Legal stock

Paralegals play a critical role in law firms, government agencies and corporations. They are qualified to perform many of the same functions as the licensed attorneys who supervise them—from researching relevant laws and compiling evidence to drafting motions and formulating a defense. More clients are demanding the services of paralegals, when possible, to reduce fees. And more lawyers are confidently delegating important tasks to paralegals to save valuable time amid heavy caseloads. These and other factors have contributed to significant growth in the field.

At Northern, you will develop a general understanding of the law and learn:

  • Become proficient in legal research
  • Investigate the facts of a case
  • Write reports to help lawyers prepare for trials         
  • Form well-reasoned arguments
  • Draft legal documents and correspondence              
  • Gather and arrange evidence
  • Develop office management skills
  • Gain specialized knowledge in criminal, family, probate, real estate, and contract law

Program Details

Program Flexibility

Are you intrigued by a career in the legal field, but don’t want to invest the added time and expense required for law school?

Do you want more value/credibility than a paralegal certificate to increase your employment prospects after graduation? Are you looking for an undergraduate degree that’s an ideal precursor to law school?

Are you already employed, but seeking a credential that might propel you into a managerial role?

A paralegal bachelor’s degree from Northern can help you achieve any of these goals. 

Fantastic Faculty

Courses in the paralegal major are taught by a winning combination of dedicated Northern professors committed to student success and licensed attorneys. These attorneys talk the talk (helping you decipher all of that legal jargon); they also walk the walk (sharing lessons and advice based on practical experience). Who knows? That person teaching in the classroom may someday hire you as a professional colleague. 

Tools of the Trade

Northern paralegal students become acquainted with the same computer-assisted research tools used extensively in law schools and firms such as Westlaw. They also learn electronic presentation software favored by attorneys. These tools enhance Northern’s nationally recognized high-tech learning environment, where all full-time students are issued notebook computers, along with a comprehensive software package and technical support.

Job Outlook

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants was projected to grow nearly 17 percent from 2012-2022—faster than the average for all occupations. This is fueled by increasing demands from cost-conscious clients that paralegals complete a bulk of the work formerly handled by attorneys. Law firms realize hiring competent paralegals to meet these demands is essential to their bottom lines.

Salaries range can range as follows, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012. Potential earnings vary according to geographical location, level of responsibility and individual work experience.

  • 75th Percentile - $60,340
  • Median - $46,990
  • 25th Percentile - $36,460

Most paralegals find employment in law firms, government agencies and corporate legal departments. Others settings may include banks, insurance offices and title/abstract companies. Related fields include court clerk/interpreter/reporter, judicial assistant, law clerk/librarian, legal secretary/analyst, municipal clerk, trial court coordinator and administrative assistant.

Contact Us

Paralegal Program
Political Science Department
Ruth Watry, Program Director
200A Gries Hall