Since 1991, Loyola’s Institute for Paralegal Studies has offered a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate approved by the American Bar Association
The primary goal of the Institute is to prepare students to work as assistants to attorneys in 21st century sophisticated legal practices. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as authorized by law.
Loyola’s curriculum has breadth and depth. Also, Institute courses emphasize the technological skills required in today’s law offices, including the extensive use of online resources and several popular software programs.
- At the Water Tower Campus in downtown Chicago, students may earn a Corporate Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies, Litigation Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies, or a Certificate in Paralegal Studies (last option must be approved by the Director). Electives present opportunities to explore various topics: Intellectual Property (two courses), Immigration Law, Environmental Law, Employment Law, and Estates, Trusts and Wills.
- At Loyola’s Cuneo Mansion in Vernon Hills, students may earn the Corporate Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies in a cohort format.
Institute faculty and staff are experienced professionals committed to quality education for paralegals and to promotion of the paralegal role in legal practice. The Director, Jean Hellman Ryan, JD, LLM, has three decades of experience as a paralegal educator. She has served the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals for many years, both as a committee member and as an educational consultant to the group.
The Institute is an active participant in the local legal community and a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the International Paralegal Management Association, the Association of Legal Administrators, and the American Association for Paralegal Education.
Institute students have various backgrounds: they are recent college graduates, employees in law offices, or career changers. Some are considering law or graduate school. Others plan to use their legal knowledge in their business careers.
Institute students typically range in age from 21 to 62. The median age is 32 years old. Over the past few years, 75% have been female and 25% male, and about 43% minorities.
Their undergraduate degrees have been earned at universities throughout the United States and often overseas. Academic majors include the liberal arts, fine arts, sciences, business, and education. Seventeen percent have completed graduate work or earned graduate degrees.
The Institute for Paralegal Studies supports Loyola's mission of promoting knowledge in the service of humanity by educating students to work as competent, effective assistants to lawyers. We believe that rigorous, comprehensive academic instruction, not merely vocational training, is essential for a paralegal to develop critical and ethical judgment. We also seek to promote the professionalism of paralegals, extending their capacity for service to the legal community and ultimately contributing to the advancement of justice in American society.
- Students will develop an understanding of the law, the legal and paralegal professions, and the legal process, including the use of technology, appropriate to their expected role in the legal community. Students will acquire practical, technical skills as well as basic knowledge of legal theory, and specialized competency in at least one area of concentration.
- Students will demonstrate competence in legal research and writing, problem analysis, and critical thinking.
- Students will display an awareness of ethical, moral, and social issues that contain legal implications, as well as knowledge of the standards of conduct expected of the legal community.
- Faculty and staff will be committed not only to quality education but also to the promotion of paralegals as essential members of the legal community.