Following a careful program evaluation, the university is no longer accepting applications for admission to the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program or to the Minor in Paralegal Studies. The program will remain compliant with American Bar Association guidelines through 2020, ensuring that current students have the opportunity to complete their course of study, certificate or minor, from an ABA-approved program. We anticipate that students will be able to complete their coursework by fall term, 2018. Job opportunities will continue to be distributed to students and alumni as they are received.
The Paralegal Studies Certificate Program offered by Cumberland School of Law has been training individuals to become paralegals since 1978.
- Approved by the American Bar Association, the 22-semester credit hour program can be completed in a little over one year.
- Experienced, dedicated faculty and staff understand the needs of working professionals and work hard to provide the knowledge and skills required of today's paralegal.
- Classes are conveniently scheduled in the evenings, online or a combination of both formats.
- Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
- Small class sizes are conducive to learning and relationship-building.
The program is committed to producing well educated, capable, and ethically aware graduates who, although they may not provide legal services to the public except as permitted by law, are prepared for careers as paralegals to attorneys in private, public, and corporate settings. Paralegals are professionals trained both in the substance of the law and in legal procedure who use that knowledge and those skills to provide a broad range of legal services under the supervision and direction of an attorney. Specifically, the program goals are:
- To train students in a practical way for careers as paralegals to attorneys.
- To promote a basic understanding of legal concepts and terms on subjects that are important to those engaged in general practice or in specialized areas of law and to equip students with legal writing and research skills that will enable graduates to perform as skilled members of a legal team.
- To provide a general understanding of the principles of ethical and professional responsibility as these relate to lawyers and paralegals.
- To provide a broad background in general education for development of educated, socially, morally, and ethically aware individuals.
- To constantly upgrade and adjust the program to fulfill the needs of the community by seeking input from local attorneys, paralegals, and students.
Schedules and Course Information
Salary and Employment Information
The Paralegal Studies Certificate Program prepares students for rewarding careers as paralegals or legal assistants to attorneys in private, public and corporate settings. Graduates may work in a variety of legal settings, including traditional law firms, financial institutions, hospital and corporate legal departments and government and administrative agencies. Many program graduates ultimately apply to law school and leverage the substantive law and practical skills learned in the paralegal studies program for an early advantage in the first year of law school.
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Paralegals and Legal Assistants
- Paralegal Employment by Geographic Region
- Occupational Outlook Handbook Summary (pdf)
- Summary of Birmingham Area Paralegal Salaries (pdf)
Other Useful Links about the Paralegal Profession
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- Typical Paralegal Duties from the National Association of Legal Assistants
- Paralegal Career Information from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals
- NFPA explanation of certified vs. certificated vs. licensed
- Comparison Chart of National Level Certification Exams (from NFPA)
Job Placement Methodology
The placement rate reflects the percentage of graduates whom we were able to reach currently choosing to work as legal professionals for fiscal year 2016.
- Eleven of the sixteen program completers are currently working in the legal profession.
- Three program completes are employed outside of the legal field.
- One program completer is a current student in a graduate program.
- One program completer is currently not employed.