About the Program
University Studies offers a Paralegal Studies program approved by the American Bar Association. The program, which began at Hartford College for Women in 1974, was the first legal training program for paralegals in Connecticut. It provides rigorous training in legal specialty courses in preparation for one of the fastest-growing careers in this country.
Paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney in private law firms, banks, public interest and legal aid organizations, governmental agencies, and corporate law departments. They perform a wide variety of legal tasks, such as drafting legal documents, assisting in civil or criminal trial preparation, or preparing articles of incorporation. Their work enables the supervising lawyers to meet the needs of clients more effectively and to deal more efficiently with the complex problems demanding legal expertise.
The Paralegal Studies Program is not designed to prepare students for law school. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as provided by law.
Students are required to take a minimum of 9 (nine) semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses through traditional classroom instruction.
This program has a total of 120 credits combining required general education courses and Paralegal Studies courses, and offers significant opportunity for expanding work in paralegal studies through electives.Learn more
The Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies is designed for the student entering college for the first time or entering with fewer than 60 academic creditsLearn more
The Paralegal Certificate program is designed for students who have a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits (30 credits of which must be in the liberal arts) and therefore have a strong background in general education.Learn more
What is a Paralegal?
Paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney in private law firms, businesses, public interest and legal aid organizations, governmental agencies, and corporate law departments. They perform a wide variety of legal tasks, such as drafting legal documents, assisting in civil or criminal trial preparation, and preparing articles of incorporation. Their work enables the supervising attorneys to meet the needs of clients more effectively and to more efficiently address the complex problems demanding legal expertise.
Paralegals work in many different areas of the law, such as litigation, real estate, corporate, probate and estate planning, family law, environmental, employment, intellectual property, and bankruptcy. Working only under the supervision of attorneys, paralegals:
Interview clients and witnesses;
Conduct legal research and investigation;
Prepare legal documents and correspondence;
Assist at trials and hearings;
Analyze complex procedures and transactions; and
Draft legal pleadings and memoranda.
Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as provided by law. The Paralegal Studies program is not designed to prepare students for law school.
For more information on the paralegal profession visit www.paralegals.org.
Why Paralegal Studies at UHart?
Our program stands out, and here's why:
- We provide a full-service approach to legal education.
- Consistently reviews and updates course offerings to meet the interests of students and the needs of the job market.
- We offer courses year-round with evening and Saturday options.
- A student can complete the Paralegal Certificate in less than a year.
- We offer job counseling and placement services, as well as a vibrant internship program that can place you in the Attorney General's office, a top local law firm, corporate law department, or even provide the opportunity to work with disadvantaged children as an advocate.
- Students can gain substantive experience working in pro bono clinics held on our campus.
- Many of our alumni work in the community, ensuring that you will have a network of professionals to assist as you grow in your career.
The Paralegal Studies program is designed to meet the needs of the adult, part-time student. Students may take classes in the evening, on Saturdays, or combine the two. Paralegal courses are taught year-round.
Students who enter a degree program may transfer legal specialty courses taken at prior institutions, in conjunction with the legal specialty transfer policy, and based on an evaluation by the Program Director.
Students who enter a degree program may transfer legal specialty courses taken at prior institutions, based upon an evaluation by the Program Director. Courses will be accepted if they are from accredited colleges or universities in the United States, are from an ABA-approved paralegal program, and are similar in scope and content to the courses in the Paralegal Studies Program.
The following limits apply to transfer credits of legal specialty courses toward the major or certificate:
- Students may apply no more than 19 credits of transferred legal specialty courses toward the required legal specialty courses for the bachelor’s degree.
- Students may apply no more than 12 credits of transferred legal specialty courses toward the required legal specialty courses for the associate’s degree.
- Students may not transfer any legal specialty courses to the certificate program.
The Paralegal Studies Program does not accept any CLEP or LINCS credit for legal specialty courses.
Note: After matriculation in the associate’s or bachelor’s program, or enrollment in the Paralegal Certificate program, all required Paralegal Studies courses must be taken at the University of Hartford.
The below information includes resources and announcements for current paralegal students at the University of Hartford.
The University of Hartford's Office of Career Services offers its students and graduates one-on-one career counseling, including resume reviews, interviewing techniques, and general job seeking counseling. The Office of Career Services also maintains an online job bank, called Handshake, of jobs offered by local employers seeking paralegal graduates. Handshake allows you to search for jobs and post your resume for prospective employers to view.
The Office of Career Services has counselors who work specifically with paralegal students and graduates. The Office of Career Services also has the "Job Search Guide for Paralegal Studies" that was created by paralegal recruiters, attorneys, paralegals and educators with sample resumes, cover letters, and interview questions. To request an electronic copy of the Guide e-mail Sharron Dillon at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up a copy at the Career Center.
Graduate survey information indicates that for the past three years, approximately 50% of Paralegal Studies graduates are employed as paralegals or are in positions utilizing paralegal skills. Another approximate 33% are in other professions and are not seeking paralegal employment.
Employers of University of Hartford graduates believe that their employees are adequately trained. Employer survey information indicates that for the past two years 100% judge that their University of Hartford graduate was adequately prepared for the tasks they require for the position.
- Students perform "substantive legal work" (paralegal or attorney level work); and
- Students work in an area that is considered "new learning" for the student.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR INTERNSHIPS AND WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?
- Required course for the bachelor's degree in Paralegal Studies and strongly recommended for both the associate's degree and Certificate.
- May take between 3 and 15 credits of internship. For each 3 credits students of internship, must complete 120 hours of work at the internship site and attend 2 one hour in-class sessions. Students can perform more than one internship experience. Students may also arrange an internship at their current job (as long as it constitutes "new learning").
- Must have at least 60 college credits and have taken the following required courses: Introduction to the Legal System, Legal Research and Writing I, Ethics and Professional Responsibility for Paralegals, and the course in the content area in which they wish to do their internship.
Many of our Certificate students recognize the need for work experience on their resumes. They view internships as a way to strengthen their resumes and complement their current background.
Aside from completing the required number of hours at the internship site and in the classroom, students must also complete a number of assignments to be submitted to the Internship Supervisor. The following are some of the requirements:
- Keep a daily journal in Excel of their internship assignments to ensure that they are being given substantive legal work. This is structured similar to a time sheet and is submitted regularly to the Internship Supervisor.
- Create a resume and cover letter responding to a paralegal position posted on CareerBridge. This allows students to highlight their internship work experience and prepares them for their job search.
- Create a portfolio to be used when job searching. The portfolio can include the student's final cover letter and resume, letters of recommendation, examples of work product from the site, and examples of writing samples from some of the Paralegal Studies courses.
- Complete a paper outlining the relationship between their legal courses and the skills that they developed in the internship. The purpose of this assignment is to show evidence of transfer of learning.
- Attend two class sessions where the internship students come together to share their various internship experiences and to discuss issues they have encountered.
- Attend a site visit with their internship site supervisor and the Internship Supervisor halfway through the internship hours.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOR STUDENTS CONSIDERING AN INTERNSHIP?
- Complete an internship application (including a current resume).
- Meet with the Internship Supervisor to discuss areas of interest (type of law, legal setting, past career experience, etc.) and schedule of hours they are available.
- Interview at potential internship site.
- Develop syllabus and assignment list with Internship Supervisor.
- For more information on the Internship Program, contact Sharron Dillon, Internship Supervisor, at email@example.com.
- American Association for Paralegal Educators (AAfPE)
- Central Connecticut Paralegal Association, Inc. (CCPA) Provides for a greatly reduced student paralegal membership rate.
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) Includes free membership for paralegal students enrolled in ABA-approved programs.
- Hartford Country Bar Association (HCBA)
- American Bar Association (ABA)
To view current course offerings, use the Class Search in the Self-Service Center. For search criteria select the term, enter LAH in the "Subj Code" field, then select "Get Classes" to execute the search; this will display courses being offered in the Paralegal Studies Program for the semester that you selected.
Students due to complete their degree should consult with their advisor and complete a degree application. The degree application needs to be submitted, evaluated, and signed by Kellie Westenfeld, the school evaluator, then submitted to the Registrar's office.
The deadline to submit your application to the Registrar's Office is posted on the Academic Calendar. Your application should be submitted to Kellie Westenfeld by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at 860.768.5160, or in person in the Computer Center (CC 231), at least two weeks before the Registrar's deadline to allow time for the evaluation. Generally, the deadlines are as follows:
- June for a September completion
- October for a December completion
- February for a May completion
Contact Kellie Westenfeld at email@example.com with any questions.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to utilize legal terminology competently and generally define the major legal systems and the functions of the law in American society.
- 1.1 Students will be able to utilize legal terminology competently;
- 1.2 Students will be able to describe the American legal system including sources of American law, the judicial system, civil and criminal procedure, and substantive areas of law such as contracts, torts, constitutional law, employment, and other areas; and
- 1.3 Students will be able to identify the functions of law in American society, how they relate to corresponding legal research material, the legislative process, and the judicial structure and system.
Students will understand the ethical rules and concerns in the legal profession.
- 2.1 Students will be able to interpret the attorneys' Code of Ethics, adopted by the State of Connecticut.
Students will utilize legal research techniques including fact gathering and issue identification.
- 3.1 Students will be able to describe the analysis process in determining legal issues pertaining to the facts gathered;
- 3.2 Students will be able to locate primary and secondary legal sources using manual and electronic methods; and
- 3.3 Students will be able to recognize and compare various legal research materials and their applications in the preparation of legal memorandums of law, briefs, and forms in advocacy and non-advocacy writing styles.
Draft a variety of office memorandum and legal documents, accurately prepare legal forms, and summarize legal documents.
- 4.1 Students will be able to apply the different applications of legal writing including interoffice memos, briefs, and forms;
- 4.2 Students will be able to describe and draft the documents necessary to form or change a corporation, to create a sole proprietorship, general and limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations;
- 4.3 Students will be able to describe and draft the documents necessary in a civil litigation suit, such as the preparation of initial client interview, informal factual investigation, pre-trial settlement, pleadings, methods of discovery, and motions;
- 4.4 Students will be able to describe and draft the forms required in the preparation and filing of documents in the settlement of decedents' estates;
- 4.5 Students will be able to prepare the documents essential to residential real estate law and practice, such as warranty deeds and property descriptions; and
- 4.6 Students will be able to draft and complete the forms necessary in practice before an administrative agency.
Students will be able to perform satisfactory entry level paralegal work in a law office, corporate counsel office, governmental agency, judicial setting, or other legal setting where paralegal skills are utilized.
- 5.1 Students will be able to demonstrate, within the context of a portfolio, the skillfully complete paralegal work;
- 5.2 Students will be able to demonstrate a professional attitude toward work, learning, and responsibilities; be dependable in attendance, punctuality, and completion of tasks;
- 5.3 Students will be able to communicate effectively orally and in writing;
- 5.4 Students will be able to demonstrate legal knowledge;
- 5.5 Students will be able to apply problem-solving and technical skills; and
- 5.6 Students will be able to produce an adequate amount of work product, accurately and timely with acceptable quality.
ABA Advisory Board
The ABA Advisory Board at the University of Hartford serves in an advisory capacity and is the liaison between the Paralegal Program and the legal community. The Board plays an active role in keeping the Program abreast of changes and trends occurring within the field and evaluating the Program's curriculum and objectives, the needs of the legal community, and performance of graduates.
The Board includes practicing attorneys, paralegals from the public and private sectors, paralegal managers, faculty, university administrators and several members of the general public.
- Jilda Aliotta, Associate Professor of Politics & Government, UHart
- Deb Boyle, R.P.®, Assistant Professor, Paralegal Studies, Manchester Community College
- Douglas Brown, Chief Learning Officer, Summit Success
- Donna Collins, Associate Editor, Hartford Business Journal
- Sharron D. Dillon, Esq., Program Manager, Paralegal Studies, UHart
- Mary L. Dimock, Officer Manager/Litigation Paralegal, Fazzano & Tomasiewicz
- Gail Faherty, Executive Director, The Haymond Law Firm, PC
- Janice Favreau, R.P.®, Corporate Paralegal, Tradebe Environmental Services, LLC
- David Goldenberg, Dean, Hillyer College, UHart
- Regina C. Graziani, Esq. Program Director, Paralegal Studies Program, UHart
- Pamela Heller, Esq. Staff Attorney, Connecticut Fair Housing Center
- Kenneth LeClerc, Emergency Response Coordinator, Connecticut DEEP
- Patricia McKinley, Alumna, Board of Regents, UHart
- Sharon Pope, Esq., Of Counsel, Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri
- Beth Richards, Director of First and Second Year Writing, English and Modern Languages, UHart
- Jonna Rigon, Legal and Compliance Administrator, Promonotory Fulfillment Services, LLC
- Barbara Wey Siani, Talent Discovery Partner, Personal Healthcare, Genentech, Inc.
- Hon. Lois Tanzer, Judge Trial Referee, Connecticut Superior Court
- Lisa Vooys, R.P.®, Legal recruiting and Professional Development Coordinator, Robinson & Cole, LLP