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Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University

Gain a successful career in the paralegal field

At Grand Valley State University, the Legal Studies Baccalaureate Program provides professional orientation and career specialization that is based on a firm liberal arts foundation and teaches students the applied skills that they need to know in order to become competent legal assistants. The structure of the curriculum is geared towards assisting students in expanding their career options by allowing and encouraging them to take up a minor or emphasis in a related field. Students can obtain a minor or emphasis in business, a foreign language, English, computer science or health science.

Program development decisions replicate national, state, and local developments in the field. The faculty receives advisement on curriculum, internships, placement and current legal issues from the Legal Studies Advisory Board, a group made up of 16 attorneys and legal assistants as well as the career services coordinator. The legal studies program is an active member of a number of law-related professional associations including the American Association for Paralegal Education.

Internships

Students majoring in legal studies, and not currently employed in the legal field, must enroll themselves in an internship class. Internships allow students to learn by doing and to gain practical work experience, along with providing them the opportunity to network with legal assistants and attorneys. Employers get an opportunity to observe potential applicants, test new ground, study problems, and relieve overburdened staff through internships. A legal assistant and/or an attorney is responsible for the supervision and evaluation of interns. Preparation of papers and participation in discussion conferences with other legal studies interns are part of the academic work of the internship class. Two hundred hours are needed for three credits.

Legal studies majors may choose to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The Bachelor of Arts demands at least third-semester proficiency in any foreign language; the B.S. required prerequisite coursework includes research methods, statistics, and criminal justice case studies.





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