Legal/Paralegal Studies Curriculum
South University's Legal Studies (BS) and Paralegal Studies (AS) programs are designed to provide opportunities for students to prepare for a rapidly changing and challenging profession as a paralegal. The American Bar Association (ABA) defines a paralegal as "a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." Paralegals and legal assistants may not give legal advice, set fees, represent clients in court, or provide legal services to the public except as permitted by law. All students in South University Paralegal and Legal Studies programs receive instruction in legal ethics and how to avoid the unauthorized practice of law. Paralegals and legal assistants may not give legal advice, set fees, or represent clients in court, and all students in South University legal studies programs receive instruction in legal ethics and how to avoid the unauthorized practice of law.
Coursework emphasizes development of keen analytical and critical thinking skills while fostering sensitivity to cultural and political diversity. Students use modern law office technology and software in courses taught in classrooms, computer labs, or in courses offered online through the Savannah campus. South University encourages students to commit to lifelong learning that is beneficial in obtaining employment following graduation and that may help them in advancing in their careers as paralegal professionals.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved the Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies and the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies programs at the following South University campuses: West Palm Beach, Montgomery, Columbia, and Savannah. Only the Savannah campus is approved by the ABA to offer the programs in a partially online format.
Admission to the Legal Studies (BS) and Paralegal Studies (AS) Degree Programs
Students seeking admission into these degree programs must meet all requirements for general admission into the University. Students seeking admission as transfer students must meet additional standards stated in this section of the catalog as well as those required of all transfer students seeking to enroll in South University.
Students seeking to move between South University campuses are considered transfer students. This includes transfer between a ground campus and the partially online program offered through the Savannah campus. Students wishing to transfer to the partially online program from a South University campus are required to transfer enrollment to the Savannah campus through that campus to the partially online program.
Those seeking admission as a transfer student into the Legal Studies (BS) or Paralegal Studies (AS) program must provide additional documentation to aid in evaluation for admission and acceptance of transfer credit. Legal specialty courses taken at another college or university and transferred into a South University campus will not count in the student's GPA calculation. This does not include legal specialty courses taken at another South University campus or online. Although those courses will be designated for transfer credit, the grade will count in the student's GPA calculation.
Students may transfer up to 75* percent of the total work required for a degree in these programs but no more than 50 percent of the work to be applied toward the legal specialty course requirements for the degree. All courses to be applied toward the legal specialty course requirements must be evaluated (using the procedure found in the subsequent paragraph) and found to be essentially comparable to the course for which the student would receive credit in the South University program.
*Students at the Richmond and Virginia Beach campuses may only transfer in 70% of the total hours required for an undergraduate degree.
For legal speciality transfer courses, including courses taken from other South University campuses, the student should present the catalog description of the course from the source campus, college, or university. A syllabus or comparable document describing the course requirements, learning outcomes of the course, textbook and related materials used in the course, samples of work completed in the course, and grading criteria may also be required at the discretion of the Registrar or the Program Director making the evaluation. These materials will be referred to the appropriate Program Director or qualified faculty member for a final decision after the Registrar has reviewed the courses to assure the work meets the general transfer admission standards.
All students enrolling in the partially online program offered through the Savannah campus must document that at least four (4) legal specialty courses comprising at least sixteen (16) quarter hours of credit were completed in a traditional classroom format. The program requires that LGS1005 Legal Research and Writing I be completed in a traditional classroom format. The student can complete any other three (3) legal specialty courses In a traditional classroom format with the approval of the Program Director in consultation with the Registrar.
Students already enrolled in the partially online program seeking to meet the requirement that at least sixteen (16) quarter hours of coursework must be completed in a traditional classroom format, including LGS1005 Legal Research and Writing I will work with their online Academic Counselor and the online Program Chair or Program Director to identify an acceptable college or university where such work may be completed. Targeted courses will be identified and pre-approved by the online Program Chair or Program Director working with the Academic Counselor and Registrar using the criteria listed above as applicable.
By completion of the LGS1001 course, partially online students must have pre-approvals for the four traditional-format classes in their file. Students may complete no more than three online legal specialty courses with South University before taking the four required traditional-format courses. Exceptions can be approved at the discretion of the Program Chair.
Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies (AS)
Offered at South University, Online Programs
The Paralegal Studies (AS) program is designed to provide educational preparation for individuals to serve as paralegals or legal assistants. The program consists of specialized coursework and a supervised externship in selected legal settings such as law firms, real estate and title companies, banks and state or federal governmental agencies. Practical training is designed to prepare graduates working under the supervision of a licensed attorney to perform many tasks in a legal office, including, but not limited to, interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing legal documents and otherwise assisting attorneys with the preparation of their cases. The ABA defines a paralegal as "...a person, office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." Paralegals and legal assistants may not give legal advice, set fees, represent clients in court, or provide legal services to the public except as permitted by law.. All students in the Paralegal Studies (AS) program receive instruction in legal ethics and how to avoid the unauthorized practice of law.
Students pursuing the Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies degree are required to follow the curriculum and transfer policies that are outlined at the beginning of the "Legal Studies" section of the catalog.
Program Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of procedural law and substantive law by successfully completing legal assignments routinely performed in a law office or any organization involved with legal processes under the supervision of an attorney.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the needs of a modern technology-based law office.
- Demonstrate an understanding of professional and ethical standards expected of a paralegal.
- Demonstrate communication skills, including public speaking, letter and memorandum writing, as well as legal drafting under the supervision of an attorney.
- Demonstrate legal research, analytical and critical thinking skills, including reasoned approaches to legal problem solving.