Learn more about becoming a paralegal by downloading the our free brochure.
Learn more about the financial options available, download the brochure below.
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.
Paralegal Studies certificate program is approved for 12.0 CEUs (120 contact hours) through Outreach & Engagement at James Madison University.
JMU Online Paralegal Program Details
James Madison’s online paralegal certificate program is designed with working adults in mind.
Our paralegal certificate program is offered via a convenient online format with required instructor led sessions that meet either two evenings a week or all-day Saturday, depending upon the schedule you select that will work best for you. You will have the chance interact with your instructors and your fellow students online. Paralegal program materials and textbooks will also be hosted in an online platform.
The skills, training, and knowledge acquired in this online paralegal certificate program includes an advanced understanding of legal procedure, ethics, and substantive law as well as research, communication and writing skills. You will embark on a specialized online paralegal program curriculum which includes over 120 classroom hours.
Who should attend the JMU online Paralegal Certificate Program?
- Legal assistants and staff wishing to enhance or advance their careers by earning a professional credential.
- Career changers seeking a professional career with strong compensation.
- This online certificate program accommodates professionals in the Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C. and surrounding areas.
Our online paralegal certificate program includes the following courses:
- Introduction to Law – The Introduction to Law course provides an overview of the environment in which a paralegal works by introducing legal writing and citation, the operation of the court system, the role of government in the legal system, and the basics of attorney/paralegal ethics.
- Torts & Personal Injury – The Tort Law & Person Injury course provides a thorough overview of the causes of actions and remedies available to a person who is injured as the result of a certain type of civil wrong that is known as a tort. During the course, students will identify and apply the different standards of care identified in negligence actions and analyze and apply the different types of damages available in tort law.
- Legal Research & Writing – The Legal Research & Writing course provides the foundation for finding legal authority, conducting legal analysis, and writing basic legal memorandum. During the course, students will conduct legal research through Westlaw’s database online. Paralegal certificate students will identify and distinguish the difference between primary and secondary authority, and author a legal memorandum.
- Civil Litigation – The Civil Litigation course prepares students to work in the context of civil litigation. Note that Virginia’s legal system is similar to many other states and this knowledge is applicable outside of the state of Virginia. During the course, students will learn both the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures (applicable in all federal courts) and the Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure.
- Contract Law – The Contract Law course will provide an introduction to the broad area of contract law, the basics of contract law and the elements necessary to create a valid contract. During the course, students in the paralegal certificate program will learn the basic requirements of an enforceable contract, contract performance and remedies available upon the breach of a contract.
- Family Law – The Family Law course is an overview of basic principles of family law. During the course, students will be introduced to terms and procedures associated with a general domestic practice including such topics as divorce, support, child custody, and property division.
Upon meeting the necessary requirements of the program you will receive a certificate of completion from James Madison University.
The online Paralegal Certificate Program is also approved for 7.6 CEUs (76 contact hours) through Outreach & Engagement at James Madison University
JMU Online Paralegal Certificate Program v. Certification?
Professional or personnel certification is a voluntary process by which individuals' pre-acquired knowledge, skills, or competencies are evaluated against predetermined standards. The focus is on an assessment that is independent of a specific class, course, or other education/training program. Participants who demonstrate that they meet the standards by successfully completing the assessment process are granted the paralegal program certification.
An assessment-based certificate program is a non-degree granting educational program that:
(a) provides instruction and training to aid participants in acquiring specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies associated with intended learning outcomes;
(b) evaluates participants’ achievement of the intended learning outcomes; and
(c) awards a certificate only to those participants who meet the performance, proficiency or passing standard for the assessment(s).
An assessment-based certificate is NOT a certificate of attendance or participation, which are provided to individuals (participants) who have attended or participated in classes, courses, or other education/training programs or events but did not have to demonstrate accomplishment of the intended learning outcomes.