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 enhanced 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.

182 Credit Hours Minimum
Length: 18 months beyond the Associate degree
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.
Associate degree or equivalent (see Undergraduate Admissions section for a description of Sullivan’s 2+2 programs):

Course Titles Credit Hours
AOM 120 Word Processing 4
ACT 101 Principles of Accounting I 4
BUS 224 Professional Development 4
BUS 424 International Business 4
COM 214 Public Speaking 4
CSC 118 Computer Applications I 4
CSC 218 Computer Applications II 4
ECO 201 Microeconomics 4
ECO 202 Macroeconomics 4
ENG 101 Composition I 4
ENG 102 Composition II 4
ENG 204 Advanced Writing 4
MGT 304 Principles of Management 4
MGT 344 Organizational Behavior 4
MKT 304 Principles of Marketing 4
MTH 101 College Mathematics 4
MTH 201 College Algebra 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
PLS 302 Applied Legal Ethics 2
PLS 304 Administrative Law 4
PLS 314 Advanced Legal Writing with Computer Applications 4
PLS 404 Advanced Litigation and Appellate Practice 4
PLS 414 Advanced Real Estate Law 4
PLS 434 Contemporary Legal Topics 4
Two Humanities/Fine Arts Electives 8
Natural Science/Mathematics Elective 4
Social/Behavioral Sciences Elective 4
Any General Education Elective 4
Free Electives (24 Additional Credit Hours) 24
Total Credit Hours 182

What qualities should a Bachelor of Science 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

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