Professional and Continuing Education

Pawley Hall, Room 440G
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3177
oupace@oakland.edu

woman holding an open book, standing in a row of full bookshelves

Paralegal Certificate

Click here to sign-up to receive e-mail updates about this program, including information about schedules and registration.


The one year, cohort-based, certificate evening program (non-credit) is for individuals interested in a paralegal career. OU's Paralegal Program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) through its Standing Committee on Legal Assistants. One of the first established in Michigan, Oakland University's Paralegal Program has maintained its ABA-approved status since its initial recognition in 1976. In addition, OU's Paralegal Program is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education and has satisfied all membership requirements as set forth in the Association’s Bylaws and Standing Rules as an Institutional Member of AAfPE.

Contact
Tonia Wernette, Paralegal Program Director
toniawernette@oakland.edu
248-370-4386
Overview

Currently, all Paralegal Program courses are held in a Live Online format, meaning individuals meet remotely in a synchronous format. 

The primary goal of the Paralegal Program at Oakland University is to introduce students to the study of law with emphasis on real-world applications and legal procedures. Classes are taught by attorneys, judges and qualified professionals who understand the role of the paralegal in modern legal practice. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% growth in employment of paralegals and legal assistants between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for paralegals was $50,940 in May 2018. Formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects.

In an effort to reduce costs and increase efficiency, businesses are hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers. These organizations include but are not limited to: 

  • private law firms (largest organization to hire paralegals)
  • corporate legal departments
  • insurance companies
  • real estate and title insurance firms
  • banks
  • court houses

* Please be advised that paralegals may not offer legal services or advice directly to the public, except as permitted by law.  

Schedule and Pricing

Currently, all Paralegal Program courses are held in a Live Online format, meaning individuals meet remotely in a synchronous format. 

This full time program consists of three, 14-week semesters. Classes are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm each semester.  The cohort group will follow the schedule below:

Semester 1 – Ethics and Introduction to Law; Contracts; Torts

Semester 2 – Legal Research and Writing; Litigation; CALR- Computerized Legal Research (on-line)

Semester 3 – Special Topics; Special Topics; Internship – 100 hours (may be completed at your current work place.)  Special topics consists of probate, elder law, auto law and employment law.

COHORT #13

Orientation - Jan. 6, 2022 6:30-8:30pm

First Semester -  January 11 - April 14, 2022

Second semester - May 10, 2022 - August 10, 2022

Third semester - September 6, 2022 - December 13, 2022 (no class 11/24)

Graduation: December 19, 2022, 5:30-7:30pm

COHORT #14 - Fall 2022

Orientation - August 22nd, 2022, 6:30-8:30pm

First Semester – September 6, 2022 – December 15, 2021
(No class Nov. 24, 2022 – Thanksgiving)

Second Semester – January 10, 2023 – April 13, 2023

Third Semester – May 9, 2023 – August 15, 2023

(No class July 4, 2023)

Graduation – August 21, 2023 - 5:00-7:00pm

COHORT #15 - January 2023

Orientation - January 05, 2023, 6:30-8:30pm

First Semester – January 10 – April 13, 2023

Second Semester – May 10 - August 10, 2023

*No class July 4th

Third Semester – September 05 - December 13, 2023

*No class on October 31st or November 23rd

Graduation – Monday, December 18th, 5:30-7:30pm

TUITION

The cost of the one year Certificate in Paralegal Studies is $5,450.  The Orientation Class costs $100 and is nonrefundable. Books and materials are a separate cost. Textbook cost is dependent on student choices regarding book format and other factors. While non-credit professional certificate programs do not qualify for federal financial aid, prospective students should consider the following for tuition payment: 

 

Course Descriptions

The primary goal of the Paralegal Program at Oakland University is to introduce students to the study of law with emphasis on real-world applications and legal procedures. Classes are taught by attorneys, judges and qualified professionals who understand the role of the paralegal in modern legal practice. 

 

Ethics and Introduction to the Law

This course provides an overview of governmental organizations (including Michigan and federal court systems) and sources of law (including statutory law, common law and administrative law).

 

Substantive Law – Contracts

This course provides a comprehensive overview of contract law. 

 

Substantive Law - Torts

This course covers the basic law related to a civil wrong as it applies to personal and property damage. 

 

Legal Research and Writing I

This course provides knowledge of primary and secondary legal resources along with teaching the skills of legal writing. 

 

CALR (Computer Aided Legal Research)

Students will learn how to use electronic resources for solving advanced research problems. Students will review basic Microsoft Office skills, including Word, Excel, and Power Point. Students will also learn how to navigate various databases utilized in legal environments. 

 

Litigation: Case Preparation before Trial

Detailed study of pretrial case preparation: alternate dispute resolution; gathering and organization of materials; legal investigation; client interviewing; and drafting a complaint, an answer, and  affirmative defenses.

 

Internship

This course includes one class meeting and 100 hours law office experience.  Effective resume writing and job hunting skills are also covered.

 

SPECIAL TOPICS I

Auto Law – 7 weeks 

This course provides a basic understanding of the law as it relates to auto insurance.

 

Employment Law - 7 weeks

This course covers areas of the law that deal with employment relationships.  

 

SPECIAL TOPICS II

Probate - 7 weeks

This course examines the substantive, procedural, and practical aspects of probate law under EPIC (Michigan's Estate and Protected Individuals Code). 

 

Estate Planning - 7 weeks

This course provides an overview of the principles related to the control and disposition of property inter vivos and after death. 

Admission & Policies

Admission

See below for information on submitting an application. Students must have completed a minimum of 45 undergraduate credit hours OR have at least 10 years of relevant paralegal experience to be admitted to the program. Students must achieve a grade of "C" (2.0) or better in each class once in the program.

  • Click here to complete the application. Do not forget to upload your resume and one page autobiography outlining your interest in the program.
  • Send all official transcripts to acolind@oakland.edu. They must be sent directly from the institution.
  • International students must provide a WES or ECE credential evaluation.

How to Resolve a Complaint

Students may encounter problem situations during their course of study at Oakland University that may require review by appropriate administrative or academic personnel. This is a description of the problem-resolution procedure established by the university. The procedure provides a fact-finding system for resolving problems between students and faculty or staff members when a review of the issue is not available through other established university procedures. In some cases (e.g. discrimination and harassment), the university has specific procedures which must be followed. 

Each student, faculty member, administrator and staff member has an obligation to resolve problems fairly through discussion between the aggrieved student(s) and the specific university person immediately involved with the problem.

PACE Academic Complaint

Each academic department has its own internal procedure for resolving complaints about classroom situations. A copy of the relevant grievance procedure may be obtained from the involved academic department or school. The student must first contact the department or school and follow the respective grievance procedure within that department.

Depending on the department, the chair, Director or designee may hear the facts of the case or refer it to an internal committee. If the problem is not resolved at this step, the student may contact the dean of the college or school to continue the problem resolution process. For cases involving grade disputes and classroom procedures but not involving discrimination, harassment or illegal behavior, the process stops at the dean level.

PACE Nonacademic Complaint

If the problem is not academically related, the student must first contact the department or school and follow the respective grievance procedure within that department or be referred to the responsible unit. If the problem is not resolved at this step, the student may contact the director of Professional and Continuing Education to seek final resolution. For nonacademic complaints, appeals stop at the director of Professional and Continuing Education.

 Complaint Process:

  1. Student/Participant must email detailed description of complaint along with corresponding documentation to oupace@oakland.edu
  2. PACE Director will contact the complainant with a resolution or to formalize a meeting as part of the complaint exploration process.
Paralegal Resources

General:

Michigan:

Professional Associations:

Paralegal Profession: