Becoming a Paralegal

Is Becoming a Paralegal Right For Me?

Studied Paralegal at James Madison

Are you …

  • A legal assistant who wants formal education to give your career a boost?
  • Looking to start your legal career with strong earning potential?

**Completing a paralegal certificate offers many exciting opportunities!**



What Jobs are Available for Those Who Complete a Paralegal Certificate Program?

One of the most exciting aspects of becoming a paralegal is the wide range of career opportunities. Here are some examples of industries that hire paralegals:

  • 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 education provides additional professional advantages. There are many careers 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

What Does a Paralegal Do?

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

  • Conducting client interviews and maintaining general contact with the client
  • Locating and interviewing witnesses
  • Conducting investigations, as well as statistical and documentary research
  • Conducting legal research
  • Drafting legal documents, correspondence, and pleadings
  • Summarizing depositions, interrogatories, and testimony
  • Attending executions of wills, real estate closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings, and trials with the attorney
  • Authoring and signing correspondence, provided the legal assistant’s 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.

Will You Help Me Get a Job?

We want you to be a successful graduate, so we have set aside class sessions in the program that teach career development skills — including résumé-writing and interviewing techniques. You will also learn to create a client file and work documents based on specific cases, and you will earn a distinguished Certificate of Completion from James Madison University. While we can’t guarantee you a job offer after this program, we can certainly equip you with the tools needed to be highly competitive.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Sign Up?

To ensure our students are prepared for the intensive coursework in this online program and qualified for employment after finishing, we require either:

  • At least four years of professional work experience (does not have to be in the legal field)


  • A four-year degree

Who Are My Instructors, and What Will They Teach Me?

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