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Ramapo College’s Center for Innovative and Professional Learning has affiliated with The Center for Legal Studies (CLS) to deliver the online instruction for the Paralegal and Advanced Paralegal Certificates. CLS brings decades of experience in the delivery of online coursework with a focus on curriculum for the legal profession. Students are trained to perform legal research and in the writing skills necessary to become a successful paralegal!

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A Message from CLS

Since 1980, CLS has educated thousands of students through colleges and universities around the country who wish to pursue work as legal support professionals. The program is designed to meet the highest state requirement for working paralegals in the country, currently California (California Business and Professions Code § 6450). The curriculum and online training format created by CLS were recently awarded top honors by Thomson West Publishing International.

Online Classes/Schedule

Online sessions are offered six times each calendar year. Each online session is seven weeks long and students may begin any course at the start of any online session.

How Do I Benefit?

Flexibility and convenience are number one!  The online Paralegal programs are designed to appeal to adult learners as affordable and convenient credentialing options that meet their academic and job-seeking goals in a short span of time. The asynchronous online aspect of the program makes it convenient for working adults seeking a career change and others who do not want to significantly alter their ongoing, everyday lives.

The programs are also ideal for current college students who need to fit this additional credentialing coursework into their regular credit-bearing course schedule during any academic semester. And, completion of the certificates creates the opportunity for students to seek work in the legal profession even while pursuing graduate or law school.

Upon successful completion of both non-credit certificates, graduates hold the credentials to seek paralegal employment in any state and students who hold a bachelor’s degree in any subject may choose to take the voluntary NALA CLA exam to receive the title of Certified Legal Assistant-Paralegal from the National Association of Legal Assistants or the PCC Exam (Paralegal Core Competency Exam) by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations to receive the title of CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, job projections for the paralegal profession continue to show faster-than-average employment growth. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals is expected to grow 17% between 2012 and 2022. Findings show that the demand for paralegals is increasing as employers, in an effort to reduce costs, hire paralegals to perform tasks that have traditionally been carried out by attorneys.

Paralegal Career Resources (PDF)

How Long Will it Take?

The Certificate sessions are 14 weeks each and the Paralegal Certificate and Advanced Paralegal Certificate Courses together provide a total of 360 clock hours of instruction. In addition, online participants should expect to spend at least 45-50 hours reading and preparing assignments and tests for each seven-week session.

The Paralegal Certificate is 90 clock hours andprovides an overview of the legal system, legal research, legal writing, civil procedure, ethics, criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal evidence, torts and contracts. Student grades are based on completion of weekly tests, online participation forums and writing assignments.

The Advanced Paralegal Certificate is 270 clock hours and builds upon the Paralegal Certificate that is a prerequisite for the course. It offers specialized online classes to extensively build upon the student’s knowledge of law and paralegal studies with content that focuses on specialized facets of contemporary law. Participants who successfully complete the six required topics of the Advanced Paralegal Certificate course earn up to 27 CEU’s.

Granting of Certificate

Upon a student’s successful completion of the requirements, The Center for Legal Studies (CLS) awards the Paralegal Certificate and/or Advanced Paralegal Certificate directly to the student.


Per contract with Ramapo College of New Jersey, CLS hires instructors who are highly qualified attorneys and paralegals with years of relevant experience in the legal field. Students have access via email to their CLS instructor throughout the online course.


Students taking the online certificate programs receive a personal course username and password via email from CLS at the start of each session. CLS posts six online sessions throughout the year. Students may log into the CLS Website to begin their courses at the start of any session and course content is available 24 hours a day for the duration of the course. The only technical requirement is that the student must have access to the Internet. In addition to students having access via email to their CLS instructor throughout the online course, CLS provides ongoing administrative and technical support for students.

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Paralegal Certificate-Content Overview

To review the detailed syllabi for the Paralegal Certificate course, visit:

After completion of the core requirements of the Paralegal Certificate, participants will demonstrate the following skills through successful completion of all required coursework and assignments:

  • locate commonly used legal reference materials;
  • explain how the sources of law research materials are used, their hierarchy, and the difference between primary, secondary, and finding tool resources;
  • identify and frame a simple legal issue, and identify the facts that relate to it;
  • conduct legal research using a computer-assisted legal research tool, such as WESTLAW;
  • articulate the parts of a well-written legal opinion and formal legal memorandum and the purpose each serves;
  • prepare a formal legal memorandum dealing with a simple legal issue;
  • use citations in written legal material;
  • articulate the significant differences between an objective memorandum and persuasive writing; and
  • brief a case

Success in acquiring the above learning outcomes, as evidenced by the weekly quizzes and assignments, trains students to assist trial attorneys, interview witnesses, investigate complex fact patterns, research the law and to assist in preparing cases for courtroom litigation.

Advanced Paralegal Certificate-Content Overview

These specialized online classes are available to students who wish to extensively build upon their knowledge of law and paralegal studies with classes in specialized facets of contemporary law.  These classes build upon the Paralegal Certificate course that is a prerequisite for this class.

Students are required to complete six Advanced Paralegal course topics to complete the requirements for the online Advanced Paralegal Certificate. Each course topic is offered in a seven-week online session. Students may take up to three topics per seven-week session. Individual topics may also be selected and course topics do not have to be taken in any particular order.

To review the detailed syllabi on any of the Advanced Topics offered through the Advanced Paralegal Certificate course, visit:

Advanced Topics Offered:

  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Victim Advocacy
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Mediation and Other Forms of ADR
  • Business Law and Practices
  • Estate Planning: Probate, Wills, and Trusts
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties
  • Immigration Law
  • Water Law
  • Education Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Intellectual Property
  • Real Property Law

Advanced Topics-Descriptions:

Bankruptcy Law

Bankruptcy is an area of law that has provided significant employment for paralegals. This course examines the debtor-creditor relationship and the difference between voluntary and involuntary bankruptcy, both under Chapter 7 (liquidation) and 11 (reorganization). Students study the Bankruptcy Code in depth and learn how to prepare the most important bankruptcy forms.

Victim Advocacy

This intensive online program is designed to train and qualify students to provide assistance to crime victims. The course provides an overview of criminal procedure and discusses the devastating effects crime can have on its victims. Students learn how paralegals as victim advocates can assist their office’s clients who have been victimized by crime.

Advanced Legal Research

Advanced and specialized approaches to use the legal resources available in a law library, and elsewhere, are examined. The conceptual differences between computer-assisted legal research and hard copy research is taught. Students also learn how to formulate WESTLAW search queries and effectively and efficiently use WESTLAW and other online legal research methods as timesaving devices in legal research and legal writing.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Students learn about Alternative Dispute Resolution, or dispute resolution techniques that may better suit the needs of parties than does traditional litigation. This intensive course is designed to train paralegals in the art of negotiation and how to participate in the conflict mediation processes. Participants review the growth and application of settlement options in the United States. The course focuses on both traditional and non-traditional dispute resolution options. Specific attention is given to the traditional techniques of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration and more modern variations, such as summary jury trials and mini-trials. Topics include divorce settlement mediation and labor arbitration. The course covers the mediation process, the role of the mediator, and problems encountered in mediation and focuses on reaching reasonable solutions.

Business Law and Practices

This course examines the law and practice of business organizations and the paralegal’s potential functions in this area of law. It begins with an examination of basic agency law, followed by a study of the fundamental structure and the most important legal doctrines relating to general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, small closely held corporations, and large publicly-traded corporations.

Estate Planning: Probate, Wills & Trusts

This course explores the paralegal’s role in estate planning. The requirements of creating enforceable wills and trusts are covered. A study of resulting and constructive trusts is provided.

Criminal Law

The course begins with an overview of the concept of punishment and goes on to study the burden of proof and criminal defenses; it also provides a critical look at the most common crimes. Students learn common terminology in criminal law and how to consider a crime thoroughly in terms of its elements.

Family Law

Family law pertains to the formation and dissolution of domestic relations, including the law of marriage, annulment, separation and dissolution, maintenance, and custody and support of children. This course covers the differences between community and separate property, the classification of property, and the impact of such classification. The role of the paralegal in family law practice and the importance of mediation of domestic issues are also discussed.

Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties

Students are introduced to the fundamentals of the federal constitution, including the institution of judicial review, the limitations on federal judicial power, the constitutional roles of the legislative and executive branches, due process of law, and individual rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Possible future trends of the U.S. Supreme Court are also explored. This course focuses on individual civil liberties and 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claims, emphasizing redress for violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution.

Immigration Law

This course explores all significant aspects of the immigration and naturalization process in the United States, including the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.  Topics include worker and student visas, as well as Family Residence requirements, and the removal process.  Finally, the course covers citizenship and the requirements for an immigrant to become a citizen.  Paralegals who plan to work in this challenging and demanding area will find the information gained in this course especially helpful in a rapidly growing specialty in the law.

Water Law

This intensive class is designed to give students, particularly from Colorado and neighboring states, an appreciation of the importance of allocation of water resources in the American West.   Participants will learn about the common law and civil law approaches to the distribution of water in arid regions, the transportation of water from one basin to another, and the hierarchy of competing uses for the water.  Water was first viewed as a means of transportation (and the main impetus behind dispensing with the Articles of Confederation in favor of the Constitution), and later as power for industry, irrigation for agriculture, and the water resource behind the growth of cities of the American West.  Las Vegas and Phoenix, for example, would have been mere refueling stations on the transcontinental railroads were it not for massive water projects to make the desert bloom. Special emphasis will be given to Colorado’s unique system of water courts and water judges.

Education Law

This course focuses on the laws that govern America’s public school system, as well as home schooling, including student rights regarding discipline, suspension, personal grooming, testing and grading, and drug testing.  Topics such as segregation, integration, dress codes and drug testing are essential, not only for paralegals seeking full or part-time law office employment, but also for teachers, school counselors and administrators working in the schools.

Criminal Procedure

In Criminal Procedure, students are presented with a clear and concise overview of the Constitutional protections that are provided to the accused in the United States, including the law of search and seizure, Miranda rights, Fifth Amendment protection, and the right to an attorney.  The knowledge gained in this course is essential to full or part-time law office employment, as well as employment with government agencies in the criminal justice system.

Intellectual Property

This cutting edge course provides in depth instruction in one of the most dynamic and challenging areas of the law.  Paralegals working in Intellectual Property work on copyrights, patents, trademarks, unfair competition, and protection of trade secrets, to name a few.  The knowledge gained in this course is not only applicable to full or part-time law office employment, but is also essential for authors and business owners who may be involved in entertainment and contract matters.  This challenging specialty is in great demand.

Real Property Law

The law of real property is one of the basic law school courses, and is a must for paralegals in a business law firm. Covered are the system of common law property, the recording acts, conveyancing, mortgaging, landlord-tenant, and financing. Included are subjects every paralegal should know about land transactions and the documents that record the purchase, sale, and leasing of real estate. Beyond buyer-seller issues, the student gains knowledge about working with title insurance companies, recorders of deeds, and how to recognize land finance subjects. Finally, the foreclosure of mortgages and the possibility of redeeming a mortgage that has gone into default are covered.

Verification of Student Identity/Privacy

The Center for Legal Studies (CLS) issues every student a username and password that is sent to the email address they provide. Usernames and passwords are private and released by CLS only to the registered student. Grades and feedback from instructors is also student-specific and private. Grades are recorded and forwarded to Ramapo College of New Jersey, which follows FERPA regulations, and the college sends the Certificate(s) of Completion directly to each passing student. Without written approval by the student, grades and other enrollment information are not released to others (including parents/guardians). In addition, at the beginning of each online course, CLS requires students to consent to a Course Use and Plagiarism Policy whereby they agree that they will submit only their own work and that they will cite additional sources used. Students found to have broken the policy are given a grade of “F” for that assignment. Students are removed from the program by CLS for a second infraction.


PARALEGAL CERTIFICATE TUITION: $1289 for two (2) sessions of seven (7) weeks each, 14 weeks total, plus approximately $375 for required books* and $89 for online WESTLAW legal research access.

To review the schedule of Ramapo College online Paralegal Certificate courses, visit:

*Paralegal Certificate books: Required books are approximately $375. Please visit the CLS Website to be directed to each Paralegal Certificate syllabus and a list of required materials:

ADVANCED PARALEGAL CERTIFICATE TUITION: $1800 for two (2) sessions of three (3) topics each, each session is seven (7) weeks, 14 weeks total, plus required books* and online WESTLAW legal research access*

Students are required to complete six (6) Advanced Paralegal Course topics to receive a certificate. Up to three (3) Advanced Paralegal Course topics may be taken during a seven-week online session and Advanced Paralegal Course topics do not have to be taken in any particular order. Prerequisite: Students must successfully complete the core requirements of the Paralegal Certificate before they take the Advanced Paralegal Certificate courses.

To review the schedule of Ramapo College online Advanced Paralegal Certificate courses, visit:

*Advanced Paralegal Certificate books: Required books vary by topic and are kept to a minimum. Please visit the CLS Website to be directed to each Advanced Paralegal Certificate syllabus and a list of required materials:

*Books/WESTLAW Access: Students order books and gain WESTLAW access by phone or online. Students may order books/WESTLAW access via their own resources or from the CLS Website.


Ramapo College follows the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act for those students requesting accommodations. To request disability-related accommodations, please call (201) 684-7370 or email

The College reserves the right to change dates, costs and procedures at its discretion.


For Coursework Content and Registration/Payment Information, contact:
The Center for Legal Studies
800-522-7737 (Toll Free)

For General Information, contact:

Center for Innovative and Professional Learning (A-216)
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ 07430
Phone: (201) 684-7370
Fax: (201) 684-7277