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Paralegal Studies Major

Paralegals are not just secretaries who work in law offices. The research, filing, and paperwork that go into the average court case can overwhelm even the most experienced attorneys. Lawyers spend a lot of time in the courtroom, and are often unable to perform these tasks on their own. Paralegals bridge the gap between the courtroom and the law office.

At Grand View University, we offer students who have an associate's degree in paralegal studies the opportunity to advance their education with a bachelor's degree. Take a look below to see if Grand View is the right fit for you!

Why Grand View?

  • We are the only college in Iowa offering a bachelor's degree in Paralegal Studies.
  • By earning your bachelor's degree at Grand View University, you increase your salary range and you can further your education with a master's degree or graduate school, if you desire.
  • We have teamed up with DMACC to create a new 2+2 paralegal program. Start in DMACC's Paralegal Program and then seamlessly advance into Grand View's outstanding Paralegal Studies Program to earn your bachelor's degree. Work with your academic advisor or contact Ginger Hermon for more information.
  • Compatible with completed paralegal associate's degree in Iowa or across the nation.
  • Online options that allow you continue your education while working in the field at the same time.
  • We'll help you build on your previous experiences so you can expand your employment opportunities.
  • We offer invaluable internships that connect you to many businesses and organizations in the Des Moines area and even as far away as Washington, D.C. or with your current employer (based on approval).
Choose Your Path

Whether it's custom classes, an emphasis, or an option, this degree offers you an even more enhanced and customizable experience in the following areas:

Business & Human Resource Management Concentration (online option)
This program is designed to develop in students a comprehensive knowledge of human resource (HR) management along with the skills necessary for implementing strategic, effective, and legally defensible HR practices in contemporary business organizations. Human resource professionals are employed in every industry and are an essential partner in an organization’s strategic vision for the future and for ensuring the right people are in place. It is essential that an HR professional learn and master key knowledge, skills, and abilities including critical thinking, confidentiality, change management, communication, negotiation and conflict management, business acumen, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, and fairness.

Criminal Justice Concentration (online option)

This concentration is designed for Paralegal Studies students wanting to build upon their earlier studies, focusing on criminology and criminal justice coursework.  Students will be prepared for multiple paralegal roles in the workforce, but this concentration gives additional background for those interested in the criminal court system, including criminal appellate work as well as administrative agencies focusing on corrections.

Career Options

Start work immediately after graduation or go on to advance your legal career...a bachelor's degree gives you a world of opportunities:

  • Paralegal
  • Law school
  • Government agencies
  • Community legal service programs
  • Juvenile justice organizations
  • Corrections or human resources management

What Can I Do With This Major?

Course Requirements
Download Degree Checklist

GV Degree Combinations

You may also be interested in one or more of the following:

Did You Know?

Paralegals provide important legal assistance to lawyers. While attorneys meet with clients, hammer out mediations and plead cases in the courtroom, paralegals are researching, filling out important legal documents, and keeping clients up-to-date.

Although paralegals do not often show up in the courtroom, they are essential members of the legal community. The main thing that differentiates them from lawyers is that paralegals do not sit for the bar exam, and so cannot give official legal advice or present at a trial. While most of a paralegal's work is done backstage, any lawyer will tell you that they could not operate their law firm without paralegals.

Most employers require job applicants to have a certain amount of education in paralegal studies. While some law firms will train paralegals on the job, they usually require at least an associate degree in paralegal studies or a related field.

Salary & Job Outlook

Nationally, the median paralegal salary is $52,549 as of 2017, with a range from $46,468 to $59,334. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that paralegal positions will increase by 8 percent from 2014 through 2024. CNN Money and US News rank Paralegal as one of the best jobs in America.

Is Paralegal Studies Right for You?

Many people who earn degrees in paralegal studies are committed professionals with a sincere interest in the American legal system, but who do not have the time, funds or inclination to go through law school. Paralegal careers require excellent organization skills and stringent attention to detail. Since the law requires comprehensive documentation, the paperwork can quickly overwhelm you if you don't have a top-notch filing system.

Good communication skills are also necessary for this career. Paralegals and legal secretaries often meet with clients while the lawyer is in the courtroom or out of the office, to discuss what certain legal documents mean and how their case is progressing.

Since paralegals and legal assistants will often be in charge of the paperwork for entire cases, they must be goal-oriented. In larger law offices, teams of legal assistants or paralegals will be assigned to larger cases, so teamwork is also very important. Also, a lawyer will be overseeing the case most of the time, so paralegals must be able to effectively follow directions.

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