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Prime Real Estate for Paralegal Studies: The Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies Paralegal Studies Program

published December 18, 2006

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<<The paralegal studies program at Georgetown University was established in 1973. In 1977, the program was awarded the approval of the American Bar Association, and to this day, it remains the only ABA-approved paralegal studies program in Washington, DC. The program holds membership in the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA), the National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA), and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).

The program upholds the values set forth by Georgetown University Law Center, which specify that legal education should be available to members of society who already hold full-time employment. It is for this reason that the paralegal studies program at Georgetown University offers an evening education track, just as the law center does. The evening certificate program requires a part-time commitment, takes one year to complete, and is divided into three consecutive 13-week sessions with classes meeting two times per week for three hours. The other option for paralegal study is an intensive certificate program completed during the summer; this option requires a 14-week, full-time commitment and runs from May through August.


According to its website, the paralegal studies program at Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies is very highly regarded in the legal community. Its dedicated faculty members bring broad ranges of experience to their classroom instruction. The website also states that the best measures of the program's success are the fascinating careers of program graduates. Graduates of the Georgetown University paralegal studies program hold esteemed positions in the fields of litigation, corporate transactions, estate administration, communications law, environmental law, criminal law, medical law, real estate, intellectual property, employment law, personal injury law, and domestic relations.

The objective of the program is to empower students to fulfill their potential and become effective members of the legal profession through the integrated fine-tuning of skills, knowledge, and personal values. The courses in the program are academically challenging and cover traditional areas of study offered by all reputable educational facilities. These include, but are not limited to, classes in administrative law, advanced legal research and writing, advanced litigation and trial practice, commercial and contractual relations, corporate law practice, criminal law and procedure, introduction to trademark law, legal ethics and legal technology, and medical law. For students enrolled in the summer intensive certificate program, an internship coordinated by the program director is required. Internships last for two weeks and are unpaid. Interns work full-time in firms, corporations, public service organizations, associations, government agencies, local courts, or federal courts.

Students in the paralegal studies program have access to the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, on the façade of which are carved the words "LAW IS BUT THE MEANS - JUSTICE IS THE END." These words were spoken by student Joseph A. Cantrel at the law center's 50th anniversary celebration. The library's five stories house a collection of more than 1 million volumes. The John Wolff International and Comparative Law Library also holds a large collection of more than 100,000 volumes of private and public international law. On-campus housing is not available to students enrolled in the evening certificate program. However, students in the intensive summer certificate program may be able to acquire limited on-campus housing within certain restrictions.

Job placement, though not guaranteed by the paralegal studies department, is offered to both students and graduates. An updated list of paralegal positions with postings for new job opportunities announced by prospective employers is distributed regularly to students and graduates. Maintaining membership in the Georgetown University Paralegal Studies Program Alumni Association (GUPSPAA) is also a useful method for finding employment as a paralegal, as the association offers students and grads a means of networking and, as the program website says, "strengthening the job bank."

In addition to the wealth of knowledge and networking opportunities made available to students in the paralegal studies program, School of Continuing Studies enrollees are also offered access to Georgetown University's recreational facilities, including its state-of-the-art, three-story fitness center, which features a pool, opportunities to participate in sports, group and individual instruction, and cardio equipment. The Georgetown University campus, in addition to being within walking distance of many government buildings, is also within walking distance of Chinatown and the ethnically and culturally diverse Adams Morgan neighborhood.