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.

*Advanced competencies in these areas are required of Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies degree graduates.

  • Ours is one of a limited number of paralegal programs in the country approved by the American Bar Association.
  • The Paralegal Studies curriculum emphasizes practical skills development, such as legal research and legal writing, that is grounded in a firm understanding of litigation, corporate law, real estate law, estate planning, and more.
  • 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.

CourseTitlesCredit Hours
Total Credit Hours56
AOM 120Word Processing I4
CSC 118Computer Applications I4
PLS 114Introduction to Law and the Legal System4
PLS 134Legal Research4
PLS 144Legal Writing4
PLS 154Tort Law4
PLS 184Business Organizations and Commercial Practice4
PLS 204Criminal Law4
PLS 214Estate Planning and Administration4
PLS 224Litigation4
PLS 234Real Estate Law4
PLS 244Domestic Relations/Family Law4
PLS 262Basic Legal Ethics2
PLS 272Paralegal Externship or Research Project2
PLS 284Computers in the Law Office4

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
Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies

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