Choose from Live Lecture or Online Study

Photo of professionalsThis intensive, nationally acclaimed program is designed for beginning as well as advanced legal workers. Training includes instruction on how to assist trial attorneys, interview witnesses, investigate complex fact patterns, research the law and assist in preparing cases for courtroom litigation. The instruction is practice oriented and relates to those areas of the law in which paralegal are most in demand. The Paralegal Certificate Course offers instruction on how to work as a full-time or part-time paralegal, or how to open you own freelance business. There are no prerequisites other than a high school diploma (or GED), but students must be prepared to complete a significant amount of homework each week. This program can help students increase their office's efficiency, productivity and billable hours as well as learn new marketable job skills.


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Formats, Fees and Materials

Live lecture course:  

Fall 2015 session – Sept. 21-Oct. 31
6 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday for six weeks. 

Online course:  A new class begins every eight weeks.

The online course is completed in two seven-week sessions and both sessions must be successfully completed in order to receive a certificate. Students may begin their course study with any online session offered.

Session 5 - Aug. 24 - Oct. 9
Session 6 - Oct. 19 - Dec. 4

Session 1 - Jan 11 - Feb. 26
Session 2 - Mar 7 - Apr. 22
Session 3 - May 2 - June 17
Session 4 - June 27 - Aug. 12

Tuition: $1,289 (Tuition does not include textbooks or WESTLAW legal research access).

Topics of Study

Students will be trained to interview witnesses, investigate complex fact patterns, research the law, prepare legal documents and assist in preparing cases for courtroom litigation. The instruction is practice-oriented and relates to those areas of law in which paralegals are in most demand.

Live Lecture:

Session 1: "Legal Terminology, Documents, Ethics, and the Litigation Process": This first session focuses on the history of American jurisprudence, the theory of law, the legal process, and the nature of litigation. Discussion will cover pre-trial, trial and post-trial procedures as well as an in depth coverage of legal ethics. At the end of the first session of class, students will know how to prepare a Complaint/Petition, Answer, Third Party Complaint/Petition, and Motion for Summary Judgment.

Session 2: "Introduction to the Evidentiary Predicate": This session covers the rules of evidence and civil procedure. Basic interviewing and investigation techniques and the development and use of demonstrative evidence will also be explained. At the end of the second session of class, students will prepare discovery matter such as Interrogatories, Request for Admissions and Request for Production of Documents.

Session 3: "Identifying Relevant Authority": During this session, students will learn how to identify relevant law, determine the differences between primary and secondary authority, and between mandatory and persuasive authority, and learn how to find and apply authority to hypothetical factual situations.

Session 4: "Introduction to Legal Research": Students will learn research techniques for use in legal memoranda, motions, and briefs. Primary and secondary source materials will be discussed, and a concise approach to legal research will be developed.

Session 5: "Legal Research Practice": Legal research skills will be applied this session with emphasis on shepardizing statutes and case law and learning to use computerized legal research terminals. Numerous research assignments will be given, discussed and critiqued. The West Key Number System® will be learned thoroughly.

Session 6: "Legal Writing and Appellate Procedure": This final session will concentrate on the preparation and critique of legal memoranda, including an Interoffice Memorandum of Law and Appellate Brief. Principles of appellate procedure will also be reviewed. Proper citation format will be covered along with a discussion of job hunting techniques and job leads for those seeking their first employment as paralegals.

There are no prerequisites for the course. Students will be expected to complete a significant amount of homework for each session. This program will help students increase their office's efficiency, productivity and billable hours as well as learn new marketable job skills.

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The Center for Legal Studies

Financial Aid

Please visit for some possible financial aid possibilities recommended by The Center for Legal Studies.

Textbooks and Resources

  • Paralegal Certificate Course© Workbook, by Margaret J. Kirk
  • Paralegal Career for Dummies, by Scott and Lisa Hatch
  • Introduction to Paralegalism, 7th Edition by William Statsky
  • Federal Civil Rules Booklet
  • Sample Pages: Illustrations of Organization and Research Techniques in West Group Publications, 4th edition by West Group
  • A Uniform System of Citation (aka "The Bluebook"), most recent edition

NOTE: Westlaw® online legal research access is required for the Live and Online formats for the Paralegal Certificate Course©. Click here for more info.

Highly recommended legal resource:

  • Oran's Dictionary of the Law, 4th Edition

Order Books Online


The Live Lecture course format will be taught by area legal professional, Mercedes Bilow, MSIR.

Online course taught by nationally renowned legal professionals, including Daire Irwin, J.D., and Peggy Kirk, C.L.A.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics states that employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for paralegals is expected to grow in areas such as intellectual property, healthcare, international law, elder issues, criminal law, and environmental law.

Private law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, but a growing array of other organizations, such as corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real-estate and title insurance firms, and banks also hire paralegals.