California Students – Paralegal Requirements

The state of California requires that paralegals meet certain academic and professional requirements in order to provide professional services under the “paralegal” title. The California Business and Professions Code describes these requirements and other restrictions on what paralegals can do and other obligations that paralegals have. Section 6450 (c) of the Code states that a paralegal must satisfy at least one of four listed alternatives. Alternative (c)(3) offers the following eligibility pathway:

A baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject, a minimum of one year of related experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.

Earning Boston University’s online Certificate in Paralegal Studies can enhance a graduate’s marketability and overall appeal when they apply for a job working directly with an attorney in California. You will not start immediately as a paralegal in California, but you can start working with an attorney to gain the required year of experience. As such, the program is an excellent option for students who require paralegal education to catch the attention of someone looking to hire an individual with paralegal training, fulfilling the educational requirement in a practical timeframe, convenient format, and a reasonable cost. As the program only requires 14 weeks of study, students can complete the online program quickly and move immediately into gaining real-world practice and fulfilling their experience requirement. Once their attorney-supervised year is complete, and they get their written declaration of qualification from the attorney, graduates will then be eligible to comply with the California statute.

Why does Boston University’s online Certificate in Paralegal Studies not meet the Section (c)(1) requirement? Why could this program be the best option for me?

Section (c)(1) states that paralegals may also pursue employment in California after completing a certificate program approved by the American Bar Association. Boston University has made a deliberate decision not to seek approval from the American Bar Association. We find their requirements redundant for anyone with an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. In our experience, we have found that most employers seeking to hire paralegals place more value on the reputation of Boston University and the Paralegal Studies Program than ABA approval.

Additionally, pursuing ABA approval would make it more difficult for BU to provide a comprehensive, high-quality program at an affordable tuition rate. Our research indicates that most ABA-approved programs will cost over $20,000 and constitute 1-2 years of study. Boston University’s online Certificate in Paralegal Studies program is meant to remain accessible and practical, developing real-world skills at a tuition rate of under $4,000 and only requiring 14 weeks of study. This makes the program an effective option for anyone seeking to pursue employment in California as a paralegal.

For more information on the California statute and education requirements, click here.

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To learn more about the online Paralegal Studies Program, contact an Enrollment Advisor at (888) 700-3966 or fill out the form below to download a free brochure.

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