For 45 years, Roosevelt University's ABA-approved paralegal studies program has produced graduates ready to have immediate impact inside a firm or other legal environment. Roosevelt-trained paralegal professionals are knowledgeable, effective and a critical part of the legal team. Upon completion of their degree requirements, students are awarded both a bachelor of arts degree in paralegal studies and a paralegal certificate.
Paralegals perform substantive legal work under the direct supervision of an attorney. Paralegals must have a knowledge and understanding of legal concepts, because they perform a wide variety of tasks including: conducting interviews with clients and witnesses, gathering facts, researching the law, managing databases, reviewing, analyzing and assembling records and documents, and drafting legal pleadings and discovery items such as complaints and interrogatories and maintaining conflicts of interest systems. Experienced paralegals often accompany counsel during trial and help with document management and organization, witness preparation and research. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
For more information on the paralegal profession and the type of work paralegals perform in different practice areas, visit the websites of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the National Association of Legal Assistants.
For detailed information on the paralegal profession including the work environment, job outlook, educational requirements and salary information, read the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Please note that the BA in Paralegal Studies is offered at our Schaumburg Campus, but only to students with paralegal transfer credit. The complete program is offered at our Chicago Campus. (Please contact the program director, Carrie Lausen, with questions).
This is a degree that leads to a well-paying job. The national median annual salary for paralegals is approximately $51,000 and in Illinois the median annual salary for paralegals is approximately $57,000. The paralegal profession has a positive job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
We offer lifetime career development assistance within the program, which includes: an online job system in which employers post open positions and students and graduates can post their resume; one-on-one career advising by a legal professional; professional development workshops; and a career and job search manual specifically for the paralegal profession.
Our classes are taught by experienced attorneys and paralegals and offer practical, hands-on legal training. We have earned the approval of the American Bar Association since 1976. For more than 10,000 alumni working in law, government and business, the paralegal studies program at Roosevelt University has been the paralegal program of choice.
Roosevelt's BA in Paralegal Studies is the only ABA-approved 4-year bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies in Chicago.
Students will know legal terminology, concepts and procedures and will gain skills to draft a variety of legal documents. Students learn how to conduct legal research, both manually and online using Lexis and Westlaw (commonly used legal databases). They will learn, through hands-on training in a computer lab, litigation support and e-discovery applications. Students will also be better prepared for the rigors of law school and may participate in an internship course as part of their curriculum.
The paralegal studies minor allows students to learn about the field of law as part of their undergraduate studies. The courses are taught by experienced legal professionals. The curriculum, which stresses critical thinking and includes practical training in legal concepts, is applicable to almost any discipline. The minor will also help students be better prepared for the rigorous first year of law school.
The paralegal studies minor is not intended to prepare students to work as paralegals and is not an American Bar Association-approved program option. Students who wish to pursue a paralegal certificate from the American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies program should contact the paralegal studies program director for information on the additional requirements.
Students must have completed 60 credit hours of course work prior to enrolling in the 300-level paralegal studies minor courses. It is recommended that students have a 2.5 or higher grade point average prior to enrolling in the 300-level paralegal studies minor courses. There are no prerequisites for PARA 101.
Six courses (18 credit hours) are required for the minor in paralegal studies. Students must complete six of the following courses:
Our graduates hold a variety of job titles including: paralegal, legal assistant, claims technician, permitting specialist, administrator-legal division, and records specialist.
Common career paths:
Recent alumni have gone on to attend graduate schools like:
More than 80 percent of Roosevelt paralegal studies graduates are employed in the field within 6 to 12 months of graduation.
An internship course is an option for all students. The program works with many law firms, corporations and government agencies throughout the Chicago metropolitan area to offer students a variety of internship opportunities. Recent internship sponsors include:
Roosevelt University maintains a chapter of Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX), a national paralegal honor society founded by the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE). Members are inducted in April and October of each year and receive a commemorative certificate and membership pin. Their names will be entered into the permanent records of the Lambda Epsilon Chi national paralegal honor society.
The Paralegal Studies Program has its own Alumni Group. This group hosts career and social networking events throughout the year. These events provide excellent opportunities for program students, graduates, faculty and staff to get together for networking and professional development training.
Roosevelt’s paralegal studies courses were spot on in terms of teaching us exactly what would prepare us to become legal support staff. The program really shaped me into thinking more critically when engaging in my work and has been a take-off for my career.
My courses offer a highly practical method of learning what it means to function as a paralegal. Students work together to prepare a trial notebook in my pre-trial litigation course and have in the past conducted a mock trial based on a hypothetical situation in a courtroom at the local courthouse. It is important for students to experience firsthand what the attorney does in preparing for any aspect of a trial or litigation. I try to introduce students to those tasks and duties so they know what is expected of them as paralegals. I am proud to say that at least 20 or more of my students have successfully gone on to law school, passed the bar and are practicing attorneys today. At least one of my students is a clerk for a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.
"While it took many years of hard work, dedication and time to get to this point, I now know that I am an important contributor to our attorneys, clients and the end result – securing justice."
Prior to enrolling in the 300-level paralegal program courses, students submit an application to the paralegal studies program. Applicants should be close to completing 60 credit hours of coursework toward their degree and have a GPA of at least 2.5.
Transfer of paralegal courses: students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in paralegal studies who have completed 15 or more hours of paralegal studies courses from an ABA-approved paralegal program (with a grade of C or better) that are no more than six years old, will be required to take only 18 hours of upper-division (300-level) paralegal courses instead of the usual 30 hours required for the degree. The 18 hours of paralegal courses will be selected in consultation with an academic adviser in the paralegal studies program. Credit hours earned for the paralegal studies courses at the previous paralegal program may transfer as general elective requirements.
The paralegal studies program has degree completion programs with certain community colleges that have ABA-approved paralegal programs. For students who are eligible for these programs, the requirements for upper-division (300-level) paralegal courses to be taken at Roosevelt are set forth in an academic plan. The community colleges for which degree completion programs are available are listed below.