Paralegal Program

Enter a Dynamic Profession and Become a Valued Member of a Legal Team.

Graduates of the ABA-approved Paralegal Certificate Program are well prepared to assist in the effective delivery of legal services in both the private and public sectors of our society. Paralegals are trained members of a legal team who work under the supervision of attorneys. A team concept approach to legal matters ensures professional representation of clients and reduces the cost of legal services.

Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. Through classroom lectures, readings, and practical assignments, students become familiar with the role of the paralegal in the legal environment. 

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Program Snapshot

Next term snapshot
Next Term Starts Jan 14
Deadline to Apply Dec 20
Deadline to Interview Dec 17
Program Options Day or Evening
Total Credits 24
Total Tuition $6,000

Why choose USD's Paralegal Certificate Program?

  • The USD Paralegal Certificate Program began in 1975 and in 1977 became the first ABA-approved Paralegal Program in San Diego
  • In 2019 became USD School of Law Paralegal Program, one of only a few ABA-approved paralegal programs affiliated with an ABA-accredited law school
  • Recognized quality and highly regarded in the legal community
  • Active Advisory Committee reviews curriculum issues and employment trends
  • Day and evening paralegal certificate program options
  • Employment assistance offered to all qualified students and graduates
  • Full service law library with convenient hours, right on campus
  • Internships to gain real world experience and hit the ground running
  • Faculty comprised of experienced practitioners, committed to the training and utilization of paralegals
  • Superior student support and personalized attention from dedicated program staff
  • Federal government loans available to qualified graduate students
Begin quote I chose the USD Paralegal Certificate Program because it is an American Bar Association approved, well-respected program offering a broad curriculum in a condensed format. The program greatly increased my confidence and proficiency in interviewing, writing, and research, as well as computer and analytical skills. Each day I build upon what I learned in the program. I am grateful for the excellent training I received. – Nicki S., Paralegal

ABA Approval

American Bar Association (ABA) approval, a national benchmark, ensures students quality in curriculum, faculty, libraries, and student services. California’s Business and Professions Code lists graduation from an ABA-approved paralegal program as one of the criteria for using the title of paralegal. An Advisory Committee comprised of attorneys, paralegals, educators, and members of the general public meets regularly to review curriculum issues and employment trends.

Program Goals

The goal of the USD Paralegal Certificate Program is to familiarize students with basic legal concepts and terminology, the elements of legal research, our court structure, computer software use in the law office, and legal ethics. Supplementing this generalized background, students will receive instruction in substantive areas of law.

Begin quote I owe much of my success to the USD Paralegal Program! USD circulated my resume to employers, so I got a wonderful paralegal job at a local firm. The firm was only interested in paralegals from USD. The program prepared me to work directly for a partner at the firm because it was both substantive and practical. Bringing my experience full circle, the firm hired another USD paralegal from a fresh batch of resumes before I left for Notre Dame Law School. – Daniela P., Law Student

On-Campus Law Library

The  Pardee Legal Research Center is one of the premier academic law libraries in the country. USD paralegal students enjoy a full-service law library with convenient hours.

Professional Resources

Learn more about the  dynamic profession of paralegalism including local and regional networking opportunities.

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Program Options

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