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Paralegal FAQ

Program | Admission | Tuition | Financial Aid | Transfer | Internship | Placement | Law School

PROGRAM

Q: How many credit hours must be completed in order to receive the BPS-Paralegal degree?

A: The BPS degree requires 120 credit-hours of college coursework which meets Paralegal Studies academic guidelines.

Q: How long will it take me to complete the BPS degree?

A: That depends entirely upon you. If your lifestyle is such that you can only take one course per semester, it will take quite some time. If, however, you can take seven courses each semester, you will be finished in no time.

ADMISSION

Q: How do I apply to the Paralegal Studies Program?

A : First, apply to The University of Memphis by completing an Undergraduate Application for Admission.

Second, take your completed Undergraduate Application for Admission to the Bursar's Office and pay the $25.00 application fee.

Third, obtain and complete the appropriate University College Admission Application from the University College offices in Brister Hall, Room 218.

TUITION

Q: How much does it cost to complete the BPS degree?

A: Unlike the for-profit companies that have gotten into the "business" of teaching and who can quote you an astronomical sum for a six or nine-month paralegal program, University of Memphis tuition is based upon 1) the number of credit hours you take any given semester, and 2) whether you are considered a "resident" or "non-resident" of Tennessee.

FINANCIAL AID

Q: Is financial aid available to Paralegal Studies students?

A: Yes, students pursuing the BPS-Paralegal degree are eligible for financial aid. The University of Memphis' Financial Aid Office can answer additional questions you may have about aid.

Q: Are there any scholarships available to Paralegal Studies students?

A: There are no scholarships on campus specifically for Paralegal Studies students. However, there is a University College Alumni Scholarship for which Paralegal Studies students are eligible. Also, the Tennessee Paralegal Association awards the Lawassa B. Jones Memorial Scholarship on an annual basis. In addition, the University of Memphis' Scholarship Office is a great resource for other scholarship opportunities.

TRANSFER STUDENTS

Q: I took paralegal courses through a correspondence program. Will these course credits transfer to the Paralegal Studies Program?

A: Typically not since these courses are often offered by proprietary schools (for-profit, business-type schools) as opposed to regionally-accredited institutions such as The University of Memphis.

Q: What if I took paralegal courses on the campus of a regionally-accredited institution. Will these course credits transfer to the Paralegal Studies Program?

A: Yes, in most instances, particularly if those courses were actually offered and taught by that institution and its instructors. There has been a proliferation of businesses coming into certain areas and leasing space from regionally-accredited institutions in an attempt to give the public the impression that the institution is actually offering the courses. Be very careful. Contact the institution on whose campus the courses are being offered and ask whether those courses are part of that institution's curriculum.

INTERNSHIPS

Q: How many clock-hours of work must I complete within a legal environment to earn the three hours of college credit required for the paralegal internship?

A: A minimum of 150.

Q: If I already work in a law firm, do I have to complete a paralegal internship?

A: Yes. American Bar Association guidelines encourage all paralegal students to complete an internship.

Q: Since I already work in a law firm and must complete a paralegal internship, must I do my internship in a different legal setting?

A: No. We want you to keep your paycheck coming in so feel free to complete your internship with your current employer.

Q: I am a legal secretary at my firm. May I continue my current duties for 150 clock-hours and receive credit for the internship?

A: Perhaps. American Bar Association and Paralegal Studies academic guidelines require interns to undertake "substantive legal work" as part of their internships. No more than ten percent (10%) clerical work may be a part of the percentage of hours logged for the internship. Some legal secretaries, however, are that in title only and consistently perform substantive legal work.

Q: What if I am unable to complete my internship during the semester in which I am enrolled?

A: You will receive a grade of "I" (i.e., incomplete) and be given an additional 45 days from the end of the semester to complete your internship.

Q: May I enroll in the paralegal internship during a summer term?

A: Yes. Paralegal internships are available year-round.

PLACEMENT

Q: What are my chances of getting a job in the legal field once I complete the Paralegal Studies Program?

A: Your career prospects are excellent. I invite you to see what the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has to say about the paralegal profession.

Q: How can I learn about local and national job openings in the legal field?

A: You may learn about current job openings through several sources:

  • All University of Memphis paralegal students are required to have e-mail access and are placed on our paralegal mail server. Graduates of the program are added to the alumni mail server and receive current announcements which often contain job openings from within our region.

  • Job placement services are available free-of-charge through the University of Memphis Office of Career and Employment Services Center.

  • Area newspapers.

LAW SCHOOL

Q: Why are people using the Paralegal Studies Program as a pre-law program?

A: Unlike medical school where you are actually taught the practice of medicine, law school does not teach you the law. Any law school administrator or professor will tell you that law schools teach students how to "think like a lawyer." That entails an abundance of theory, philosophy, and debate. The Paralegal Studies Program teaches its students the substantive points of the law so that graduates of the program step into their first law class with a level of comfort, assurance, and skills that the typical law student will not have.

Q: Will any of my Paralegal Studies courses transfer to law school?

A: No. Paralegal Studies courses are undergraduate in nature while law courses are considered graduate-level courses.

Q: Is the Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in Paralegal Services sufficient to get me into law school?

A: Absolutely, but don't forget the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test)!!

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Last Updated: 12/7/11