Major Spotlight: What are Paralegal Studies Majors?
Much of what paralegals do (researching legal questions and writing legal documents, for example) is the same work that attorneys do. So why not become an attorney instead -- especially since attorneys make more money?
Some people choose the paralegal route because they don't want to go through three years of law school in addition to receiving a bachelor's degree. Others want a meaningful way of participating in the legal process without the demanding schedules that attorneys face.
Of course, there's no reason you can't do both. Some people start out by getting paralegal training and working as a paralegal for a time, and then go to law school.
This major prepares students to work under the supervision of a lawyer or court, completing research, conducting investigations, and keeping records. Courses cover legal research and writing.
Did You Know?
This major is not a prelaw degree. That doesn't mean you can't apply to law school down the road; it just means that majoring in paralegal studies won't help you get into law school.
Are You Ready To...?
- Join the national honorary society for paralegal studies majors, Lambda Epsilon Chi
- Complete an internship in a law office, court, or other legal organizations
- Develop your organizational skills
- Use computers
- Sharpen your research and writing skills
It Helps To Be...
Fascinated by questions of law. You'll enjoy this major if you love reading, writing, researching, and thinking critically about complicated issues. You'll also want an eye for detail and strong communication skills.
- What are recent grads doing now?
- Does the program offer practicums and other hands-on learning opportunities?
- Is the program approved by the American Bar Association?
- Is the program a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education?
- Will the program help you find work as a paralegal after graduation?
- Are the professors practicing lawyers and paralegals?
- Does the library offer the resources you’ll need to complete legal research?
Did You Know?
Many paralegals specialize in a particular area of law such as corporate law.
As a paralegal major, you’ll take a class in legal research and writing. You'll learn how to use the resources of a law library, including legal journals, digests (case summaries), and government documents. You'll also learn how to use the online legal database LEXIS/NEXIS.
You'll practice putting your research to work by drafting briefs and other legal documents. By the end of the semester, you'll be able to research and write about legal issues quickly and accurately -- a treasured talent in law offices.