Online Non-Credit Paralegal Certificate | In the Virginia & DC areaRequest more information
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Paralegal Program graduatesJames Madison University Paralegal Certificate
Earn your Certificate in Paralegal Studies

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View the Info Video Upcoming Paralegal Program Dates

Tuesday/Thursday from 6:30-8:30pm Online classes held: September 15, 2015 – February 4, 2016
Tution: $3995
Registration closes two weeks prior to the program start date
Enroll in the JMU Paralegal Certificate Program

Learn more about becoming a paralegal by downloading the our free brochure.

JMU Paralegal Brochure

Learn more about the financial options available, download the brochure below.

JMU Paralegal Financial Brochure

Classes can fill quickly. In order to enroll, you must submit a completed registration form and full form of payment.  It is strongly recommended that you register two weeks prior to a course start date. 

CEUs Available
Paralegal Studies certificate program is approved for 12.0 CEUs (120 contact hours) through Outreach & Engagement at James Madison University.

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How to Become a Paralegal

Is becoming a paralegal right for me?

Are you…

  • A legal assistant who wants to augment your experience and training with a professional credential?
  • Looking for a career change into a legal profession with strong compensation potential?
  • A student considering law school who wants a head start on your peers?

Becoming a paralegal offers many exciting opportunities to advance your career. 

What employment options are available for those who become a paralegal?

One of the most exciting aspects of becoming a paralegal is the diversity of employment opportunities. Here are just some of the industries in which individuals who become a paralegal work:

  • Litigation
  • Bankruptcy
  • Immigration
  • Criminal Law
  • Workman's Compensation
  • Construction Defect
  • Contract Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Real Property
  • Administrative Law
  • Court Clerk
  • Prosecutor's Office
  • Public Defender's Office
  • Incorporation
  • Oil and Gas
  • Environmental Law

Paralegal certification provides additional professional advantages. There are many professions that, while not titled "paralegal," are able to make use of a paralegal’s skills. Some of these professions include:

  • Real Estate Professionals
  • Landlords/Property Managers
  • Patent Clerks
  • Investigative Positions
  • Social Services
  • Office Managers

NOTE: We do not recommend that paralegals offer their services directly to the public. To do so risks engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

What do paralegals/legal assistants do?

A legal assistant or paralegal may perform any function delegated by an attorney, including but not limited to the following:

  • Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with the client, so long as the client is aware of the status and function of the paralegal, and the paralegal works under the supervision of the attorney
  • Locate and interview witnesses
  • Conduct investigations and statistical and documentary research
  • Conduct legal research
  • Draft legal documents, correspondence and pleadings
  • Summarize depositions, interrogatories and testimony
  • Attend executions of wills, real estate closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings and trials with the attorney
  • Author and sign correspondence, provided the legal assistant status is clearly indicated and the correspondence does not contain independent legal opinions or legal advice

NOTE: We do not recommend that paralegals offer their services directly to the public. To do so risks engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

Paralegal Industry Statistics

For years, the paralegal profession has ranked as one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S. In the 2008-09 edition of U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the following “significant points” were emphasized about the paralegal profession.

  • Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, as employers try to reduce costs by hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers.
  • Most entrants have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor’s degree coupled with a certificate in paralegal studies.
  • About 7 out of 10 work for law firms; others work for corporate legal departments and government agencies.
  • Competition for jobs should continue. Experienced, formally trained paralegals should have the best employment opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics goes on to state that "paralegals and legal assistants held about 238,000 jobs in 2009," and that "despite projected rapid employment growth, competition for jobs is expected to continue as many people seek to go into this profession." If you are thinking about obtaining a certificate in paralegal studies, you are on the right track. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "experienced, formally trained paralegals will have the best employment opportunities" in the field.

We have compiled a list of useful resources for current and aspiring paralegals.

Do you provide Paralegal Job Placement?

We want you to be successful upon graduation so we incorporate two classes into your program to assist you with career development support including résumé-writing and interviewing skills. You will also learn to develop a ‘client file’ and produce work documents based on specific cases and you will earn a prestigious Certificate of Completion from James Madison University upon graduation!

Are there any pre-requisites for the Paralegal Certification?

To ensure our graduates are qualified not only for employment after they graduate, but also prepared for the level of training offered at JMU we do require:

  • A 4-year undergraduate degree OR
  • the equivalent of 4 years of professional work experience (not necessarily in the legal field)

Who are my instructors in this Paralegal certificate program?

Your instructors are practicing attorneys who have been chosen for their knowledge, experience and effectiveness in the learning environment. The course work focuses on the practical skills and knowledge used in the legal workplace.