The top ten traditional Paralegal Degree Programs for 2015 in the US all offer exceptional quality and diversity to students in terms of curriculum, professors, college or university resources, advanced career counseling and job placement for graduates. Each degree program and traditional college level institution represented provides unique advantages and opportunities to students. However, the same basic categories were used to evaluate all brick and mortar schools to compare and rate programs.
Top Ten College and University Degree Programs in Traditional Paralegal Studies for 2015
Each institution of higher learning was evaluated according to the degree to which it exhibited the following rating category qualities:
- State-of-the-art teaching facilities and technology
- Modern, well-designed infrastructure
- Highly educated, experienced faculty
- Quality classroom and learning experience
- Awards and recognition received
The Paralegal Degree Program at Georgetown University is respected for offering a comprehensive, challenging curriculum of excellence. First established in 1973, this academic program gained accreditation in 1977 has has maintained this status since then. This tradition college education and detailed degree program can be completed within one year structured as three semesters of fifteen weeks each. It offers daytime, evening and summer courses of study to accommodate students with existing jobs and careers. The essential goal of this paralegal program is to fully instruct each student in the primary foundation and elements of the law while teaching the skills of critical thought and conclusive decision-making within the boundaries of paralegal work.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – The Georgetown campus is known for the historic significance and stately elegance of its major buildings. It is also acclaimed for its devotion to the use of advanced equipment, communications and technology to maintain its educational core reputation and national rating as ultimate top-quality. The Paralegal Degree Program is no exception to this high rating. Students of its extensive yet compact curriculum are encouraged to excel, graduating as professionals prepared to accomplish greatness in their careers to the continual benefit of others. The close-knit departmental network environment and expert assistance provided for students is exceptional. It simplifies such essential steps as obtaining tuition funding when needed. It also lends excellent support to students seeking outstanding traditional degree program completion for careers as paralegals.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – The modern structure of the Paralegal Degree Program and Georgetown’s general policy of smooth departmental operations greatly benefit the students. As a brick and mortar schools example, Georgetown gains a consistently high quality rating for its well-designed infrastructure. In addition, advanced campus communications and the friendly, open interaction of administrative staff, faculty and students provide an excellent structure and venue for a superior learning environment.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – Faculty members of the Georgetown Paralegal Degree Program are all highly educated, accomplished and honored. Many professors also hold governmental appointments or corporate advisory positions in the Washington, DC, area and elsewhere.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – Modern, well-equipped lecture halls, seminar rooms and library facilities enable students to learn in the best educational environment for a tradition college education. The latest digital technology and equipment are available for student and faculty use, and a major course in the paralegal curriculum is Legal Technology. Students can focus on many different areas of paralegal studies, including administrative law, international law and real estate law.
• Awards and Recognition Received – The paralegal program at Georgetown is given high recognition and approval from the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and the International Paralegal Manager’s Association (IPMA) for excellence in training and career preparation. The Georgetown Paralegal Studies Program received two outstanding awards in 2013 from the National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA), the association’s Paralegal Program Excellence Award and the 2013 President’s List Certificate. Many U.S. military veterans pursue paralegal training and careers in the traditional degree program, and the U.S. News & World Report 2015 ranking of Best Colleges for Veterans places Georgetown University at the top of the list.
The highly praised and accredited professional Paralegal Degree Program at the University of Cincinnati offers students both major and minor degree curricula. Students can graduate with one of three degree credential types: a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree or a professional certificate. The rigorous paralegal course of study is extensive, preparing participants for both acceptance into law school and quality employment opportunities with top law firms. Applicants for this academic program have GPA scores ranging from 3.0 to 3.6 and above, and most ranked in the highest grade percentage averages of their high school graduating classes. The university’s College of Criminal Justice is dedicated to highest principles of discovery and quality in research, training and community service related to real world situations, causes and challenges. Creating positive social advancement for beneficial impact is a major goal.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – The modern, well-equipped buildings and classrooms of the university provide the facilities and atmosphere conducive to learning detailed professional studies such as the paralegal curriculum. Course material focuses on teaching students excellent analytical, communicative and technological techniques and skills necessary for quality paralegal work. Legal research and writing along with client interviewing are emphasized, with plenty of opportunities for practical experience included. All students gain expert usage of the latest digital technology, preparing them for future careers in major law firms, financial institutions, public agencies, government offices and many other areas of paralegal employment.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – The University of Cincinnati’s Paralegal Degree Program is strongly supported and enhanced by other offices and divisions of the College of Criminal Justice. These other divisions include the office of the dean, the development office, and the office of grants and contracts. They all work together to provide a strongly cohesive, healthy infrastructure supporting each academic program. In addition, all factions of the paralegal studies department promote innovation, collaboration, diversity and leadership within the curriculum to best develop each student’s potential for pursuing a professional paralegal career. This infrastructure is much more advanced than that of many brick and mortar schools.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – Faculty in Cincinnati’s Paralegal Degree Program are all experienced attorneys who provide expert legal instruction. These professors earned their law degrees at many of the finest law schools in the country. With hands-on training, they skillfully guide students to success in diverse legal practices and courses. Subject matter covered includes legal research, legal language usage, legal ethics, litigation practices and business organization. At the conclusion of this intense training program, each student is prepared to undertake a paralegal internship.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – In spacious, comfortable lecture theaters and classrooms with updated digital technology as needed, students learn the skills of managing client files, drafting legal documents, performing legal research, analyzing legal data, and interacting with clients. They master different areas of paralegal work while involved in a traditional degree program, including real estate, probate, family law, bankruptcy and intellectual property.
• Awards and Recognition Received – The Paralegal Degree Program of the University of Cincinnati has attained the highest ratings for productivity achieved in legal research on numerous academic listings. It is currently honored with a ranking from U.S. News & World Report in the top three programs of its type in the nation.
This extensive Paralegal Degree Program at LSU provides future paralegals with a flexible course of study. It can be completed in as little as 12 months or take as long as 30 months, depending on each student’s personal schedule and situation. This LSU paralegal training is the only non-credit program of its kind in Louisiana now certified by the American Bar Association. The curriculum is specifically structured for adults currently in the workforce, unlike many traditional degree program designs, and classes are offered in the evening. Most students in this paralegal program have obtained a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university, although BA degrees are not required to qualify for this program. However, students who receive admittance have no fewer than 45 college credits and a grade point average of 2.3 or above.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – All courses included in LSU’s Paralegal Degree Program are taught on the attractive, friendly Baton Rouge campus. As Louisiana’s largest modern university, LSU offers students the benefits of the latest updated digital equipment and learning technology. Students have full use of the LSU Law Library as well as the LSU Middleton Library. Residential housing is convenient, modern and comfortable, and the campus includes a comprehensive student health center with the latest in advanced medical technology.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – The carefully designed and coordinated infrastructure of LSU’s Paralegal Degree Program supports constant and close communications and collaboration among all areas of the teaching facility and academic program. Students can benefit from the convenience of evening classes, and all professors and instructors teach courses in their specific areas of professional legal experience. LSU’s wide range of educational resources enables students to attain expertise in legal research, communications, digital technology and investigative techniques. Paralegal graduates possessing quality skills in these areas will be in top demand in the legal industry after completing this innovative, but traditional degree program.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – All professors and instructors are professional attorneys, judges or paralegals with wide practical legal experience. They have also taught extensively and worked with many ages and types of paralegals. Classes are small with excellent faculty-student interaction, and all areas of paralegal studies and career options are covered by the faculty.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – Classes are small and the atmosphere is very personable at this fine example of brick and mortar schools. Students can choose to complete the program within one year or in up to 30 months of study. During the final semester of classes, each student will be assigned to an internship in a law firm in the city, a local corporate office or a government agency. Every paralegal student is required to successfully complete eight academic courses plus an internship of 150 hours, a legal ethics study seminar and court day. The majority of classes are in the evening, and no weekend or online classes are offered.
• Awards and Recognition Received – According to an LSU news report on April 10, 2013, LSU’s Continuing Education division received an award of one million dollars from the Bernard Osher Foundation in support of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at LSU. One of the courses noted for its ongoing excellence was a paralegal program course, The Criminal Justice System.
The Villanova Paralegal Degree Program is a well-respected certificate program approved by the American Bar Association. As a degree program in the department of professional studies on the university’s scenic, prestigious campus in Villanova, PA, it offers students the choice of either the full-time day session or part-time evening schedule. While the full-time curriculum can be completed in only 16 weeks, the part-time evening session is a one-year course of study. For admission, students are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree from a college or university that is accredited and submit a compelling essay describing their career goals. Students are permitted to apply for evening program admission beginning in any term of the year—fall, winter, spring and summer, unlike the structure of a traditional degree program. This Evening Paralegal Certificate Program has been an active and popular course of study since 1983 at Villanova.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – The objective of the Villanova University non-credit Paralegal Degree Program is to assure each student of receiving superior quality training that will prepare him or her for an outstanding professional career. Classes are conducted at the attractive and well-equipped Villanova main campus and conference center and at other convenient locations throughout the beautiful Delaware Valley. Advanced digital communications and computerized systems facilitate top-tier lectures, conferences, forums and small group study groups to best teach and develop star students, preparing them for careers at major law firms, businesses and organizations.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – All educational and administrative offices and divisions of Villanova and the Continuing Education Unit for Paralegal Studies work closely together to best promote strong educational and professional development for students. Paralegals need excellent computer skills along with superb client interviewing skills as part of a tradition college education. They must also have expertise in document preparation and reviewing, research and data analysis. All of these skill areas are emphasized and developed by the paralegal curriculum and individual faculty advisor counseling for students.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – All faculty members in the Paralegal Studies Program are well-educated, experienced lawyers and other legal professionals. Many professors and instructors have won national and international acclaim for their contributions to the legal profession and industry. Many hold advisory positions with major local and countrywide organizations and companies. Many of the faculty also participate in the university’s online working partnership with University Alliance to offer Internet-based courses and webinars.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – All paralegal students must take three core courses: Legal Research and Litigation, Basic Legal Principles/Contracts, and an Ethics Seminar along with computer skills classes and five additional elective classes. The curriculum, lectures and small classes provide extensive training in all areas of professional paralegal skills and procedures necessary for success in the legal workforce today. Decision-making abilities are strengthened, and students are taught with individualized attention in a highly supportive, positive educational and multicultural environment.
• Awards and Recognition Received – According to a recent Villanova press release, the university’s professional studies programs were honored by inclusion in the Corporation for National & Community Service’s 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. In addition, Villanova University was awarded 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
This attractive, friendly modern brick and mortar schools example in Tiffin, OH, places the needs of students before anything else. The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies at Tiffin has been accredited by the Ohio Board of Regents and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Students are carefully interviewed before admission and guided throughout their degree programs in their talents and strengths as relative to their studies and future paralegal careers.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – Tiffin University’s Paralegal Degree Program incorporates the latest in digital technology and equipment for providing students with finest quality course materials and instruction on their way to professional paralegal employment. Today, legal personnel of all types must be well prepared to function at high levels of competence and excellence in all areas of business, law, finance, healthcare, government and education. They must be well-trained in many different areas of legal work to best assist attorneys and other legal staff members in skillfully handling legal assignments of many varied types. Tiffin offers excellent paralegal instruction in an attractive campus setting to best prepare graduating paralegals for the modern workplace.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – Tiffin’s administrative, academic, IT and general operational infrastructure is designed to function both as separate entities and as a single body, according to the many varied needs of a modern, advanced teaching environment. Each area, division and office of the university can lend assistance to other areas when needed, and all departments and divisions join in making major decisions concerning university programs and activities for this traditional degree program.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – The expert faculty of Tiffin’s paralegal study courses are all very experienced in their areas of legal training and specialty. Many have experience in international law and have gained both national and global acclaim.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – Tiffin offers an ideal academic environment and learning experience. The paralegal lectures, conferences and classes are held in modern, spacious and well-equipped interiors, and faculty members are always available to advise and counsel students concerning their academic and career goals and pursuits.
• Awards and recognition received – Tiffin University’s Internet-based BA Program in Paralegal Studies was recently ranked as the fifth best online program of its type in the United States today by the Open Education Database (OEDB).
The Paralegal Studies Program offered by the University of San Diego is highly rated among west coast professional studies curricula and traditional degree program choices. With approval and accreditation from the American Bar Association, this paralegal program provides students with world-class study facilities and course material during both daytime and evening classes. Students master courses concerning the entire spectrum of the U.S. legal system. Focused areas of study that are emphasized include legal research, intellectual property and litigation. To qualify for admittance to the program, students must have earned a BA degree from an accredited college or university or be an undergraduate at the university having no less than 70 semester credits.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – In order to be prepared to work in the many diverse areas of commercial enterprise and corporate business today, paralegals entering the job market must have excellent digital technology skills. They must also possess expert knowledge in their areas of focused paralegal studies. The University of San Diego in California offers students the ultimate in specialized professional knowledge and legal procedures to assume important paralegal careers throughout such industries as banking, finance, pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution, healthcare and computer technology. Classes are taught in an attractive, highly focused, but calm and encouraging campus atmosphere in the city’s scenic Bay Area.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – The administrative and educational staff of the Paralegal Studies Program at San Diego University combine their areas of expertise to guide, encourage and support students in achieving high goals toward completing their degrees and starting rewarding careers in the legal industry. Ongoing counseling and advice concerning course and career focus at brick and mortar schools, achieving high skill levels and obtaining financial assistance when needed, are all available services for students.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – The excellent faculty offer collective experience and teaching expertise in such areas of legal practice as business and civil litigation, healthcare, finance, corporate management, non-profit and government. Many attorneys on the faculty are excellent corporate or trial lawyers with years of legal experience concerning diverse areas of legal practice. As top-tier lecturers and instructors, they also provide paralegal students with valuable knowledge and insight relative to their future work with attorneys in legal settings. Classes range from large lectures to small conferences and one-on-one student-faculty meetings. Numerous faculty members have won recognition both nationally and internationally for their legal accomplishments.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – San Diego’s paralegal curriculum is structured with thorough understanding that a fine quality education is essential to locating and succeeding in a professional paralegal job position. Paralegal jobs are often advertised as employment for legal assistants or lawyers’ assistants in many diverse areas of the legal industry. This top-quality curriculum fully prepares graduates to assist attorneys in providing legal services to all types of public and private sector offices and enterprises. Although the study program’s knowledge base and learning curve are progressively extensive and steep for a tradition college education, students benefit from well-focused, innovative and encouraging classroom and learning techniques and experiences during this advanced modern course of legal studies.
• Awards and Recognition Received – 2014 rankings for university legal studies programs by U.S. News & World Report place the University of San Diego as number 79 among the leading institutions of higher learning with paralegal programs in the country.
The University of Memphis in Memphis, TN, offers paralegal applicants a full four-year Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree focused on a paralegal curriculum. When completing this degree program, students graduate with both general education requirements satisfied and a concentrated knowledge base in paralegal studies. Written communications skills are emphasized along with elective courses that are related to the legal field. Philosophy, history and ethics classes are also included in the program. The university understands the value of equipping students in the comprehensive paralegal studies program with liberal arts training as well.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – In today’s busy law firms, attorneys rely on well-trained paralegal staff members to increase their productivity and time-efficiency levels. Paralegal skills are now crucial to the success of many legal offices in many diverse settings—state and federal courts, healthcare facilities, educational institutions and non-profit groups. Because business of all types depend on employees with top quality digital technology skills and proficiency, the University of Memphis stresses training in advanced communications and use of computerized equipment as well as portable digital devices. The campus, like many modern brick and mortar schools, offers students a detailed, well-focused course of study in a highly supportive and student-friendly atmosphere.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – This university encourages all students enrolled in the University College programs for professional studies to consider their education as a path to self-discovery. Although the Paralegal Degree Program requires completion of both paralegal and liberal arts courses, students can take interdisciplinary elective courses to enrich their campus experience. The university is also very supportive of allowing students to count certain types of experiential learning through life and work experiences as credits toward graduation. All areas of the academic and administrative infrastructure support this philosophy.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – Many faculty members at the University of Memphis have had very colorful and diverse careers in the legal industry. Many have taught and lectured throughout the country and internationally, and some engaged in legal studies abroad earlier in their careers as lawyers, judges and paralegal staff.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – Students participating in the Paralegal Studies Program graduate with a BPS degree from this traditional degree program. They have mastered the core curriculum focused on the four interrelated legal skills of theory, process, legal application and legal ethics. These paralegal graduates are very proficient in legal research, interviewing, investigation and communication with excellent use of digital technology. Their academic experience has been diverse, enriching, empowering and very career-oriented in an attractive, extremely supportive campus environment.
• Awards and Recognition Received – The University of Memphis is currently ranked number 219 among U.S. research universities and number 557 among America’s Top Colleges by Forbes Magazine.
Kaplan is among the largest online universities with accreditation in the world. It enrolls thousands of students annually, offering a choice of several different courses of study leading to a professional paralegal degree. Paralegal Degree Programs available are a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science, an Associate of Applied Science and a Legal Secretary Certificate. All programs emphasize the practical use of legal knowledge and processes as a paralegal professional. All graduates receive job counseling and placement services.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – As one of the largest online legal education universities in the United States, Kaplan University has enabled thousands of paralegal program students to earn professional degrees and go on to achieve success as working paralegals. Kaplan’s paralegal training program is part of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences of Kaplan’s Concord Law School as a virtual (online) example of brick and mortar schools. The curriculum is current, the advanced online technology is constantly updated and each online course is monitored regularly to ensure excellent quality. Classes engage students and require Web-based interaction, bringing the online classroom presentation to life as a vital teaching method.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – All areas of Kaplan’s online degree programs are structured to engage, instruct and benefit students as they pursue their educational and career goals. Online and telephone support are always available for any technical issues with online classrooms, webinars and forums. All students have faculty advisors and can also schedule online conferences or telephone calls with paralegal professors or instructors.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – Kaplan’s legal courses are comprehensive and detailed. All educators are attorneys and other legal professionals who teach real-world experience and knowledge. The paralegal studies are practical and constantly being refined and enhanced from their earlier traditional degree program design. This online university and its faculty members are always seeking new methods for providing an improved professional education experience for students.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – Kaplan University’s online classrooms are known for their excellent quality, advanced curricula and fine presentation by the highly educated and accomplished teaching faculty. There is constant interaction between teachers and students, and course material is carefully structured to suit each degree program’s educational requirements, preparing graduates for highly successful careers.
• Awards and recognition received – Kaplan University’s online bachelor’s degree programs, including paralegal studies, have been ranked among the country’s best for the second consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report.
Students of Keiser University’s Associate’s Degree in the paralegal professional program can study at the Fort Lauderdale, FL, campus or online. Paralegal students can focus on such areas of the legal industry as corporate law, law enforcement, criminal law or private law. All student applications for Keiser’s traditional degree programs must be submitted online, and requests for financial assistance can also be submitted via the Keiser University website. The university’s focus in on practical use of the law and its processes.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – Paralegal program students enrolled in online courses, attending classes at Keiser’s main campus in Ft. Lauderdale or studying at one of the university’s other Florida campuses, all benefit from advanced technology use for teaching in a friendly, encouraging environment.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – All administrators, educators and IT professionals work closely together for seamless coordination of online and offline course material and educational presentations. Some students attending campus-based classes also attend some online classes, webinars and forums to meet program requirements.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – All Keiser professors and instructors in the Paralegal Studies Program are experienced and knowledgeable attorneys and paralegals who also are experienced teachers. The university’s Associate of Arts Degree for paralegals offers fine preparation for future paralegals assisting attorneys with legal research, litigation, estate settlements, document writing and the compiling of data. The faculty members lead students in communicating effectively and using their analytical and technical abilities. Good understanding and use of digital technology is also required of all graduating students from this modern virtual tradition college education.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – Streamlined, clear presentation of detailed course material is a specialty of classes offered both on and offline by the Keiser paralegal program faculty. Students learn in a highly focused yet calm and appealing study atmosphere.
• Awards and Recognition Received – The Pro Bono Committee of the South Miami Kendall Bar Association recently announced their enthusiasm and praise for Keiser University’s Paralegal Studies Program at the Kendall campus for Keiser’s practice of assigning students to assist members of the Bar with pro bono legal cases.
This virtual brick and mortar schools example offers an online Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies. This study program is flexible and designed to benefit applicants who are currently in the workforce with busy work schedules. The paralegal curriculum is structured to give students a professional understanding of all aspects of paralegal skills and procedures to prepare them to step right into the legal industry following graduation. Legal practice areas included in course material are many and varied, and there is an externship included in the program to give students valuable working experience before they graduate.
• State-of-the-Art Teaching Facilities and Technology – As an online university offering comprehensive legal studies programs, Everest University is constantly implementing the latest digital computer technology and techniques to best present advanced paralegal study courses. Through concise, well-designed presentations, webinars and online classroom discussions involving students and faculty, this modern online university offers a consistently high quality paralegal curriculum.
• Modern, Well-Designed Infrastructure – All members of the administrative, academic and IT divisions of this busy, dedicated online university coordinate their skills, knowledge and efforts for the purpose of offering an outstanding degree program for students of paralegal and other legal studies.
• Highly Educated, Experienced Faculty – All faculty members are lawyers, paralegals or other legal professionals with varied experience. As teachers, they are well-trained and highly experienced as both online and offline classroom instructors and advisors.
• Quality Classroom and Learning Experience – Everest students benefit from well-organized legal course curricula and instruction. The learning environment is professional, but also friendly and appealing. All students in online classrooms, e-conferences, Web-based forums and study groups are encouraged to achieve to their highest potential in paralegal studies.
• Awards and Recognition Received – The Student Ambassadors Program at Everest recently received an “Export Achievement Certificate” from the U.S. Department of Commerce for assisting in all areas of commercial efforts. One function of these student ambassadors is tutoring other students in all academic programs offered by Everest, including the Paralegal Studies Program.
The top ten traditional paralegal degree programs for 2015 are offered by colleges and universities with varied educational principles and goals for graduates. However, they all emphasize the vital importance of students gaining academic excellence and practical skills that will enable them to have highly successful careers as accomplished professional paralegals in today’s modern workforce.