In addition to the graduate degrees and credential programs in a variety of disciplines described in this bulletin, the University of San Diego also offers a paralegal certificate program. This program is an alternative to a graduate degree for those who wish to attain a marketable skill within a relatively short time.
A paralegal is a specially trained professional who aids attorneys in the delivery of quality legal services. Employed by law firms, corporations, financial institutions, and government agencies, paralegals work under the supervision of attorneys and may be responsible for preparing pleadings, interviewing clients, researching legal problems, drafting documents and assisting attorneys at trial.
Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution. No previous training in law is required. Applicants who do not have a degree may be considered for the program if they have some college credits and/or business or legal experience. Contact the program office for more information. All applicants must submit two references, official transcripts and arrange for a personal interview.
The university offers full-time and part-time day and evening courses. Day program students take Introduction to Law, Legal Research, Computers and choose a specialty in General Litigation or Business Litigation. In addition, each student does an internship in a corporation or law office, clinic or government agency.
Evening program students may choose between the Generalist or Business Practices programs. The Generalist option includes Litigation, Corporations, Criminal Law, Bankruptcy, Probate, Family Law, Real Estate, and Legal Research. Business Practices includes Civil Litigation, Business Entities, Corporations, Administrative Law, Contracts, Intellectual Property, Employment and Labor Law, Remedies and Legal Research. Both evening programs have a computer component.
To assist graduates in finding employment within the legal field, the staff maintains a very active employment assistance program. The program office functions as an intermediary between graduates and the legal and business community. USD makes every effort to assist graduates in securing positions as paralegals. Pre-employment workshops are offered to assist students in developing résumés and preparing for job interviews.