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FAQs

  1. What is pre-law?
  2. What is a paralegal or legal assistant?
  3. What can a paralegal or legal assistant do?
  4. Where can a legal studies graduate work and what types of work will be done at a particular place of employment?
  5. What will a legal studies graduate earn for a salary?
  6. What library resources are available?
  7. What is a certificate program?
  8. When will classes be held for the Legal Studies Certificate programs?
  9. Is financial aid available for the Paralegal Certificate programs?

1. What is Pre Law?
The Legal Studies – Pre Law BS Program provides students with skills for success in the legal field and specific preparation for the rigors of the law school curriculum. While the American Bar Association does not recommend any particular majors or courses for undergraduate education prior to law school, it does set forth Core Skills and Values for a pre-law education. Students in the Legal Studies program earning a Pre-Law Concentration will have completed a curriculum which has the American Bar Association Core Skills and Values as its foundation. The Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with a Pre-Law Concentration requires 122 semester hours including Husson University General Education requirements as well as Legal Studies, Business, and related courses.

2. What is a paralegal or legal assistant?
A paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive and procedural legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. (ABA). Substantive work shall mean work requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts. (NFPA). Procedural work shall mean work requiring recognition, evaluation and communication of relevant dates, methods and procedures enumerated in the rules of procedure and court rules. Students studying Legal Studies can apply for Paralegal or Legal Assistant positions.


3. What can a paralegal do?
A legal assistant orparalegal cannot give legal advice, represent a client in court, set a fee, or accept a case, which functions are generally considered the practice of law. Working under the supervision of an attorney, the legal assistant's work product is merged with and becomes part of the attorney work product. In communications with clients and the public, the legal assistant' s non-lawyer status must be clear. A legal assistant may perform any function delegated by an attorney, including but not limited to the following:

• Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with the client, so long as the client is aware of the status and function of the legal assistant, and the legal assistant works under the supervision of the attorney.
• Locate and interview witnesses.
• Conduct investigations and statistical and documentary research.
• Conduct legal research.
• Draft legal documents, correspondence and pleadings.
• Summarize depositions, interrogatories and testimony.
• Attend executions of wills, real estate closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings and trials with the attorney.
• Author and sign correspondence provided the legal assistant status is clearly indicated and the correspondence does not contain independent legal opinions or legal advice.
• Professionally, a paralegal's time for substantive legal work (as opposed to clerical or administrative work) is billed to clients much the same way as an attorney's time, but at a lower hourly rate. (NALA)


4. Where can a Legal Studies graduate work and what types of work will be done at a particular place of employment?
Graduates of Legal Studies programs may find work as paralegals in all types of organizations, but most are employed by law firms, corporate legal departments, and various government offices. In these organizations, they may work in all areas of the law, including litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, labor law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate. Within specialties, functions often are broken down further so that paralegals may deal with a specific area. For example, paralegals specializing in labor law may deal exclusively with employee benefits.



The duties of paralegals also differ widely based on the type of organization in which they are employed. Paralegals who work for corporations often assist attorneys with employee contracts, shareholder agreements, stock-option plans, and employee benefit plans. They also may help prepare and file annual financial reports, maintain corporate minute books and resolutions, and secure loans for the corporation. Paralegals often monitor and review government regulations to ensure that the corporation operates within the law.



The duties of paralegals who work in the public sector usually vary within each agency. In general, they analyze legal material for internal use, maintain reference files, conduct research for attorneys, and collect and analyze evidence for agency hearings. They may then prepare informative or explanatory material on laws, agency regulations, and agency policy for general use by the agency and the public.



Paralegals employed in community legal-service projects help the poor, the aged, and others in need of legal assistance. They file forms, conduct research, prepare documents, and when authorized by law, may represent clients at administrative hearings. Paralegals in small and medium-sized law firms usually perform
a variety of duties that require a general knowledge of the law. For example, they may research judicial decisions on improper police arrests or help prepare a mortgage contract.



Paralegals employed by large law firms, government agencies, and corporations, however, are more likely to specialize in one aspect of the law.



Several other occupations call for a specialized understanding of the law and the legal system, but do not require the extensive training of a lawyer. These include law clerks; title examiners, abstractors, and searchers; claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators; and occupational health and safety specialists and technicians. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook)


5. What will a legal studies graduate earn for a salary?
The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $51,740 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,160, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,500.

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects.
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2020 edition).

6. What library resources are available?
There is access to legal research library facilities as well as online research through WestLaw.


7. What is a certificate program?
Certificates are not required in most states for those who wish to become paralegals. Certification is voluntary, as are degree programs. Certificate programs increase a paralegal's skill set or prepares him or her to enter the profession, often increases the likelihood of a paralegal's hire or promotion, and serves to identify a person capable of work that is on par with certain standards.



8. When will classes be held for the Legal Studies Certificate programs?
Classes at the Bangor campus will be held during a combination of day and evening hours.

9. Is financial aid available for the Paralegal Certificate programs?Financial aid is not currently available for the certificate program. However, those students that register for the B.S. program in Legal Studies would be eligible for financial aid, and may pursue the Paralegal Studies Certificate as well as other Certificates such as Advanced Civil Practice, Advanced Criminal Practice and Counter-Terrorism Certificates.