Purpose: The curriculum is designed to provide an individual with a sufficient level of knowledge, understanding, and proficiency to perform the tasks associated with meeting a client's needs. These tasks can be performed by a trained, non-lawyer assistant working under the direction and supervision of a lawyer. A paralegal or legal assistant will have a basic understanding of the general processes of American law, along with the knowledge and proficiency required to perform specific tasks under the supervision of a lawyer in the fields of civil and criminal law. Occupational objectives include employment in corporate law firms, government agencies, and any of the varied law-related fields. Paralegals or legal assistants are prohibited by law from offering legal services directly to members of the public.
Advising Note: It is strongly recommended that students meet with an advisor before enrolling in classes or as early as possible in their first semester of enrollment.
Completion Requirements: To remain in the program, students must complete each of the legal specialty (LGL) courses in the program with a “C” or higher. Students must complete LGL 110 Introduction to Law and the Legal Assistant during their first semester of enrollment and complete the other legal specialty (LGL) courses in the order outlined. Course substitutions are made on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, the grade for substituted courses must be a “C” or higher.
Special Approval Status: The Paralegal Studies Program is approved by the American Bar Association.
Transfer from Other Institutions: Students must complete 25 percent (17 credits) of their coursework at NOVA. Program guidelines require that at least 50 percent of legal specialty (LGL) credits be completed at NOVA. In addition, ABA Guidelines require that at least 10 of those credits be taken in the traditional (face-to-face) format. The Paralegal Studies Program accepts the transfer of legal specialty courses completed at other institutions as long as those institutions are regionally accredited and the assistant dean determines that the course objectives and practical skills are comparable to the courses offered in NOVA’s Paralegal Studies Program. In all cases, the grade for transfer courses must be a “C” or higher.
1 The PED requirement may be met by one of the following options: PED 116, 2 cr.; PED 116, 1 cr. plus a PED activities course, 1 cr.; or PED 116, 1 cr. plus RPK activities course. PED 116 is offered as both a 1-credit and a 2-credit course.
2 May substitute a humanities/fine arts elective selected from the humanities/fine arts courses listed under General Education Electives. Humanities/fine arts course may be substituted after consultation with an academic advisor and should be selected to further a student’s career and educational goals.
3 May substitute the SDV 101 Orientation section related to this program.
4 May substitute any higher-level MTH course or a science course (BIO, CHM, ENV, GOL, NAS, PHY).
5 Elective courses should be selected after consultation with a counselor or academic advisor, and should be chosen to further a student’s career and educational goals.
6 May substitute a social science elective selected from the social/behavioral science courses listed under General Education Electives.