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Legal Studies

Overview

Students in Legal Studies, a major offered by the Department of Politics & Government, have great opportunities for learning and growth, both as individuals and within the paralegal field as a whole. The Department provides a variety of resources for Legal Studies majors including internship opportunities, small class sizes, as well as full time faculty or experienced practitioners teaching all levels of coursework.

The legal studies curriculum is designed to provide specialized knowledge and skills to prepare students for employment as a paralegal. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. Students preparing for law school should consult with the pre-law advisor to determine which courses are appropriate for them.

Why Study Legal Studies?

The paralegal profession is one of the nation’s fastest growing careers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.The Legal Studies Program prepares students for a career as a paralegal in public and private law offices, corporate law departments, and government agencies. Students learn how lawyers think and how to communicate effectively with both lawyers and laymen. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.

Related Majors

Careers

Related Skills

  • Critical thinking skills
  • General communications skills
  • Legal research skills
  • Legal writing skills
  • Computer skills
  • Interviewing and investigation skills
  • Understanding the paralegal profession and ethical obligations
  • Law office management skills

Being Successful in the Field

Most entry-level positions for legal studies majors are offered by private law firms, government agencies, or corporate law departments.

  • Be willing to start in an entry-level job inorder to prepare for more advanced career opportunities.
  • Focus your program of study on the legal specialty courses.
  • Consider minoring in a foreign language or computer science if either of these disciplines is of interest.
  • Gain experience through internship, law office employment, or volunteer activities.
  • Talk with professionals in fields of interest to learn more about opportunities.
  • Join paralegal organizations offering student memberships, such as the Central Illinois Paralegal Association or the Illinois Paralegal Association.
  • Request the Legal Studies Certificate when you graduate because a certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal educational program is viewed favorably by employers.

Related Fields

Law

  • Paralegal
  • Legal assistant
  • Legal information technology specialist
  • Legal project assistant
  • Litigation support specialist

Employers

  • Private law firms
  • Corporate law departments
  • Legal aid organizations
  • Prosecutor's Offices
  • Public defender’s Office
  • Government agencies

Strategies

  • Complete an internship or other law-related employment before your senior year
  • Acquire foreign language competency that would qualify you for bi-lingual positions
  • Volunteer in law-related activities.
  • Develop skills in commonly used computer software programs, such as Office, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Supplement curriculum with foreign language, computer, and business courses.
  • Develop excellent research, writing, analysis, and communication skills.
  • Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations.
  • Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills.

Other Professions

  • Administrative assistant
  • Bar association administrator
  • Closing clerk
  • Compliance and enforcement inspector
  • Compliance officer
  • Conflicts research analyst
  • Contract administrator
  • Corporate trainer
  • Court administrator
  • Court clerk
  • Court interpreter
  • Creator of trial demonstrative exhibits
  • Document reviewer
  • Editor for a legal publisher
  • Equal employment opportunity investigator
  • Equal employment opportunity specialist
  • Grant writer
  • Insurance claims adjuster
  • Investigator
  • Judicial assistant
  • Jury consultant
  • Law librarian
  • Law clerk
  • Lease Administrator
  • Legal analyst
  • Legal research director
  • Legal secretary
  • Legal software representative
  • Legislative analyst
  • Loan closing officer
  • Loan interviewer
  • Mortgage processor
  • Municipal clerk
  • Occupational health and safety technician
  • Paralegal instructor
  • Real estate administrative assistant
  • Risk management technician
  • Technical writer
  • Title examiner, abstractor and researcher
  • Title insurance administrative assistant
  • Trust officer
  • Victim advocate for prosecutor’s office

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laurenn York  110 Student Services Building  ldjarem@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Prof. Thomas McClure  Schroeder Hall 403E  temcclu@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8797 

New Freshmen

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

New Transfer

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 1. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA

3.25

Middle 50% GPA

-

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

U.S. Government and Civic Practices (POL 106)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Prof. Thomas McClure  Schroeder Hall 403E  temcclu@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8797 

Illinois State Students

Middle 50% GPA

-

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

The application periods are September 1-30 and February 1-29.

Major Requirements

Admission to this academic program is limited and is based on space availability and the competitiveness of the applicant pool.  Factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to: courses completed, cumulative GPA, hours completed, personal interview or written statement, and samples of work completed.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Prof. Thomas McClure  Schroeder Hall 403E  temcclu@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8797 
2013-09-12T17:17:42.299-05:00 2013
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