Paralegal Studies Certificate Program in Downtown LA

Paralegal Studies Certificate Program

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Program Description

Offered at Cal State LA Downtown, the Paralegal Studies (PLS) Certificate Program* has been American Bar Association (ABA) approved since 1978, making it one of the earliest approved programs in a university setting in California. The program curriculum is designed to equip students with a strong foundation of legal knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge to a variety of practical tasks required of the profession. As legal professionals, paralegals are able to interview clients, perform legal research, and draft and analyze legal documents.

Program Objectives:

  • Develop and practice oral and written communication skills
  • Develop and practice skills to find answers and problem solve through experiential learning
  • Develop and practice critical thinking skills through writing assignments
  • Develop practical litigation, transactional and technology skills, and create a framework for continued learning in the workforce
  • Develop a framework for the knowledge, skills and ethical obligations of the paralegal profession

Cal State LA's Paralegal Studies Certificate Program satisfies the requirements of Business and Professionals Code Section 6450. However, paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.

Participate in one of our upcoming Open House information sessions.

Who Should Enroll?

This program is ideal for:

  • Individuals interested in becoming part of a legal services delivery team
  • Individuals considering law school
  • Paralegals looking to brush up on their paralegal skills

Tuition & Fees

Total Program Cost: $5,460*
Per Unit Cost: $300
Westlaw Password Fee: $60**
*Program cost does not include the optional Paralegal Internship Course or textbooks.
**The Westlaw fee provides students with access to the electronic Westlaw database for the duration of the semester. Only one Westlaw fee is due per semester regardless of the student’s class load.

Financial Assistance

Note: Federal financial aid is currently not available for the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.

Learn more about Financial Assistance opportunities for this program.

Course Schedule

  • All classes are held in the evening, Monday through Thursday (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.).**
  • Most students finish the program within two or three semesters.

**Class times are subject to change.


Students must have a baccalaureate degree, or an associate of arts or science degree from an accredited post-secondary institution for admission to the program. An associate of applied science degree or an occupational or vocational degree does not satisfy the education requirement. If you completed your undergraduate education at an institution where English was not the primary language of instruction, you must submit evidence of English language proficiency.

The program does not permit students to transfer specialty credits from other institutions; nor does the program award legal specialty credit by course challenge, examination or portfolio.

Course Descriptions

In order to earn your Certificate in Paralegal Studies you must complete each of the required six courses (18 units) with a grade of "C" or higher. PLS 7010 Paralegal Internship is optional and not a required course to complete the program. Students in the Full-Time Compressed Schedule cannot enroll in the internship course concurrently.

PLS 7001 American Legal Systems
Examine the fundamentals of the United States legal systems. Sources of law, procedural requirements, and the role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services will be explored.
PLS 7002 Civil Litigation
Examine civil ligation using contract and tort cases as a backdrop. Initiating a case, discovery, pre-trial, and preparing for trial will be explored.
PLS 7003 Legal Research and Writing
Examine the legal research process and the principles of legal analysis and writing. Use of authority, research tools, and effective writing strategies will be explored.
PLS 7004 Legal Technology
Examine technology commonly used in the delivery of legal services. Word processing, databases, electronic filing, and e-discovery will be explored.
PLS 7005 Transactional Law
Examine common transactional law principles. Contracts, business types, corporate filings, and regulatory forms will be explored.
PLS 7006 Administrative Law
Examine state and federal administrative agencies. Rulemaking, administrative hearings, and common administrative law areas, including immigration, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, tax, and Social Security will be explored.
PLS 7010 Paralegal Internship (Optional Course)
Examine the knowledge, skills and abilities used in the delivery of legal services through an internship position in a law firm, legal department, government agency, or other legal setting. IMPORTANT NOTE: Students considering this course should email Internship Coordinator Lisa Rauhauser to obtain approval and placement assistance. This approval should be obtained the semester before students plan to enroll in the course.

To Apply/Application Deadline

Apply here.

Please submit all Official Transcripts to:

Cal State LA – Paralegal Studies
5151 State University Drive, Golden Eagle Room 220B
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8619

Non-Discrimination Policy

Please read Cal State LA's Non-Descrimination Policy here.


Law firms in need of paralegal interns or employees, please contact PLS Instructor Lisa Rauhauser via email.

For inquiries about the Paralegal Studies program, please contact PaGE Programs via email.