Paralegal Studies

The Paralegal Studies program is an ABA-Approved Program, one of just three in Western Pennsylvania, and has been ranked the most affordable ABA-approved Paralegal Program in Western Pennsylvania.
Paralegal is listed as a top career choice:  The paralegal field could see its employment grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Department of Labor.

Clarion University offers an Associate of Science degree in Paralegal Studies and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Paralegal Studies, as well as an Advanced Paralegal Certificate and Advanced Paralegal Oil and Gas Certificate.

The programs prepare graduates to assist lawyers and their clients in law offices, courthouses, and governmental institutions. In addition, when authorized to do so by administrative, statutory, or court authority, graduates of the program may operate as independent contractors. The paralegal studies program is designed to provide for the education of paralegals. A legal assistant or paralegal is a person qualified by education, training, or work experience, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. A paralegal may not practice law.

Alyssa Broad


"As I began my search for colleges in my senior year of high school, I looked up schools in Pennsylvania that offered paralegal programs.  I was drawn to Clarion because the program was among the few paralegal programs that were ABA accredited, and it was located in an environment similar to my hometown.  I love that my professors are attorneys and bring real-world experience to the classroom. I love the research and the behind the scenes work of the law field.  I interned this past summer in a law firm and have already been offered a position when I graduate."                      

        - Alyssa Broad, paralegal studies student 



 Frank Shepard, Esq.
Program Director
307 Dana Still Hall
Clarion University of PA
Clarion, PA 16214
814 393 2607

Program Objectives:

The Paralegal graduate shall have an understanding of:

  • basic business practices including communication, accounting and management
  • business lawlegal research methods
  • the procedures and documents necessary to successfully aide an attorney through the civil litigation process

The Paralegal shall be/have:

  • proficient at legal writing and be able to express in coherent and legal terms the results of legal research and the application of those legal principles to specific factual situations
  • able to draft documents that aide in the litigation process
  • a proficient understanding of computerized legal research including both the Internet and specific legal research data bases such as Lexis-Nexis
  • a well rounded general education that shall aide the student in their career as a paralegal

If the student selects:

  • Wills, Trusts And Estates the student shall be able to draft wills and estate forms that shall enable the paralegal to be a successful aide during the entire probate process
  • Administrative Law the student shall be able to aide the attorney in all aspects of administrative law and thorough and complete understanding of Social Security Disability and Unemployment Compensation
  • Real Estate Law the student shall have a thorough understanding of the nature of property law and be able to draft all necessary documents for the transfer of real estate
  • Family Law the student shall have a thorough understanding of the law of custody, divorce, and adoptions to enable the paralegal to be a successful aide to the attorney, both through their knowledge of the substantive law and proper document preparation

Paralegal Studies Policy on Transfer Credits, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and Prior Learning Assessment Credit:

  • No less than 30 credits of the total required 68 credits must be earned in residence at Venango campus. This 30-credit total may not include either CLEP or Prior Learning Assessment Credit.
  • The general education requirements must be met by coursework taken as part of the program or by transfer credit. 
  • Students can transfer general education courses to Clarion University as long as the course was taken at a regionally or nationally recognized accredited institution. This determination is made by the Office of Admissions. Transfer credit is only given if the course is considered equivalent by the department teaching the course for which credit may be given. Final approval must be granted by the dean of the college which houses the course in question.
  • Clarion University of Pennsylvania will not accept any legal specialty course credit that was not received from an ABA approved program. 
  • Students transferring to Clarion University must take more than 50 percent of their legal specialty credits at Clarion. In addition, transfer students must complete a minimum of 10 semester  credits of their legal specialty credits through traditional classroom instruction at Clarion  University.
  • Any credit that would be applied to a legal specialty course must be approved the Dean of the College of Business Administration and Information Sciences to insure that the course is equivalent to ours.


Legal Research Links:

Legal Ethics Rules
Pennsylvania Statutes
Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure
Pennsylvania Administrative Code
Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure
Pennsylvania Appellate Court Opinions
Pennsylvania Orphan's Court Rules and Forms
Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence
Pennsylvania District Justice Rules
Pennsylvania Bulletin
Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure
Pennsylvania Rules for Continuing Education
Pennsylvania Official Business Forms (articles of incorporation, etc.)

Federal Law Links:

United States Code
U.S. Supreme Court Opinions
Third Circuit Court of Appeals Opinions
Federal Opinions:  Code of Federal Regulations

Historic Legal Documents:

Common Sense by Thomas Paine 
The Declaration of Independence 
James Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention 
The Federalist Papers 
On Liberty by John Stewart Mill 
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
The United States Constitution

All state and federal statutes and regulations. Shepard's Citations

Two hundred and fifty scholarly law journals

Paralegal Associations:

National Federation of Paralegal Associations
National Association of Legal Assistants 
American Association for Paralegal Educators

AAFPE logo Finding Quality Paralegal Programs

Last Updated 7/10/17