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Legal Studies

Legal Studies2019-06-25T13:14:28-05:00

The Legal Studies Program offers four degree options: B.S. Criminal Justice – Legal Studies Concentration, A.S. Legal Assistant, Legal Assistant Certificate, Minor in Legal Studies.

Associate of Science/Certificate – Legal Assistant

The A.S./Certificate in Legal Assistant offers courses that are designed to prepare students to work in the paralegal profession, or in some cases to go on to law school. The skills the student will learn include legal research, interviewing, investigation, legal drafting, preparation of evidence and witnesses for trial, and assisting in the trial of a lawsuit.

Students who already have a B.S. in another discipline may choose a Legal Assistant Certificate to enter the legal profession as a paralegal. Students who qualify may earn a Legal Assistant Certificate while also earning an A.S. or B.S.

Graduates from either degree option will fulfill the following program objectives:

  • Satisfactorily complete all courses, exit exams and other requirements of the program;
  • Perform legal research and analysis by using legal research material;
  • Draft and prepare legal documents;
  • Identify and explain the various functions performed by a legal assistant;
  • Explain the role of the legal assistant working in a law office;
  • Identify ethical issues, rules and standards that a legal assistant must follow; and
  • Perform the functions of a legal assistant under the supervision of a practicing attorney

Our graduates hold positions in law firms, legal departments of banks, insurance companies, land title insurance companies, corporations, legal aid offices, public defender offices, the office of the prosecuting attorney, municipal legal departments and more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $49,500 in May 2016. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

All Missouri Western Legal Studies programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). We have the only ABA approved program at a public institution in Missouri. Our Legal Assistant program is also a charter member of the American Association for Paralegal Education.


Unauthorized Practice Of Law
The Legal Assistant Program is a charter member of the American Association for Paralegal Education. Paralegals cannot practice law. Only attorneys, who are licensed in the state by the Supreme Court, can practice law.

Program Name: Legal Assistant Certificate

This program is designed to be completed in 1 Year (33 Credit Hours).

This program will cost $9,903.16 if completed within normal time for in-state students and $17,537.05 for out-of-state students. There may be additional costs for living expenses. These costs were accurate at the time of posting, but may have changed. 

Of the students who completed this program within normal time, the typical graduate leaves with NA of debt.  Fewer than 10 students completed this program within normal time. Average debt has been withheld to preserve the confidentiality of these students.

The following States do not have licensure requirements for this profession: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa

For more information about graduation rates, loan repayment rates, and post-enrollment earnings about this institution and other postsecondary institutions please click here: https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/

Last Updated June 20, 2019

Legal assistant doing research

Legal Assistant (Associate of Science, A.S.)

The Associate of Science degree with a major in Legal Assistant is designed to provide those individuals who have little or no background or training in law with the skills necessary to work in a law office as an assistant to an attorney.

General Studies
15
Major Requirements
LAT 101Introduction to Law3
LAT 115Paralegal Studies3
LAT 220Legal Research3
LAT 225Litigation3
LAT 250Legal Computer Applications3
LAT 310Legal Drafting3
LAT 400Advanced Legal Research3
LAW 365Practicum I3
or LAW 465 Internship
ENG 108College Writing and Research3
MAT 110Contemporary Problem Solving3
or MAT 112 Finite Mathematics
or MAT 116 College Algebra
PSC 101American National Government3
Restricted Legal Studies Electives
Select twelve credit hours from the following:12
Real Property
Tort Law
Introduction to Mediation
Study Away in Criminal Justice & Legal Studies
Probate Law
Domestic Relations
Civil Rights Law
Conflict Management
Selected Legal Topics
Criminal Evidence
Internship
Business Law I
Business Law II
Family and Child Welfare
Substance Use and Disorders
Death And Dying

 NOTE: Students must complete a Contact Information form prior to graduation. Per ABA program approval guidelines, students must also complete an exit interview with selected department faculty.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Earn a minimum of 62 credit hours (100 level and above, maximum of 6 CED credit hours applicable).
  2. Earn 20 of the last 30 credit hours at MWSU in institutional course work (exclusive of credit by examination).
  3. Participate in required departmental and campus wide assessments. 
  4. No more than 2 courses with a grade of D permitted in major coursework. 
  5. Earn an overall GPA of at least 2.00 and a major GPA of at least 2.0.
  6. Fulfill the Missouri Constitution requirement.
  7. Successfully pass the Missouri Higher Education Civics Achievement exam. 

Legal Assistant Certificate

Core Requirements
LAT 101Introduction to Law3
LAT 115Paralegal Studies3
LAT 220Legal Research3
LAT 225Litigation3
LAT 250Legal Computer Applications3
LAT 310Legal Drafting3
LAT 400Advanced Legal Research3
LAW 365Practicum I3
or LAW 465 Internship
Restricted Electives
Select nine credit hours from the following:9
Real Property
Tort Law
Introduction to Mediation
Study Away in Criminal Justice & Legal Studies
Probate Law
Domestic Relations
Civil Rights Law
Conflict Management
Selected Legal Topics
Criminal Evidence
Business Law I
Business Law II
Family and Child Welfare
Substance Use and Disorders
Death And Dying

NOTE: Students must complete a Contact Information form prior to graduation. Per ABA program approval guidelines, students must also complete an exit interview with selected department faculty.

Graduation Requirements 

  1. Earn a minimum of 30 credit hours (100 level and higher, maximum of 6 CED credit hours applicable).
  2. Earn 9 of the last 15 credit hours at MWSU in institutional coursework (exclusive of credit by examination).
  3. Participate in required departmental and campus wide assessments. 
  4. No more than 2 courses with a grade of D permitted in major coursework.
  5. Earn an overall GPA of at least 2.5.
Gainful Employment Disclosures – 2019

Program Name: Legal Assistant Certificate

This program is designed to be completed in 1 Year (33 Credit Hours). 

This program will cost $9,903.16 if completed within normal time for in-state students and $17,537.05 for out-of-state students. There may be additional costs for living expenses. These costs were accurate at the time of posting, but may have changed.  

Of the students who completed this program within normal time, the typical graduate leaves with NA of debt.  Fewer than 10 students completed this program within normal time. Average debt has been withheld to preserve the confidentiality of these students.

The following States do not have licensure requirements for this profession: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa

For more information about graduation rates, loan repayment rates, and post-enrollment earnings about this institution and other postsecondary institutions please click here: https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/

Last Updated June 20, 2019

Are you ready to declare this major? Download, sign and submit the form to the Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Social Work Department.

Mapping your degree plan is important. Consult with your academic advisor to create a plan and monitor it regularly.