EMU's online paralegal program ranked among nation's best

Eastern Michigan University’s undergraduate paralegal studies major has been ranked among the top programs in the country by a comprehensive website that offers advice and information about schools and careers in the field.

Paralegal411.org ranked Eastern 12th, the only Michigan program listed in its annual rankings of the nation’s top programs.

“Our ranking is designed to help those considering a career in the paralegal field understand and compare their options for online and hybrid-online learning,” said Laura McPherson, associate editor of Paralegal411.org. “This unique ranking uses markers of academic merit as well as metrics outlining the student experience to highlight quality as well as value and differs from other rankings by focusing on programs that are not-for-profit, are regionally accredited and are identical to on-campus programs.”

The paralegal studies undergraduate major at Eastern prepares graduates to work as paralegals, who are retained by lawyers, law offices, corporations and governmental agencies to perform specifically delegated, substantive legal work. While paralegals cannot practice law themselves, they do work directly with lawyers and in the law field.
Program leaders note that Eastern’s Paralegal Studies degree is the only university program in the country that sponsors an attorney-supervised legal clinic for its students.

Students work inside the courthouse helping members of the public with civil court forms and court procedures.

“Our success is based on motivated students, a supportive administration, and experienced faculty,” said Konnie Kustron, a professor in the program. “Our class schedules are also student-centered, as we offer most classes as hybrids (50 percent online and 50 percent face to face) and all online.”

Program graduates are currently working in job settings such as Ford Motor Company, private law firms, and the United States Attorney’s Office.

Many graduates continue on to law school. Recent graduates have been accepted to study law at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Toledo, Wayne State University and the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Former student Victoria Walters now is employed in social work instead of as a paralegal, but she credits Kustron’s immigration law course for spurring her interest in social justice, which led her to become a licensed social worker.  

“The paralegal program is incredibly comprehensive and teaches valuable investigative skills that are essential to success in the paralegal field,” said Walters. “The faculty are knowledgeable and offer real world examples and experiences from their own careers in law. Not only that, but they are approachable and happy to have career conversations with their students.” 

Students also work in law-related fields such as arbitration and mediation, in legal compliance or in human resource departments.

Eastern Michigan University’s American Bar Association approved program in paralegal studies is part of the School of Technology & Professional Services Management, a division of the College of Technology. Programs offered include both an initial bachelor’s program and a second bachelor’s degree. For more information about the programs, please call 734.487.0354 or e-mail paralegal_emu@emich.edu.