- Oral Communications
- Report Writing
Both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science study tracks are available for those interested in legal studies, with potential career opportunities upon graduation including advancement (for existing legal professionals) into management or training positions. Most often, however, graduates pursue entry-level paralegal positions at a law firm, corporation, or non-profit organization. Some programs offer students an opportunity to intern while pursuing their degree, which may lead to a job upon graduation or a higher-level paralegal position with more responsibility and compensation.
While schools can help students find internships, it’s always smart to do a little digging yourself too. That’s why we created a list of 30 Sensational Sites to Help You Land the Paralegal Job of Your Dreams. Many of those sites allow you to filter which available paralegal positions appear in your search, allowing you to only see internships or part-time positions designed for those who are continuing their education.
Depending on your long-term professional goals, a bachelor’s degree can prepare you to assume to managerial or supervisory roles. For example, larger firms often need a Paralegal Supervisor to manage a team of paralegals, which can lead to higher pay and other job rewards.
Jobs & Salaries
In a field with relatively high expected job growth or about 28 percent through the end of the current decade, potential jobs available to successful BA or BS candidates include paralegal manager, law office administrator or human resources professional. Recent median annual salary trends for a paralegal in a corporate setting may approach $56,000, while those in legal services can expect to earn about $45,000 (BLS.gov). Here are some potential career fields for graduates:
- Legal assistant
- Claims adjuster
- Law clerk
- Occupational health and safety specialist
- Title examiner or researcher
Upon enrollment in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, students will study such industry-oriented topics as torts, business law, legal research, civil litigation, and legal writing, but will also have the opportunity to obtain valuable business-centric knowledge, through such courses as quantitative decision making, principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics, accounting and finance.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Legal Studies
- Grantham University — BA in Criminal Justice
- Indiana Wesleyan University — BS in Criminal Justice
- Purdue University Global — BS in Legal Support and Services – Paralegal Concentration
- Saint Leo University — BA in Criminal Justice
- South University — BS in Criminal Justice
How to Get Started as a Paralegal
The first step in becoming a paralegal is to find an accredited paralegal studies program. Most paralegals have an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies, while some earn a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in paralegal studies. The following programs fulfill these criteria and might make excellent options:
Miller-Motte Technical College
Southern Technical College