Legal Studies

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department Chair: Hillary Michaud, J.D., CPA


Stevenson University's legal studies program was the first in the state, and one of the first in the nation, to be approved as a paralegal education program by the American Bar Association (ABA). Ours is the only ABA-approved bachelor's degree paralegal education program in Maryland. The program 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:

  • Analyzing and organizing records
  • Assisting in discovery
  • Drafting contracts and real estate documents
  • Drafting pleadings
  • Gathering information electronically
  • Incorporating entities
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Investigating cases
  • Managing trial preparation and litigation support
  • Managing estates and guardianships
  • Processing workers' compensation claims
  • Preparing intellectual property applications
  • Creating bankruptcy schedules

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.

Courses are offered weekdays and evenings. Students earn a bachelor's degree in legal studies. 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, real estate law, or litigation. Students perform an internship, typically in the sophomore or junior year, and complete a legal studies capstone course in their senior year. Students may participate in the law clinic, as an elective course in their major, and gain experience by providing pro bono legal services in the community. Students may take a mock trial course as a law elective, as well as compete with our mock trial team in American Mock Trial Association tournaments.

The legal studies degree may be completed in an accelerated format by qualifying adult learners. This accelerated delivery option is offered through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. See the School of Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog for more information about the accelerated delivery option and student eligibility requirements.


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 legal 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.


Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in the major, and the lowest acceptable grade is a "C" in all major and Stevenson Educational Experience (SEE) courses. No student, regardless of major, will be permitted to advance to the next course without earning a grade of "C" or better in the prerequisite course(s). When a grade below "C" is earned in a major course, the student must repeat that course.

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 18 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 program director for traditional students or the Associate Dean of Business Programs for GPS 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.

Although Stevenson University policy is that internships performed at other institutions do not transfer, there is an exception for students who perform paralegal internships with ABA-approved paralegal programs at other institutions. If a student successfully completes a three-credit internship class through another ABA-approved paralegal 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. GPS students working full-time, not as paralegals, satisfy the internship requirement by completing a virtual internship as a paralegal, supervised by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. 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 program director. 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.


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.

Typically, students take lower-level (100- and 200- level) courses in their freshman or sophomore years, and upper-level (300- and 400- level) courses in their junior or senior years.

Major Requirements:

FYS 100First Year Seminar

1 credit

ACC 215Survey of Accounting

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

POSCI 102American Government: Political Institutions and Procedures

3 credits

Six LAW electives two of which may be taken at the lower level

Suggested Course Sequence

Suggested Course Sequence Legal Studies

Minor in Legal Studies

The minor in legal studies requires successful completion of a minimum of six courses and 18 credits with an LAW prefix. 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 an academic advisor for more information. General guidelines regarding minors may be found in the Minors section of the catalog.

Other Options

Pre-Law Option: The legal studies program is an excellent option for students interested in applying to law school. It is the only law program at Stevenson. Many of our program's graduates each year go on to law school and become lawyers. Legal studies students can combine law classes with a series of designated liberal arts courses that develop critical thinking, writing, and analytical skills. The same substantive and procedural law courses offered at law schools are offered in Stevenson's legal studies program. Legal studies program faculty are experienced lawyers and judges. A full-time legal studies faculty member, also an attorney, serves as a dedicated pre-law advisor and assists students with Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) preparation and law school applications. An upper-level law elective is available to help prepare students to take the LSAT. Graduates who attend law school find that the legal studies program at Stevenson gives them a competitive advantage.

BS/MS Option: The BS/MS 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 student must formally apply for entrance into a BS/MS option in their junior year. Once admitted into this program, students develop an educational plan in consultation with their undergraduate and graduate advisors. For more information on this program see the School of Graduate and Professional Studies catalog.

Legal Studies Second Bachelor's Degree

Program Description

A second bachelor's degree is available in legal studies, which includes 33 credits of LAW courses with at least 21 legal specialty credits required. Consult the website for additional information and for program requirements.

Course Descriptions

See Legal Studies Course Descriptions