The Department of Justice Studies offers a Paralegal Studies Certificate Program for post-baccalaureate students, which includes a balanced and varied background in the legal fundamentals, appropriate skills, and practical fieldwork experience necessary for employment as a legal assistant. The program develops intellectual and analytical skills, educates students for direct employment opportunities in the paralegal field, and provides additional career possibilities in combination with a student’s undergraduate degree.
The Montclair State University Paralegal Studies Program is the first and only state college or university in New Jersey to receive American Bar Association approval. A certificate of completion is awarded to all students who meet program standards, fulfill the 21 credit hours required in the program, maintain a 2.75 GPA, and have completed a bachelor’s degree.
With the exception of giving legal advice, making court appearances and setting fees, a paralegal may carry out many tasks. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
TRANSFER POLICIES & PROCEDURES:
Students transferring from other ABA accredited institutions or previous MSU undergraduate students may transfer up to a maximum of nine (9) credits toward the Program, if courses are determined by the Program Director to be applicable and grades meet Montclair State University’s standards. Applicable courses are considered to be equivalent legal specialty courses if taken at American Bar Association (ABA) approved programs or a law-related course taken at any accredited institution. Accredited institutions are those whose credits are recognized and accepted by Montclair State University (MSU).
Legal Research and Writing must be taken at MSU. No legal specialty course transfer credits will be accepted from non-ABA approved institutions except for Criminal Law & Procedure and Business Law. Legal specialty courses from ABA approved institutions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; equivalence is determined by the Program Director. Students may receive approval to apply transfer credits from accredited institutions to the Montclair State University Paralegal Studies Program in the following ways:
- Transfer credits for equivalent courses in which a student has received a grade of “C” or better from an approved degree-granting institution. Course content must be equivalent to the MSU course and the number of credits transferred into the Paralegal Studies Program can be no greater than would be allowed for the equivalent course at MSU.
- Credits which qualify through the National Guide to Education Credit for Training Programs of the American Council on Education;
- Credits for life experience received through the evaluation of a student’s portfolio by Thomas Edison College may be transferable to MSU, subject to the limitations.
A student may not transfer more than nine (9) credits into the Montclair State University Paralegal Studies Concentration of the Justice Studies Major, Paralegal Studies Minor or Graduate Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program. None of the above statements, however, precludes a student from transferring a greater number of credits as free electives or general education credits at MSU. Any student desiring to apply credits to the Paralegal Studies Program in accordance with these guidelines must have his/her credits evaluated by the Program Director within six (6) months of entry into MSU. This time limitation is necessary for purposes of advisement and to avoid possible duplication of courses.
For all legal specialty and law-related course transfers, the student must provide the course description and syllabus to the program director for review and consideration. If the course is approved, the director will complete a Credit Adjustment Form for the student to sign. Accepted transfer coursework will be reflected on the student’s degree audit.