Certificate- Paralegal Studies

The Paralegal Program is approved by the American Bar Association.  The goal of the University of Cincinnati’s Paralegal Program is to educate lay persons to assist supervising attorneys with the performance of ethical and substantive legal work, thereby contributing to the efficient and economic delivery of legal services in both the public and private sectors.

Certificate vs. Certification in Paralegal Studies

It is important to distinguish between a paralegal certificate and certification. A certificate verifies that a student has successfully completed a paralegal educational program. Generally, these programs are offered at universities and colleges. The prerequisites may vary but many require the entering student to have an associate or bachelor’s degree in another area. For example, if a program offers a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate, the student will have obtained a bachelor’s degree in an area other than paralegal studies. It is possible that the student will take only legal specialty courses since they have completed their general education requirements during the pursuit of their associate or bachelor’s degree. Upon successful completion of the institution’s educational requirements, the student is issued a certificate of completion. The student is now certificated in paralegal studies.

A certified paralegal is one that has successfully completed a certification exam. Certification is the process through which an organization grants formal recognition to an individual that meets certain established requirements. This may include meeting educational requirements, prior work experience as a paralegal and passing an examination. Once the paralegal has met these criteria, they may use a special designation namely, “certified paralegal”.

Currently, all certification programs in the United States are voluntary. Therefore, a paralegal may work in the field without obtaining certification. The two major paralegal organizations, NALA and NFPA both offer certification exams, as do some states. The scope, duration and requirements for the exams vary with each organization.

Follow for more information on the Difference Between Paralegal Certificate and Certification (PDF)

Program Objectives

Replace with your textUpon graduation with a minor in Paralegal Studies, students will:

  • Demonstrate effective legal knowledge and practical skills necessary to perform substantive legal work under the direction of an attorney
  • Understand their ethical obligations in the legal profession
  • Read, analyze, and synthesize complex information in an organized an logical manner
  • Effectively communicate orally, in writing, and in interpersonal situations
  • Be proficient in technology necessary to meet employer needs and provide the student with a quality education in paralegal studies based in an ethical, technological, and contemporary understanding of the law that is responsive to the needs of the legal community