NSU will offer pre-law, paralegal concentration

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences is offering a prelaw and paralegal studies concentration within the B.A. degree in criminal justice. The concentration will be delivered online and enrollment is currently open for Fall 2013.

“The purpose of this concentration is to establish a pre-law and paralegal focus of study in an online forum,” said Shirley Snyder, associate professor and coordinator of Criminal Justice, Pre-law and Paralegal Studies Programs.  “Although no established pre-law curriculum is required for admission to law school, a comprehensive liberal arts education like that offered at Northwestern State is an excellent foundation for the study of law.”

The concentration provides a legal foundation of study to better prepare students who intend to pursue a law degree or those who intend to move directly into a paralegal occupation. Students will be able to transition into advanced legal study or into a support position with a better knowledge and understanding of the field.

“This will provide the opportunity for a student successful in this degree to be more marketable within the legal community,” Snyder said.

The focus on paralegal studies is in response to a growing workforce need that is expected to grow by 18 percent between 2010 and 2020.  Students who desiring a support position in a legal environment can pursue the paralegal concentration while earning their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at NSU.

Northwestern currently offers a certificate program in paralegal studies through the Department of Criminal Justice, History, and Social Sciences under the criminal justice program.  The program offers an eight-course preparation to train students in the field of legal studies and to instruct them in different areas of the law.  This Legal Assistant Certificate of Completion Program already in place at NSU will continue to be offered with a name change to the Pre-law and Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.

Individuals pursuing this certificate need not be a fulltime student or be pursuing a particular degree program. All courses are taught by attorneys and will prepare the committed student to work in most legal venues.  Students may enroll at the beginning of any semester and courses are not required in any particular order.  Enrollment is open to anyone with a high school diploma.  ACT scores are not necessary.

The Pre-law and Paralegal Studies (PLPS) certificate program eight-course rotation includes introduction to law, legal research, litigation, estates, trusts, and wills; corporations, real estate and mortgages, family relations law and law office administration.  Two courses are offered per semester with each course offered either one night a week from 5-8 p.m. or completely online through the Internet.  The entire rotation is completed over a two-year period, making this program particularly attractive to individuals who are employed and/or attending the university fulltime.

The program is offered through distance learning on various locations, including the Natchitoches, Alexandria, Leesville and Marksville campuses.

For more information about the pre-law and paralegal studies concentration or the certificate of completion program, visit criminaljustice.nsula.edu/legal-assistance-program-lap or criminaljustuce.nsula.edu/lap-course-descriptions.

For information on Northwestern State’s criminal justice program, visit criminaljustice.nsula.edu/criminal-justice, call Snyder at (318) 357-6963 or view Northwestern State’s National Journal for Criminal Justice at criminaljustice.nsula.edu-national-journal-of-criminal-justice.

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