The Institute for Paralegal Studies supports Loyola’s mission of promoting knowledge in the service of humanity by educating students to work as competent, effective assistants to lawyers. We believe that rigorous, comprehensive academic instruction, not merely vocational training, is essential for a paralegal to develop critical and ethical judgment. We also seek to promote the professionalism of paralegals, extending their capacity for service to the legal community and ultimately contributing to the advancement of justice in American society.
- Since 1991, Loyola’s Institute for Paralegal Studies has offered a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
- The primary goal of the Institute is to prepare students to work as assistants to attorneys in 21st century sophisticated legal practices. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as authorized by law.
- Loyola’s curriculum has breadth and depth. Seven foundation courses provide a basic knowledge of legal practice, and three concentrations offer advanced instruction in Civil Litigation, Corporate/Commercial Transactions, or Corporate/Real Estate.
- Electives present opportunities to explore various legal topics: Intellectual Property (two courses), Immigration Law, Environmental Law, Employment Law, and Estates, Trusts & Wills.
- Institute courses emphasize the technological skills required in today’s law offices, including the extensive use of online resources and several popular software programs. Some courses are available in blended or online format, using videoconferencing software.
- Paralegal classes meet on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus just north of downtown Chicago. Most classes are held in the Corboy Law Center, which houses the Loyola Law Library (open to paralegal students).
- Institute faculty and staff are experienced professionals committed to quality education for paralegals and to promotion of the paralegal role in legal practice.
- Director Jean Hellman Ryan, JD, LLM, has three decades of experience as a paralegal educator and has served the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals for many years, both as a committee member and as an educational consultant to the group.
- The Institute is an active member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the International Paralegal Management Association, the Association of Legal Administrators, and the American Association for Paralegal Education.
- Institute students have various backgrounds: they are recent college graduates, employees in law offices, or career changers. Some are considering law or graduate school. Others plan to use their legal knowledge in their business careers.
- Institute students typically range in age from 21 to 60. The median age is 31 years old. In the most recent academic year, 70% were female and 30% male, and 45% were minorities.
- Their undergraduate degrees have been earned at universities throughout the United States and often overseas. Academic majors include the liberal arts, fine arts, sciences, business, and education. Seventeen percent have completed graduate work or earned graduate degrees.