Prepare for a career as a paralegal or legal assistant
- Earn a valuable career credential as a paralegal
- Acquire new skills to advance in your position
- Learn from experienced attorneys and judges in this established University program
- Complete your certificate in one year with evening study in downtown Wilmington
- Power up your career with a leadership development e-module and customized career enrichment options.
Hear from program grads
About the field
Playing a vital role in the legal community
Paralegals are professionals trained in the delivery of various legal services, and their functions include legal interviewing, legal research, drafting of legal documents, and law office administration.
Working with attorneys or under permission granted by statutes, paralegals fill a vital role in the legal community. The American Bar Association has recognized the position of paralegal as an important factor in helping the legal profession meet the increasing demand for legal services. Professional opportunities are many and varied:
- Private law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals.
- Jobs are also expected to grow in corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real estate and title insurance firms, and banks.
- Opportunities are projected to expand in the public sector, including community legal service programs; federal, state, and local government agencies; consumer organizations; and the courts.
This program will benefit those who may wish to enter the field of law and legal services, or change careers. It will also benefit those who have experience in the field of law, but wish to earn a valuable credential for advancement.
As a paralegal, what salary can I expect?
Paralegal salaries differ based on experience and geographical location. Here are some resources for general compensation information:
Where can I find other information about the paralegal profession?
Rae Simonini Campagnola, Esq.
Rae Simonini Campagnola is a litigation attorney admitted to practice in both Pennsylvania and Delaware. She practices in the areas of insurance defense, personal injury, and general commercial and corporate litigation. Ms. Campagnola completed an internship with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in 1989, and received a bachelor of science from Juniata College in political science and business management in 1990. She received a juris doctor from Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware in 1994. In addition to private practice, Ms. Campagnola has been teaching Legal Research & Writing in the University of Delaware’s Paralegal Certificate program since 2003, and Widener Law’s Legal Education Institute since 2011. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Wesley College teaching Legal Research & Writing, Legal Research Seminar, Insurance Law, Commercial Law, and Business Law II.
Scott A. Lisgar, Esq.
Scott A. Lisgar is a litigation attorney licensed to practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He practices in the areas of general civil litigation and family law. Mr. Lisgar received a bachelor of science from West Chester University in Economics in 1995. He received a juris doctor from Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware in 1998. In addition to private practice, Mr. Lisgar has served as an adjunct professor since 2000 teaching Medical Law and Ethics, Civil Litigation and Business Law. He recently began teaching in the University of Delaware’s Paralegal Certificate program. Mr. Lisgar is a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Leslie McNair-Jackson, Esq.
Leslie McNair-Jackson is a licensed attorney at law in New Jersey and the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. A 1997 graduate of the University of Delaware, Leslie acquired her B.A. in English with a concentration in journalism. She attended the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center of Touro College where she was a teaching assistant in the LEAP program, an editor for the Touro International Law Review, and vice-president of the Minority Student Bar Association. After being admitted to the bar in 2000, Leslie began her legal career in Camden, New Jersey as a prosecutor. She has experience in civil litigation and criminal law. Since 2003, Leslie has worked for the Office of the Public Defender, State of New Jersey where she represents indigent defendants accused of serious offenses.
Tracy Pearson, Esq.
Tracy Pearson is a deputy attorney general for the State of Delaware. Ms. Pearson is a licensed attorney at law in the states of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York. In addition to government practice, Ms. Pearson has previous litigation experience in private practice focusing in the areas of family law, real estate, corporations and debt collection. In 2009, Ms. Pearson clerked in Delaware Family Court for the Honorable Jay H. Conner and Mark D. Buckworth. Prior to obtaining her juris doctor degree from Widener University School of Law, Ms. Pearson served as an intern for the Honorable Kathrynann Durham in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. In 2005, Ms. Pearson obtained her bachelor of science, cum laude, from the University of Delaware.
Stacey I. Sawa, Esq.
Stacey Sawa is a licensed attorney-at-law in Pennsylvania. Since 2004, Ms. Sawa has been a judicial law clerk in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. In addition, Ms. Sawa is a part-time associate with a law firm in Media, Pennsylvania. Prior to her current clerkship, Ms. Sawa was the judicial law clerk to the Honorable William P. Mahon of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. In 1999, Ms. Sawa graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Gettysburg College with a B.A. in political science. In 2002, Ms. Sawa graduated from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University with a juris doctor degree. Ms. Sawa is a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The certificate’s various topics provide participants with the scope of practice and competencies useful in working with supervising attorneys who may specialize in a variety of legal fields and specialties: antitrust, bankruptcy, consumer protection, corporate and criminal law, domestic relations, insurance, defense, litigation, probate, real estate, and taxation. This certificate program develops participants’ skills and expertise in legal research; students conduct legal research over the Internet using LexisNexis online. Faculty are experienced attorneys.
Students in the University of Delaware’s Paralegal Certificate have free access to the LexisNexis© legal research system for the duration of the program.
To earn the Paralegal Certificate, all six of the following modules must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or above.
- Introduction to Law for Paralegals
- Legal Research and Writing
- Civil Procedure
- Contract Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
This introductory module in the certificate provides a general introduction to law with an emphasis on the role of the paralegal in the firm or organization. Topics covered include:
- General concepts of the law
- The American system of law (constitutional, statutory, tort)
- Court systems and procedures
Provides students the fundamentals for basic legal research and writing. Some of these fundamentals include:
- Reviewing the American legal system
- Researching primary and secondary legal authority
- Reviewing the rules of citation
- Introducing research and writing strategies
Students are required to research and draft legal documents. Students conduct legal research using the following sources: LexisNexis online, the University of Delaware’s Morris Library in Newark, local law libraries.
This module defines the paralegal’s role in the litigation process, from initial client interview to appeal. Topics of study include:
- Fact investigation
- Draft pleadings
- Summary and control of documents and deposition transcripts
- Pre-trial organization
- Post-trial considerations
The course also reviews the structure and jurisdiction of federal and state courts, providing instruction on how to use the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Provides students with a basic understanding of tort law, which applies to civil wrongs other than breaches of contract. Students study and analyze:
- General concepts
- Preliminary issues
- Strict liability
- Product liability
- Defamation and related issues
- Pertinent defenses and remedies to these torts
Students also utilize and enhance their legal research and writing skills in the field of torts.
This module includes learning how binding contracts are formed and how to understand them. Topics covered include pitfalls that can make contracts invalid as well as the defenses which may allow a party to avoid having to fulfill obligations under a valid contract. It also covers how to calculate damages for breaches of contract. The module provides instruction in how to draft typical clauses that appear in many contracts.
Focuses on the procedural and substantive areas of common law crimes. Topics covered will address some of the issues that emanate from the fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States. The areas of criminal law that are covered include:
- General concepts
- Crimes against people
- Crimes against property
- Theft crimes
- The respective defenses of the above areas
Is it possible to begin the Paralegal Certificate at any time throughout the year, or is it required to start with Module 1: Introduction to Law?
You must start with Module 1 in the fall or spring semester. The program is structured so that students are required to start with the first module and complete all six modules in consecutive order.
Can I enroll in only one or two of the Paralegal Certificate courses?
Our certificate programs are designed to provide you with an interconnected format that produces the best learning outcome for students to achieve their goals. Students must enroll in the complete one-year program.
What are the admission requirements to apply for this certificate program?
Students will need access to a computer (with a printer) with recent versions of word-processing software and Internet access. Students must have a basic computer knowledge and experience, including word-processing and e-mail.
Is this program ABA approved?
We have not found it necessary to seek ABA (American Bar Association) approval status for the Paralegal Certificate, since students completing the University of Delaware certificate have been successful at finding positions as paralegals and legal assistants. Legal recruiting companies have confirmed to us that employers do not necessarily single out applicants with ABA-approved education in their search for highly trained, highly qualified paralegals. Law firms are more interested in the skills and knowledge that an applicant can offer to their organization than whether or not the applicant has completed an ABA-approved program. To pursue ABA approval, it would greatly increase the cost of the program, and it would limit the students who would be eligible for the program, since an ABA-approved program requires students to possess a four year degree.
Delaware paralegals are not required to be certified. However, paralegals may choose to become certified through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). For more information on CLA/CP certification, including exam prerequisites and advanced certification, please visit the National Association of Legal Assistants.
The cost of the certificate program is $3,495, due upon registration. Textbooks are an additional cost.
Basic computer knowledge and experience is required of all students (wordprocessing and e-mail). Students will need access to a computer (with a printer) that runs recent versions of wordprocessing software (such as Microsoft Word) and an Internet browser (such as Internet Explorer).
Total estimated textbook cost for this program is approximately $900 (does not include shipping costs). Please note that textbook prices fluctuate and are subject to change.
Students will have have free access to the LexisNexis© legal research system for the duration of the program.
Textbooks can be obtained from the following sources:
- Barnes and Noble
- LegalBluebook.com (The Bluebook)
Timing your textbook purchases
The textbook list provided on this page is intended as an overview for planning purposes; however, the required textbook for each module is subject to change when new editions and updates are published. This web page will be updated accordingly. Students should plan to order textbook(s) no earlier than one month before each module start date, with an expected arrival date of no later than 7-10 days before the module start date.
Below is a list of textbooks required for each module of the Paralegal Certificate, along with approximate retail cost.
- Introduction to Law for Paralegals
- Introduction to the Law for Paralegals, 3rd edition, Author: Neal R. Bevans; Wolters Kluwer 2014; ISBN: 978-0735587632 ($130)
- Black’s Law Dictionary, pocket edition, Author: Bryan A. Garner, 4th edition, 2011, ISBN: 978-0314275448 ($40)
- Legal Research and Writing
- Legal Research and Writing for Paralegals, 7th edition, 2013, Aspen Publishers, Author: Bouchoux, ISBN: 9781454831327 ($145)
- The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 19th edition, Author: Dworsky, Law Review Harvard ($32)
- Civil Procedure
- Civil Litigation, 7th edition, 2014, Author: Kerley, West Legal Studies, ISBN: 1285449185 ($160)
- Tort Law for Paralegals, 4th edition, Author: Neal R. Bevans, Aspen Publishers, 2013, ISBN: 9781454808725 ($142)
- Contract Law
- Contracts for Paralegals: Legal Principles and Practical Applications; Author: Linda Spagnola; McGraw-Hill Education 1st Edition; ISBN: 978-0073511764 ($47)
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Criminal Law and Procedure, An Overview, 4th edition, West Legal Studies, Author: Bacigal, 2014, ISBN: 1133591887 ($225)
- The Fall 2015 program begins August 31, 2015 and takes less than one year to complete. Register now!
Fall 2015 schedule
Introduction to Law – Tracy L. Pearson, Esq.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, September 7, 2015, NO CLASS
Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, September 14, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, September 21, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, September 28, 2015, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, October 5, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, October 12, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Legal Research and Writing – Rae Simonini Campagnola, Esq.
Monday, October 26, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, November 2, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, November 9, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, November 16, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, November 23, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015, NO CLASS
Monday, November 30, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, December 7, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 6-9 p.m.
Civil Procedure – Stacey Sawa, Esq.
Monday, January 4, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, January 11, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, January 18, 2016, NO CLASS
Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, January 25, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, February 1, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, February 8, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, February 15, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Torts – Scott Lisgar, Esq.
Monday, February 29, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, March 7, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, March 14, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, March 21, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, March 28, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, April 4, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, April 11, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Contract Law – Stacey Sawa, Esq.
Monday, April 25, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, May 2, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, May 9, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, May 16, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, May 23, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, May 30, 2016, NO CLASS
Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, June 6, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Criminal Law and Procedure – Leslie McNair-Jackson, Esq.
Monday, June 20, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, June 27, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, July 4, 2016, NO CLASS
Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, July 11, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, July 18, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, July 25, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Monday, August 1, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 6-9 p.m.
The Paralegal Certificate is comprised of six modules and can be completed in one year.
UD alumni and student discount
A 15% discount available to graduates of UD undergraduate and graduate degrees, UD certificate programs and Professional and Continuing Studies noncredit programs; as well as current matriculated UD students (part-time or full-time). To apply discount, call 302-831-7600.
A 15% discount available to active members of the military as well as veterans. Please provide appropriate ID when registering. To apply discount, call 302-831-7600 or 1-866-820-0238.
Enroll two or more individuals from one business or organization in a noncredit professional development program and benefit from a 15% reduction in the total cost of registration. Individuals must register at the same time. To apply discount, call 302-831-7600.
Receive a 10% discount if you register and pay in full at or before the Certificate Information Session.
Business association membership discount
Are you (or your employer) a member of a business association, like the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce? View the list of partner discounts.
Continuing Education Scholarships
Partial funding for a limited number of qualified applicants with financial need. Transcript and proof of income required. For details, contact Debbie Farris, email@example.com or 302-831-2743. Download the application with instructions.
Economic Competitiveness for Delawareans Scholarship
Applicant must be a high school graduate, a currently unemployed Delaware resident collecting unemployment insurance, and financially able to pay half of program cost. Download further details with application.
Delaware Workforce Investment Board
Individual Training Account (ITA) grants for continuing education noncredit courses. Applicants may be dislocated workers, unemployed because of layoffs or because their employer went out of business, or may be employed with income below Family Income Guideline thresholds. Learn more by speaking with a case manager at a Delaware Department of Labor One Stop Service Center. After grant approval, contact the UD noncredit registrar at 302-831-7600.
Governor’s Education Grant
The Governor’s Education Grant provides up to $2,000 to qualified individuals. For details or to apply, visit the Governor’s Education Grant for Working Adults or the Governor’s Education Grant for Unemployed Adults. For details, contact Debbie Farris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-831-2743.
This program is approved by the Delaware State Approving Agency for the training of veterans. Contact the Veterans Affairs regional office at 1-888-442-4551 to determine your individual eligibility. When eligibility is determined, please submit a copy of your DD-214 (if discharged, VA 22-1990 (if active), or NOBE (if active Reserve or National Guard) when you register for one of the eligible certificate programs.
A credit card payment plan is available for this program, with a $50 payment plan fee added to the cost of the certificate program. Specific terms such as the required number of scheduled payments varies by program. For details call 302-831-7600 or write to email@example.com.
Private loans may be an option to pay for noncredit programs, for example, obtaining a loan from your bank or credit union. One option may be the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan (select University of Delaware Noncredit, code 00143198 from the drop-down menu). To speak with a UD ACCESS advisor about loan options call 302-831-2743 to make a phone or in-person appointment.
Taxpayers who pay qualified tuition and related expenses to an eligible educational institution may be able to claim tax credits or deductions on their federal income tax. Call 302-831-1138 for a “Confirmation of Tuition” letter, which can be provided by the University of Delaware noncredit registrar. Please note the registrar’s office does not supply a Form 1098-T, as the Confirmation of Tuition represents accepted documentation.