FAQs: Legal Studies

» Are there any entrance requirements to register as a legal studies major at Becker College?
» If I enroll in legal studies, may I take courses outside of the legal studies program?
» Does Becker College offer internships in legal studies?
» Will the Becker College legal studies program help me succeed in law school?
» If I choose not to go to law school, will the Becker College legal studies program provide me with career preparation?
» What career paths are available after graduation from the legal studies program?
» What's the difference between a “paralegal” and a “legal assistant”?
» What are typical paralegal responsibilities and what can I not do as a paralegal?
» In what areas of law do paralegals work?
» Will Becker College help me find a job in legal studies field?
» What are the qualifications of the professors who teach in the legal studies program?
» Will it be difficult to contact my professors?
» Why is Becker’s location an asset?
» Do I need certification to work as a paralegal?
» Why should I choose Becker College’s legal studies program?

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Q: Are there any entrance requirements to register as a legal studies major at Becker College?

No. There are no requirements beyond those required by the College to be admitted as a college-credit, degree-seeking student.


Q: If I enroll in legal studies may I take courses outside of the legal studies program?

Yes. Students may minor in English and take other courses at Becker College. In addition, through the Colleges of Worcester Consortium, students may take courses at the College of the Holy Cross, Clark University, Assumption College, Anna Maria College, WPI, and Worcester State University.


Q: Does Becker College offer internships in legal studies?

Yes. Becker College will help you line up an internship in the legal community and will monitor your progress as you work your way through it. Internships are strongly recommended and often lead to employment. Paralegals have found internship opportunities in private law firms, state attorney offices, legal aid offices, title companies, corporate legal departments, judicial offices and elsewhere.


Q: Will the Becker College legal studies program help me succeed in law school?

That depends a great deal on you — your goals, your work ethic and your record at Becker. For some of our graduates, their Becker College experience has proven to be invaluable. Keep in mind, though, that, while a number of our students aspire to become lawyers, the primary goal is to prepare you to enter the work force, ready to work in the legal field, upon graduation.

Still, for students who are focused on an eventual law school experience, some of the core skills you should cultivate in our program — legal research, legal writing and legal analysis — form the cornerstone of a good legal education. Becker College students will learn the fundamentals in a host of substantive law subjects, a number of which — contracts and torts, for example — are standard fare for first-year law students. As a member of our program, you should also acquire a sense of perspective about the legal profession.


Q: If I choose not to go to law school, will the Becker College legal studies program provide me with career preparation?

The legal studies curriculum, which has a solid concentration in liberal arts, provides students with valuable knowledge and skills they can use in any profession. These skills include writing, analytical thinking, comprehension, and public speaking.


Q: What career paths are available after graduation from the legal studies program?

There are many career paths which a graduate may choose to pursue. Chief among them is obtaining employment with a private law firm or corporate legal department, focusing on a particular area or areas of legal specialization. You may also pursue law school; working as a paralegal for a governmental or quasi-governmental unit or public interest law firm; working in many different capacities for a title insurance company (e.g., title searcher, title examiner, closing officer); working in the legal department of a bank; becoming a freelance or independent paralegal; and many other paths. If you are interested in pursuing additional career paths, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor/Paralegal website, or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) website. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 22 percent between 2006 and 2016.


Q: What's the difference between a “paralegal” and a “legal assistant”?

For quite a few years the two terms were considered synonymous and described a person who did substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney. More recently, a trend has been developing among many states, law firms and other employers that applies the description only to the term “paralegal,” and applies the term “legal assistant” to those who have less legal education, those who are assistants to paralegals or paralegals-in-training, or those whose duties in a law office are primarily administrative. At this point, it is far more important to focus on function rather than title. Whether we use the term “paralegal, “legal assistant,” or both, our legal studies program prepares graduates to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney.


Q: What are typical paralegal responsibilities and what can I not do as a paralegal?

Paralegals perform a number of varying tasks such as: investigating facts, drafting legal documents, performing legal research, interviewing clients and witnesses, maintaining contact with clients, maintaining attorney’s calendar and docketing systems and maintenance of legal files.

A paralegal/legal assistant cannot give legal advice, represent a client in court, establish a fee, or accept a case on behalf of an attorney.


Q: In what areas of law do paralegals work?

Becker College graduates have found positions of progressive responsibility in private law firms, state attorney offices, legal aid offices, title companies, corporate legal departments, judicial offices and elsewhere. Paralegals work in many areas of law including: litigation, real estate, corporate, probate and estate planning, intellectual property, family law, labor law, and bankruptcy. Many paralegals also work in other non-legal positions with governmental agencies and private sector businesses.


Q: Will Becker College help me find a job in the legal studies field?

Wherever possible, Becker will provide you with opportunities to network with local contacts. Additionally, the legal studies program will help you prepare your resume and career services can assist you in learning how to conduct yourself during an interview.


Q: What are the qualifications of the professors who teach in the legal studies program?

Becker College legal studies courses are taught by faculty members who are qualified because of their education and experience and meet the rigid standards of the ABA. All legal studies faculty have earned their Juris Doctor degree (J.D.). They are also legal professionals with substantial experience in the practice of law, and have significant experience hiring, training and/or managing paralegals in the field. Beyond these qualifications, the College's legal faculty are dedicated to enhancing and supporting the paralegal profession and to helping students maximize their potential.


Q: Will it be difficult to contact my professors?

Not at all. Many professors are here well beyond their required office hours. In addition, students have access to professors through email, office phone, and in some cases home and cell phone.

Becker College legal studies courses are taught by faculty members whom are qualified by education and experience to teach students and all meet the rigid standards of the ABA. First, all legal faculty have earned their Juris Doctor degree (J.D.). That means they all earned their four-year bachelor's degree and then attended law school for an additional three years to earn their J.D. degrees. Second, all legal studies faculty are legal professionals with substantial and long experience in the practice of law, as well as significant experience hiring, training and/or managing paralegals in the field. Beyond these qualifications, all of the College's legal faculty are dedicated to enhancing and supporting the paralegal profession and to helping students maximize their potential.


Q: Why is Becker’s location an asset?

Becker is a fifteen minute walk to the largest library in Central Massachusetts. This facilitates access to more resources, as well as internships. Worcester also has a state of the art brand new courthouse. Becker College maintains a strong reputation for academic excellence. We offer an array of student services that begins when you enroll and continues through graduation and your career. The legal studies department will assist you not only in preparing for a job, but in finding one as well. In addition, legal studies students have free access to the Law Library across from the new courthouse on Main Street in Worcester. This access provides a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in legal research.

Becker College strives to maintain the highest quality Legal Studies education program. A degree from Becker College can be your first step to a rewarding and successful career as a paralegal.


Q: Do I need certification to work as a paralegal?

Although you do not need a certification to work as a paralegal, there are nationally recognized certifying exams for paralegals. These certifications sometimes provide graduates with an extra edge in the job market.


Q: Why should I choose Becker College’s legal studies program?

Here are four key reasons:

  • Becker’s legal studies program is innovative and flexible;
  • The faculty is dedicated to students' success;
  • Unique events and opportunities are available; and
  • Many graduates go on to get their J.D. degree.

If you want a high-quality undergraduate legal education and you are willing to meet the challenges of the program, there is a place for you at Becker College.

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