Paralegals work in all facets of the legal system—in large and small law firms, in courtrooms, in government and in corporate legal departments. Attorneys recognize the valuable contribution paralegals make in increasing the effectiveness and productivity of the legal system. Accordingly, paralegals perform legal research, conduct interviews, draft documents and complete many tasks critical to the efficient operation of law offices. It should be noted that paralegals cannot give legal advice or represent a client in a court of law nor engage in other forms of unauthorized practice of law.

The Institute for Legal Studies at Sullivan University began in 1979 and offers programs of study that lead students to challenging and rewarding careers as paralegals. Most paralegal courses are taught by attorneys who not only understand the complexities of the law, but also can instruct students on the practical skills needed to be paralegals.

In addition, the legal reference section of the Sullivan University Library and Learning Resource Center provides access to law books, materials and computerized databases such as LexisNexis® and Westlaw® that enhance the learning potential of all paralegal studies students.

The goals and objectives of The Institute for Legal Studies are to educate students effectively and efficiently for employment as paralegals and to provide graduates with viable employment in the legal field commensurate with their Sullivan University education. All Paralegal Studies programs are approved by The American Bar Association.


To educate students effectively and efficiently for employment as paralegals and to assist graduates in finding viable employment in the legal field.

Graduates of The Institute for Legal Studies will possess nine competencies:

  1. Identify and assess ethical and professional responsibility issues.
  2. Define and use legal terminology.
  3. Differentiate federal and state court structure and procedures.
  4. Conduct factual investigations in an organized manner.
  5. Conduct legal research in an organized manner.
  6. Analyze and interpret the law in an organized manner.
  7. Prepare legal documents, including pleadings, memoranda and legally operative forms.
  8. Demonstrate strong communication and interpersonal skills appropriate for the legal field.
  9. Use legal technology and determine its impact on the practice of law.
  • Ours is one of only a handful of paralegal programs in the country approved by the American Bar Association. This means Sullivan’s program meets the stringent standards and guidelines set forth by the American Bar Association to recognize and encourage high-quality paralegal education and training.
  • The Paralegal Studies curriculum emphasizes practical skill development, such as legal research and legal writing, that is grounded in a firm understanding of tort law, criminal law, real estate law and more. This program can also serve as a starting point for those who have their sights set on law school.
  • Our program’s stature within the legal community, which is fostered through our involvement with the Kentucky Paralegal Association and local paralegal associations in Louisville and Lexington, gives our students and graduates an advantage.
  • Students can draw on the expansive legal reference section within the Sullivan University Library and Learning Resource Center for their studies and research, and also enjoy access to our LexisNexis and Westlaw databases.

Length: 9 months
Time length for program completion will vary depending upon the number of courses taken per term, developmental courses when required, transfer credit accepted, lack of continuous enrollment, etc.

Course Titles Credit Hours
Total Credit Hours 56
AOM 120 Word Processing I 4
CSC 118 Computer Applications I 4
PLS 114 Introduction to Law and the Legal System 4
PLS 134 Legal Research 4
PLS 144 Legal Writing 4
PLS 154 Tort Law 4
PLS 184 Business Organizations and Commercial Practice 4
PLS 204 Criminal Law 4
PLS 214 Estate Planning and Administration 4
PLS 224 Litigation 4
PLS 234 Real Estate Law 4
PLS 244 Domestic Relations/Family Law 4
PLS 262 Basic Legal Ethics 2
PLS 272 Paralegal Externship or Research Project 2
PLS 284 Computers in the Law Office 4

What qualities should a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies student have?

Paralegal Studies students should possess the following qualities:

  • Writing or communication skills needed day to day; professional business and legal writing skills are a must
  • Personality traits/soft skills the industry looks for:
    • High personal standards
    • Positive work ethic
    • Self-confidence
    • Persistence
    • Assertiveness
    • Initiative
    • A need to know
    • An ability to collect, organize, review, evaluate and draw conclusions
    • Dedication to continuing education and skill development
    • Being a self-starter
  • Technical/hard skills used:
    • Electronic research skills
    • Organizational skills
    • Ability to conceptualize
    • Ability to prioritize
    • Time management skills
    • Research skills
    • Document drafting skills
    • Computer skills

Start Your Career in as Little as 9 Months.

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