Paralegals were introduced in the 1960s, as a means of improving access to legal services by delegating appropriate legal work to specially trained non-lawyers working under the supervision of attorneys.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of paralegals will increase by 18% between 2010 and 2020 (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition). Paralegals work in law firms, corporations, banks, insurance and real estate agencies, title companies, courts, and government offices. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as authorized by law.
Unlike lawyers, paralegals are not licensed or regulated by any government entity. They may apply for jobs in any state. Currently, only California has a law specifying who may use the title of paralegal. Some states (not Illinois) offer voluntary certification or registration programs for paralegals.
Employers in the Chicago area increasingly prefer paralegals with a bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate from a reputable ABA-approved paralegal program.
Loyola now offers customized paralegal certificates, providing students with the high-level skills in demand in 21st century sophisticated legal practices. Institute students may earn any of these credentials:
- Litigation Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies
- Corporate Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies
- Litigation & Corporate Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies
- Certificate in Paralegal Studies (a customized curriculum approved by the Director)
Paralegal job titles and job responsibilities vary widely. Some examples are provided in the descriptions of the certificate options.
Contact us with any further questions on our ABA approved program and how to become a paralegal at Loyola.