ABA-Approved Professional Certificate in Paralegal Studies

ABA-Approved Professional Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Classroom Program


15 months


31 Units

UCR Extension

Don't just study law, gain experience. Start with legal theory, and then apply your skills in a unique internship. Our instructors are experienced attorneys and paralegals who have undergone a rigorous approval process. Get the most up-to-date information to work in a variety of legal areas.

Designed For

Individuals who want to:

  • Enter the legal field
  • Make a career change
  • Enhance their legal knowledge

What You'll Learn

  1. Advanced legal knowledge and skills to perform as a paralegal
  2. Current laws and court rules
  3. Academic, ethical and professional standards of the legal profession

Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

What You Can Do With This Certificate

Positions are available in large and small firms, corporations, government or nonprofit organizations. They might include:

  • Paralegal
  • Legal Assistant
  • Arbitrator

What You Should Know

UCR Extension's Professional Certificate in Paralegal Studies is the only ABA-approved program in the Inland Empire.

Certificate vs. Certification

Upon successful completion of our program, you earn a Professional Certificate, but professional certification is a separate, optional process.

  • Only the NALA Certifying Board for Paralegals can certify you.
  • Our curriculum meets the required educational criteria to apply for NALA certification.
  • For more details about certification and how to apply, visit:

Paralegal Internship:

Develop your skills with an optional internship in a law firm, corporate in-house counsel's office, public agency or other legal setting. Gain practical experience and make valuable connections for your career.

Program Overview


24 Units


7 Units

“I came to UCR Extension with a legal background from Mexico. During the Paralegal Studies Professional Certificate program, I acquired the necessary knowledge to understand the U.S. legal system. The instructors are highly qualified, and they gave me the confidence to attend law school in the near future.”

Aida Tamayo

Riverside County Office of the District Attorney
Riverside, CA

Earning the Certificate

Prior to enrolling, please ensure that you meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Possess a bachelor's degree or an associates degree (some vocational associates excluded) from an accredited post-secondary institution OR have completed a minimum of 40 semester units (or 59 quarter units) of college coursework, including a minimum of 18 semester units (or 27 quarter units) of general education courses in at least three different disciplines, such as:
    1. Social and behavioral sciences
    2. English literature and composition
    3. Foreign languages
    4. Mathematics
    5. Fine arts
    6. Humanities
    7. Natural sciences

For more information see How to Earn a Certificate

Certificate Courses

Our certificate programs are designed to be flexible, allowing you the option to take just a few courses or to earn the complete certificate. If choosing to complete the certificate, we recommend you get the most out of your experience by following the suggested completion path below.

Quarter 1

Fundamentals of Law for the Legal Professional

LAW X430

4 units

An overview of the American legal system, federal and California court systems, and administrative law. Topics include:

  • Legal ethics, professional responsibility and the role of the legal professional
  • Overview of civil and criminal law, torts, family and probate law, contracts, real property, and business law
  • Basic concepts of legal research, analysis and writing, including statutory and case law
  • Stages of a lawsuit
  • The basics of civil procedure, litigation, pleadings and discovery
  • Investigation procedures and interviewing
  • Terminology
  • Spotting legal issues
  • Understanding client relationships
  • Law office procedures

Legal Research and Writing I

LAW X431

4 units

Fundamentals of legal research and development of the essential writing skills needed to perform research under the direction of a licensed attorney. Topics include:

  • Preliminary procedures in legal research
  • Techniques of modern legal research and analysis
  • Use and misuse of legal precedent
  • Interpretation of federal, state and municipal legislation
  • Identification of relevant research aids

Quarter 2

Legal Research and Writing II

LAW X432

4 units

A continuation of the legal research and writing skills developed in Legal Research and Writing I, with emphasis on utilizing those skills to:

  • Research and analyze assigned legal issues
  • Present the product of such research and analysis in proper written form.
  • Practice on legal writing skills, including both objective and persuasive writing.

Civil Litigation and Procedures

LAW X435

4 units

State and local rules, laws, procedures, and ethical considerations involved in litigating civil lawsuits. Topics include:

  • Investigation and fact-gathering
  • Parties, jurisdiction and venue
  • Statutes of limitation
  • Legal pleadings
  • Rules, scope, and types of discovery
  • Developing discovery plans
  • Law and motion practice
  • Laws and rules of evidence
  • Trial setting, settlement conferences and alternatives to litigation including mediation and arbitration
  • Pre-trial preparation

Quarter 3

Tort Law

LAW X439

3 units

Torts covered include:

  • Negligence
  • Medical malpractice
  • Misrepresentation
  • Defamation
  • Privacy
  • Unfair competition
  • Products liability
  • Wrongful termination
  • Assault and battery
  • Malicious prosecution

Ethics for the Legal Professional

LAW X433.6

2 units

Ethical rules and guidelines applicable to legal professionals, including the sources of ethical rules and model codes. Hypothetical and actual case studies will focus on common ethical dilemmas, highlighting those areas most affecting the legal professional:

  • Unauthorized practice of law
  • Client confidentiality
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Advertising and solicitation
  • Fees
  • Client funds
  • Competence

Quarter 4

Contract Law

LAW X437.1

3 units

Formation of contracts, the statute of frauds, third-party beneficiary contracts, assignment of rights and delegation of duties, liability for breach of contract, including the law of conditions and discharge, and the impact of the Uniform Commercial Code on traditional contract theory.

“Even with a lawyer glut, the legal profession is struggling to serve everyone in need. Paralegal professionals will absolutely be leading the charge to help close California's access to the justice gap in the coming years. UCR Extension's program is the only ABA-approved program east of downtown L.A., and I'm honored to be part of it.”

K. Steven Blake

Attorney-at-Law, Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director
The Governance Partners LLC
Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA

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