Available in Partially-Online Format
A paralegal degree is your fast track to becoming a valuable part of a legal team. In as little as two years, you can acquire the training and education needed to work alongside lawyers, court employees, and in legal departments of multinational corporations
Paralegals perform a wide range of functions, such as preparing drafts of legal documents, researching issues of law, interviewing clients and witnesses, filing pleadings and motions, reviewing court records, and preparing case files for trial.* Northwestern College’s American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal program will help you develop the skills you need to excel in the profession—you can start learning what you need to know right away. For us, it’s about fostering a love of the law, yes, but it’s also about getting you into a career that will have you going places.
*Please note: Paralegals must work under attorney supervision. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
Paralegal Training That Matters
The goal of our Paralegal Program is to prepare students to step into the legal environment and being working in a support capacity right away.
Graduates of the paralegal school at Northwestern College learn the skills needed to:
- Prepare drafts of legal documents
- Research issues of law
- Interview clients and witnesses
- File pleadings and motions
- Review court records
- Work with document and filing technology
- Prepare case files for trial
Quality Training in a Flexible Environment
Of course, we know that not everyone can commit to two years of full-time training, especially if you’re currently working or raising a family. That’s why we offer courses in the paralegal program in an online format offering you more flexibility than many other paralegal programs. Your work schedule, your family life, your prior commitments – none of these have to stand in the way of your educational goals.
While we expect all our students to work hard and commit themselves to their education, your paralegal career training doesn’t have to be a struggle. Flexible, affordable, and designed to help you get a foot in the door, Northwestern College’s paralegal degree is an important stop on your journey to success.
Complete Paralegal Courses Online and On-Campus
The paralegal program is available partly online and at our two campuses. Students must complete four specific courses at either the Chicago or Bridgeview campus, or alternatively and with prior approval, at another college for transfer to Northwestern College. All remaining courses are delivered in an online format. The four campus-based courses (4 credit hours each) are:
- Introduction to Legal Research
- Civil Litigation & Procedure II
- Legal Research and Writing I
- Legal Research and Writing II
The degree also requires students to complete a Paralegal Externship where they gain professional experience working under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Externships can be completed at a variety of locations in the Chicagoland area and elsewhere upon approval.
Upon completion of the program, it is expected that students will be able to:
- Understand and exhibit expected ethical behavior of the paralegal profession
- Understand and demonstrate the necessary steps to bring a case to trial by preparing pleadings, discovery requests, and other litigation-related documents
- Display the ability to independently research legal issues and prepare appropriate legal documents
- Perform through an externship, paralegal skills necessary to competently work in a legal environment
- Exhibit computer proficiency and knowledge of computer software used in the legal profession
The paralegal Associate in Applied Science degree program requires students to complete 44 credit hours in paralegal courses and 50 credit hours in general education and other related courses. Following are descriptions for three of the legal specialty courses.
Introduction to Law and the Legal System
The goal of this course is to provide a basic understanding of the American legal system from a variety of perspectives. The course focus includes essential history, the working structure of government, procedural issues in the courts, specific concepts of law, the role of the paralegal in the legal system, and the impact of legal ethics on the paralegal. This course provides paralegal students with a solid foundation for advanced paralegal curriculum courses and provides students of other disciplines with a functional appreciation of the impact of the legal system on their major courses of study. In this course, students will prepare a resume.
This course will provide students with a practical approach to the law of contracts. The class discussions will include analyzing contracts, breach of contracts, and the remedies provided for a breach of contract.
Legal Research and Writing I
After examining the sources of law and the structure of the federal and state court systems, students will be introduced to case and statutory analysis and to an understanding of the role of the paralegal in performing substantive legal analysis and writing tasks. They learn how to analyze and synthesize written opinions and complete three significant writing projects.
Accreditations and Approvals
The Paralegal degree program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Northwestern College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 263-0456, www.ncahlc.org.
Northwestern College is approved for veterans training under the G.I. Bill for Veterans Educational Assistance.
Making College Affordable
At Northwestern College, we help our students understand their college costs and how to pay for them. We also, understand that applying for financial aid can seem a little confusing and overwhelming, and want to make the process of applying for financial aid as easy as possible. That’s why our Financial Assistance Representatives are available to meet with you to help you understand financial aid and help you navigate through the application process.
Northwestern College participates in several different types of financial aid programs to enable our Financial Assistant Department to offer you the best possible combination of aid awards. We participate in both the Federal Student Aid Programs and Illinois State MAP Program, along with other miscellaneous financial aid programs from various sources (including Veterans Programs).
Most of our students receive some form of financial assistance. We work hard to help you find the money you need to finance your education, guiding you through the financial aid process and helping you explore different financial aid options. Grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study will assist you in paying for a college education. Read on to learn more about these opportunities.
Remember, you can always contact the Financial Assistant Department at any time and speak with one of our Financial Assistance Representatives if you have any questions regarding the financial aid process. We look forward to helping you!
Grants are need-based awards funded by the federal or state government. Grants are funds that do not require repayment. Learn More
For many students and parents, loans represents an important resource to help finance educational expenses. Northwestern College participates in the federal student loan program which allows students and their parents to borrow money to help meet their educational costs. A loan is a borrowed money that is expected to be paid back with interest. When you take out a student loan, you are making a legal obligation to repay the loan, so carefully consider the amount you borrow. Be a responsible borrower and borrow only what you need. Learn More
The internal scholarships and tuition discounts that we offer are sums of money that do not require repayment. Last year, we made more than $4 million in scholarships available to students just like you. See which ones you qualify for.
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