Legal Studies

Description

Stevenson University's legal studies program, the first in the state, and one of the first in the nation to be approved by the American Bar Association attracts students who have logical and analytical minds, possess organizational skills, and pay attention to detail. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. However, working under the supervision of an attorney, paralegals are vital members of the legal team. They perform such functions as:

  • Legal research and writing
  • Conduct factual investigations
  • Interview clients and witnesses
  • Draft pleadings and motions
  • Manage trial preparation and litigation support
  • Draft contracts and real estate documents
  • Administer estates and guardianships
  • Apply for intellectual property registrations
  • Prepare bankruptcy schedules and tax forms
The ultimate goal of the legal studies program is to fully prepare students for employment by law firms, corporate law departments, government agencies, legal aid providers, and other employers in the legal profession. Students gain an extensive knowledge of numerous areas of law and practical experience to enable them to perform tasks in specific legal specialty areas. By taking a combination of law and liberal arts courses each semester, students are able to pursue their legal interests immediately and develop skills gradually.

Students may select a sequence of courses that permits them to focus on a specific area within the legal studies curriculum, such as corporate law, estate administration, or litigation. Students perform an internship, typically in the sophomore or junior year, and complete a legal capstone course in their senior year. Students may participate in a law clinic, as an elective course in their major, and gain experience by providing pro bono paralegal services in the community.

Courses are offered days, evenings, and most courses are offered online. All students must complete a minimum of ten semester credits in traditional classroom instruction. The following required courses are offered on campus in a hybrid format:

  • LAW 102 Introduction to Legal Studies
  • LAW 125 Legal Research and Writing I
  • LAW 210 Legal Research and Writing II
  • LAW 216 Civil Litigation and Pleading
  • LAW 480 Legal Studies Capstone

Objectives

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, graduates will be able to:

  1. Conduct research using all appropriate resources to identify and obtain relevant legal authority.
  2. Compose documents based on factual investigation, legal research, and analysis to inform and/or persuade.
  3. Apply legal terminology, principles of law, and rules of ethical legal practice to the performance of paralegal services.
  4. Operate as productive and professional members of a legal services delivery team using appropriate communication, technology, and time-management skills.
  5. Perform substantive legal work under the direction of an attorney, as permitted by law.

Policies

Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in the major. Furthermore, the lowest acceptable grade is a “C” in all major courses. No student, regardless of major, will be permitted to advance to the next major course without earning a grade of “C” or better in the prerequisite course(s). When a grade below a “C” is earned in a major course, the student must repeat that course. The lowest acceptable grade in Stevenson Educational Experience (SEE) courses is a “D,” with the exception of ENG 151 and ENG 152, for which the lowest acceptable grade is a “C.” If a SEE course is required for the major the lowest acceptable grade is a “C.”

Legal studies majors who do not successfully complete a LAW course with a grade of “C" or better after a third attempt will not be allowed to continue in the legal studies program.
Students must take a minimum of 21 credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses at Stevenson University to earn a degree in legal studies. A legal specialty course is a LAW course that covers substantive law or legal procedures or process, has been developed for paralegals, emphasizes practical paralegal skills, and meets the American Bar Association's instructional methodology requirements. The legal studies program offers traditional, hybrid, and online delivery of legal specialty courses approved by the ABA, as well as other LAW courses. Students must take a minimum of ten semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses, and may take all legal specialty and other LAW courses, through traditional classroom instruction at Stevenson University. 

Credit for equivalent law courses considered legal specialty courses under the ABA Guidelines is accepted for students transferring from paralegal programs, whether ABA-approved or not. If a student has earned credit from an institution that is not ABA-approved, the department chair for traditional students or the program coordinator for SUO students reviews the description of the course content, the course syllabus (if necessary), and information about the institution before credit is transferred for equivalent law courses. A maximum of 24 credits will be accepted for equivalent law courses.

If a student successfully completes a three-credit internship class through another ABA-approved paralegal education program, the internship requirement can be waived, and the student will take another three-credit legal specialty course in its place.

Some students work as paralegals while completing the legal studies program. These students may apply for a waiver of the internship requirement. Documentation from the student and the employer is required to verify that the student successfully performed paralegal tasks for a minimum of 135 hours. If approved, the student will take another three credit legal specialty course in place of the internship class. SUO students working full-time, not as paralegals, may satisfy the internship requirement by completing a virtual internship as a paralegal, supervised by Stevenson University Online. This three credit virtual internship class is considered non-legal specialty.

The award of legal specialty credits through examination or portfolio is monitored by the legal studies program director to ensure that the quality and integrity of the legal studies program are maintained. A maximum of six legal specialty credits can be earned through examination or portfolio. To receive credit for prior learning for a legal specialty course through examination or portfolio, the examination or portfolio must be evaluated by a faculty evaluator, under the supervision of the department chair or the program director for SUO. In conducting this evaluation, the faculty evaluator will ensure that the credit sought can be classified as legal specialty, the student meets the course objectives and practical skills to be developed for the course for which credit is sought, the student meets the needs of the legal community the program serves, and the student’s work is comparable to course work offered within the legal studies program.

Requirements

The courses listed below are required for completion of the bachelor's degree in legal studies. Students must also complete the requirements for the Stevenson Educational Experience (SEE).

Specific pre- and co-requisites for each course are listed in the course descriptions.

Major Requirements:

GPS 200Adult Learning Theory & Practice

3 credits

POSCI 102American Government: Political Institutions and Procedures

3 credits

LAW 102Introduction to Legal Studies

3 credits

LAW 112Torts

3 credits

LAW 114Estates and Trusts

3 credits

LAW 120Contract Law

3 credits

LAW 125Legal Research and Writing I

3 credits

LAW 130Business Organizations Law

3 credits

LAW 204Constitutional Law

3 credits

LAW 210Legal Research and Writing II

3 credits

LAW 216Civil Litigation and Pleading

3 credits

LAW 225AInternship: Part I

1 credit

LAW 225BInternship: Part II

2 credits

LAW 352Law Office Technology

3 credits

LAW 480Legal Studies Capstone

3 credits

LAW ElectivesSix Law electives, two of which may be at the lower level.

18 credits


Minor in Legal Studies

A minor in legal studies is available. The minor in legal studies is not intended to prepare students to work as paralegals and is not approved by the American Bar Association. All course prerequisites must be met to be eligible to take the selected course for a minor. Please see a Student Success Coach for more information. Specific information regarding minor requirements may be found in the Academic Information section of the catalog.

Other Options

Bachelor's to Master's Option: The bachelor's to master's option is available for students majoring in legal studies who wish to combine their bachelor's coursework with work toward a master's degree in one of Stevenson's graduate programs. Students choosing this option may earn their master's degree in as little as one year after their bachelor's degree. Interested students must formally apply for entrance into a bachelor's to master's option in their junior year. Once admitted into this program, students develop an educational plan in consultation with their Student Success Coach. For more information on this program see the Admissions section of this catalog.

Legal Studies Second Bachelor's Degree

Legal Studies Second Bachelor's Program Description

Stevenson’s second bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies, which also is approved by the American Bar Association, is a 33-credit program. Students are required to complete the core courses, totaling 15 credits, plus six law electives, four of which must be at the upper level. The five core courses are offered in an 8-week hybrid format. The law electives are offered in 8-week online sessions. The following courses are required.

Program Requirements:

LAW 102Introduction to Legal Studies

3 credits

LAW 125Legal Research and Writing I

3 credits

LAW 210Legal Research and Writing II

3 credits

LAW 216Civil Litigation and Pleading

3 credits

LAW 480Legal Studies Capstone

3 credits

LAW ElectivesTwo lower-level LAW electives

6 credits

Four upper-level LAW electives

12 credits

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