Ways to Learn

  • Hybrid
  • In Person

Quick Facts

  • 7 quarters full time
  • 8 quarters part time
  • Minimum 180 units
  • Evening only

Overview

Since 1965, John F. Kennedy University College of Law has been a leading force for public-interest legal causes in Contra Costa County and throughout the Bay Area. JFK University’s ABA-approved Legal Studies Program builds off our College of Law’s half-century of experience educating successful, socially conscious legal professionals.

Our bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies combines our Integrated Paralegal Certificate Program with the only bachelor’s degree in Northern California approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

JFK University’s unique degree completion program allows eligible students to satisfy the California paralegal education requirements after their first year of study while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies in as little as three additional quarters of coursework. This combination provides graduates with a broad range of options for pursuing productive, impactful careers in the law.

Note: Paralegals cannot provide legal advice except as directed by an attorney nor can they establish a client/business relationship or represent a client.

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Highlights

  • Only legal studies bachelor’s degree in Northern California to be ABA-approved
  • Paralegal Certificate Program integrated into first-year curriculum
  • Only undergraduate Legal Studies program in the Bay Area offering full access to an on-campus law library
  • Most textbooks are included in the tuition

PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students completing the Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies will be able to:

Demonstrate proficiency in legal writing and analysis.

Describe and assess the ethical obligations and limitations of legal professionals in specific factual situations.

Demonstrate proficiency in legal research, both online and in the library.

Demonstrate proficiency in drafting of discovery.

Apply analytical and creative thinking skills.

Demonstrate proficiency in oral communication.

Describe the role of diversity in American Jurisprudence.

Big things start with a simple yes.

Why JFKU

A Degree that Gives you Options

Combining the only ABA-approved Legal Studies undergraduate program in Northern California with an embedded ABA-approved Paralegal Certificate Program, the JFK University College of Law’s Legal Studies Degree-Completion Program puts undergraduate students on a pathway to success in the legal profession, whether they decide to pursue a career as a paralegal or continue on to law school.

Advanced Legal Technology Concentration

This 4-course, 12-unit concentration may be completely embedded into the BA Legal Studies program without adding any extra units. The concentration gives paralegals and legal professionals an edge by preparing them to fill an existing technology gap in the legal world. Students gain software and project management skills specifically geared toward the profession. All courses except for one are taken online.

Internships that Offer Experience and Build your Resume

For students looking to get a head start on their legal careers, our Legal Studies program offers optional internship opportunities at local law firms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and community law clinics. Students who take advantage of these internships leave our program with an edge on the job-seeking competition.

An Entire Law School at your Disposal

Housed in the JFK University College of Law, the ABA-approved undergraduate Legal Studies program is the only such program in the Bay Area to offer a complete on-campus law library where students can hone their legal research skills. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate with JD candidates on real cases in the College’s highly regarded community law clinics.

Curriculum

REQUIREMENTS

Students must complete a minimum of 180 quarter units to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies, including 21 units of core requirements, 47 upper division units in the legal studies area, and 8 units of electives.

Fall - First Year
Units
PLS 3001 Introduction to Law
4
This course provides students with an overview of the American legal system and introduces students to various legal fields and topics. Legal vocabulary and legal writing will be emphasized. This course will also provide an overview of the role of paralegals in a work environment while concentrating on the various regulations and ethical guidelines governing the work of paralegals.
PLS 3005 Tort Law
4
This course will introduce the student to the broad area of civil tort law including negligence, intentional torts, strict liability, product liability, and nuisance. Privileges and defenses to various torts will also be introduced. Students will acquire the knowledge to define and evaluate tort law to specific factual situations.
PLS 3004 Legal Ethics
2
This course provides an overview of the legal ethics facing paralegals today. This course will extensively cover the ethical rules governing paralegals developed by the American Bar Association in conjunction with the various local and state regulations pertaining to the professional work of paralegals. Emphasis will be placed on the evaluation of real-life ethical dilemmas encountered by paralegals in the workforce.
Winter - First Year
Units
PLS 3002 Legal Research
4
This course provides an introduction to legal research. It is designed to provide the student with a comprehensive knowledge of research materials and tools including giving the student a working knowledge of the use of primary and secondary sources with emphasis on research strategies. Students will learn how to locate sources of law, the use of proper citation method, how to Shepardize case law, and research codes and statutes. This course will also focus heavily on the use of computer-assisted legal research.
PLS 3003 Legal Writing
4
This course is the advanced writing course, reinforcing the art of analyzing legal problems, writing clear and concise legal memoranda and briefs. This course will emphasize the writing component of the paralegal profession by requiring the student to research various legal problems and communicate their findings in their proper written format.
Legal Specialty Focus Course
4
Spring - First Year
Units
PLS 3008 Litigation I
4
This course is designed to introduce the student to civil litigation in federal and state courts. The rules of civil procedure will be the focus, with emphasis in the drafting of complaints, answers, and motion practice. Students will be responsible for the drafting of numerous legal documents by way of practical exercises. Additionally, this course will provide students with various interviewing and investigating skills relevant to paralegal work in a law office setting.
Legal Specialty Focus Course or Internship
4
Summer - First Year
Units
PLS 3010 Legal Technology Apps
4
This course is designed to introduce students to various types of technology often used in legal environments. The student will interact directly with the technology throughout the course. The student will be exposed to the management of a law office, including software utilized by firms.
PLS 3009 Litigation II
4
This course covers evidence, discovery, trial preparation, trial practice, appeals, and non-judgment matters. Students will continue building expertise in drafting legal documents and will develop skills in organizing documents and preparing for trial including the use of technology.
PLS 3011 Capstone
1
This is the capstone course for the Paralegal Certificate Program. Students will use their skills and knowledge acquired throughout the curriculum to interview clients, prepare pleadings and discovery, and perform legal analysis through the drafting of legal memoranda.
PLS 3103 Advanced Legal Writing
4 (BA ONLY)
This course is the advanced writing course, required for the BA students. This course will reinforce the art of analyzing legal problems, and writing clear and concise legal correspondence, e-mail, memoranda and briefs. Students will conduct research and write a research paper, as well as draft other legal documents.
Fall - Second Year
Units
BUS 3400 Business Communication
4
This course addresses basic skills needed by students to both write effectively and understand verbal and nonverbal communication. Students will develop competencies in business presentations, professional business writing, team communication and identifying techniques to improve effective communication among diverse workplace audiences.
LIB 3146 Information Literacy
2
This course is designed to be taken prior to or concurrently with LIB 3100 Critical Thinking and Writing. Students receive an introduction to library and electronic research, including the skills to successfully find, retrieve, evaluate and use information. Students then focus on the process of conducting research using library and electronic resources in relation to a topic of their choice. This intensive course provides hand-on work in the computer lab with guidance from the instructor. Hybrid or Online.
PLS 3101 Accounting for the Legal Professional
4
This course introduces the basic concepts and principles of accounting. This is an introductory course and, as a result, assumes no prior knowledge or experience with accounting. Objectives of this course include: (1) understanding how accounting concepts and financial statements affect legal issues, (2) a working knowledge of accounting; (3) the ability to understand the language of accounting; (4) enhanced ability to communicate with those in the accounting profession; and (5) the ability to critically review and analyze financial statement information.
SVL 4000 Service Learning
0
As part of JFK University's initiative, JFKU Engaged, to encourage student engagement in our communities, all new students who enrolled in Winter 2015 and after must perform 30 hours of community service as a requirement for graduation. Through this online course, students will submit a service learning proposal, maintain a log of hours worked, write a reflection and final essay, and complete a final project summary. Students will receive/obtain feedback from their site/project supervisor.
Winter - Second Year
Units
LIB 3100 Critical Thinking and Writing
4
Focuses on academic essay writing, rhetorical analysis, and critical thinking; designed particularly to help upper-division students craft better academic essays. Students work on the organization, mechanics, and coherence of their writing and build greater confidence in their ability to write. Students also discuss and practice the fundamental tools of critical thinking, analyze rhetorical devices and targeted audiences of different texts, and attempt to apply their understanding to their own expression. The course helps students examine thesis, types of evidence, and counter arguments as well as movements between concrete and abstract, personal and universal. Each quarter, the course will be organized around a different interdisciplinary theme.
PLS 3113 Critical Thinking in Law and Business
4
Addresses the interaction of law and business and the societal issues that must be a part of successful and responsible business activities.
PLS 3006 Contract Law
4
This course is designed to introduce the student to the area of contract law. Contract information will be emphasized along with evaluation of contract disputes, discharge of performance and resulting damages, and the various remedies available for breach of contract.
Spring - Second Year
Units
PLS 3111 Law and Social Justice
4
This is a survey course examining the civil rights of the various groups studied including people of color, people with disabilities, and gays and lesbians. Sexual discrimination against both women and men will be studied as well.
PLS 3033 Public Benefits Law
4
This course examines the law and regulations surrounding our public benefits in both our state and federal government systems. Emphasis is placed on healthcare law, social security, the ADA, welfare, and regulations governing the rights of the elderly.
PLS 3012 Capstone
3
This is the capstone course for the Legal Studies Program. Students will use their skills and knowledge acquired throughout the curriculum to perform substantive legal work in preparation for their entry into the legal profession.
Winter - First Year
Units
PLS 3002 Legal Research
4
This course provides an introduction to legal research. It is designed to provide the student with a comprehensive knowledge of research materials and tools including giving the student a working knowledge of the use of primary and secondary sources with emphasis on research strategies. Students will learn how to locate sources of law, the use of proper citation method, how to Shepardize case law, and research codes and statutes. This course will also focus heavily on the use of computer-assisted legal research.
PLS 3003 Legal Writing
4
This course is the advanced writing course, reinforcing the art of analyzing legal problems, writing clear and concise legal memoranda and briefs. This course will emphasize the writing component of the paralegal profession by requiring the student to research various legal problems and communicate their findings in their proper written format.
Legal Specialty Focus Course
4
Summer - First Year
Units
PLS 3010 Legal Technology Apps
4
This course is designed to introduce students to various types of technology often used in legal environments. The student will interact directly with the technology throughout the course. The student will be exposed to the management of a law office, including software utilized by firms.
PLS 3009 Litigation II
4
This course covers evidence, discovery, trial preparation, trial practice, appeals, and non-judgment matters. Students will continue building expertise in drafting legal documents and will develop skills in organizing documents and preparing for trial including the use of technology.
PLS 3011 Capstone
1
This is the capstone course for the Paralegal Certificate Program. Students will use their skills and knowledge acquired throughout the curriculum to interview clients, prepare pleadings and discovery, and perform legal analysis through the drafting of legal memoranda.
PLS 3103 Advanced Legal Writing
4 (BA ONLY)
This course is the advanced writing course, required for the BA students. This course will reinforce the art of analyzing legal problems, and writing clear and concise legal correspondence, e-mail, memoranda and briefs. Students will conduct research and write a research paper, as well as draft other legal documents.
Winter - Second Year
Units
LIB 3100 Critical Thinking and Writing
4
Focuses on academic essay writing, rhetorical analysis, and critical thinking; designed particularly to help upper-division students craft better academic essays. Students work on the organization, mechanics, and coherence of their writing and build greater confidence in their ability to write. Students also discuss and practice the fundamental tools of critical thinking, analyze rhetorical devices and targeted audiences of different texts, and attempt to apply their understanding to their own expression. The course helps students examine thesis, types of evidence, and counter arguments as well as movements between concrete and abstract, personal and universal. Each quarter, the course will be organized around a different interdisciplinary theme.
PLS 3113 Critical Thinking in Law and Business
4
Addresses the interaction of law and business and the societal issues that must be a part of successful and responsible business activities.
PLS 3006 Contract Law
4
This course is designed to introduce the student to the area of contract law. Contract information will be emphasized along with evaluation of contract disputes, discharge of performance and resulting damages, and the various remedies available for breach of contract.

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