Loyola University Chicago

Institute for Paralegal Studies

About Us

Since 1991, Loyola’s Institute for Paralegal Studies has offered a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate approved by the American Bar Association.

The primary goal of the Institute is to prepare students to support 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. Also, Institute courses emphasize the technological skills required in today’s law offices, including the extensive use of online resources and several popular software programs.

Students may earn:

  • A Corporate Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies,
  • A Litigation Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies,
  • A Litigation and Corporate Practice Certificate, or a
  • A Custom Certificate in Paralegal Studies (must be approved by the Director).

Electives present opportunities to explore various topics: Intellectual Property, Immigration Law, Environmental Law, Employment Law, and Estates, Trusts and Wills.

Institute faculty and staff are experienced professionals committed to quality education for paralegals and to promotion of the paralegal role in legal practice. The Director, Marie Harrigan, JD, has two decades of experience as a paralegal educator. She has served on the Paralegal Approvals Commission of the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals as a committee member and as a specially designated site visitor.

The Institute is an active participant in the local legal community and a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the International Practice Management Association, the Association of Legal Administrators, and the American Association for Paralegal Education.

Institute Students

Institute students have various backgrounds: they may be 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.

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.

Mission Statement
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.


  • Students will develop an understanding of the law, the legal and paralegal professions, and the legal process, including the use of technology, appropriate to their expected role in the legal community. Students will acquire practical, technical skills as well as basic knowledge of legal theory, and specialized competency in at least one area of concentration.
  • Students will demonstrate competence in legal research and writing, problem analysis, and critical thinking.
  • Students will display an awareness of ethical, moral, and social issues that contain legal implications, as well as knowledge of the standards of conduct expected of the legal community.
  • Faculty and staff will be committed not only to quality education but also to the promotion of paralegals as essential members of the legal community.

Apply now or request more information about Loyola’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and the ABA approved paralegal program.