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Legal Studies

  • Associate of Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts Major
  • Certificate
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

In conjunction with the Erie County Bar Association, Legal Studies Club students participate in mock trials and the Wills for Heroes project.

  • GU Possibilities
    • The legal studies/paralegal program prepares students for a career in various capacities to perform specifically delegated and substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.
    • Skill sets acquired by student paralegals include interviewing, investigation, legal research and preparation of legal documents.
    • There is an option for a two-year associate’s degree for students who might not want to commit to a four-year course of study.
    • The legal studies certificate option can be incorporated into a four-year degree. Students who choose this route will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the major of their choice and a certificate that will enhance their employment opportunities.
    • There is an option for a Legal Studies 3+3 program with Duquesne University Law School for qualified students who are interested in a faster route to law school.
    • In conjunction with the Erie County Bar Association, the Legal Studies Club participates in mock trials and the Wills for Heroes project.

    You Will Learn

    The legal studies/paralegal program offers training, internship opportunities and job placement for students and graduates. In addition to the liberal core that offers critical thinking and analytical skills, students receive education courses that enhance the professional skills necessary to legal professionals. The program curriculum includes a strong basis of legal specialty courses that provide practical skills training. These skills are sought after by many employers. Paralegals may work in a wide variety of legal settings, law and related jobs, or even attend law school after the completion of a B.A. degree.

    You Will Experience

    An internship is required of legal studies/paralegal students. The location of the University in the heart of the Erie legal community makes it possible for students to experience internship opportunities in a wide variety of settings. Students experience the work of a paralegal or attorney in settings that include: 

    • banks  
    • corporations  
    • courts (tipstaff, clerks, district attorney, public defender, etc.)  
    • insurance companies  
    • law firms  
    • real estate offices  

    You Will Achieve

    Employment opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • banks  
    • district attorney  
    • hospital administration  
    • insurance companies  
    • judge’s tip staff  
    • law firms  
    • private investigator offices  
    • public defender  
    • real estate sales/property management  

    You Will Earn

    Following graduation, many legal studies students attend law school and obtain a juris doctor degree, which can greatly increase earning potential. With a bachelor’s degree, salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of organization. 

    • Starting salary: $35,000
    • Mid-career salary: $53,000

    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale (  

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    Students can choose from three programs in the legal studies/paralegal program, which include a bachelor’s degree program, an associate degree program or a certificate program. Examples of the various core and elective courses include:

    LEGL 212: Legal Research and Writing II

    This course includes advanced work in legal research and writing. It introduces students to legal analysis focusing on practical assignments, which examine in detail the components of court opinions. The course emphasizes case analysis and the preparation of both informal and formal legal memorandums.

    LEGL 334: Public Records Research and Title Abstracts

    This course studies the theory and practice of completing courthouse civil and criminal records, research and real estate title abstracts.

    LEGL 343: Computers in the Law

    This course is designed to introduce legal assistants and other legal professionals to the use of computers in the legal field, preparing them to use computer skills in the legal environment.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

  • Program Costs and Career Options

    View Gainful Employment information for this program.