LEGAL ASSISTANT EDUCATION
The Department of Legal Assistant Education, initiated by the OU Law Center in 1968, reflects the growing importance of legal assistants in the legal profession. The program of study and curriculum offered are consistent with the general principles of ethical legal practice as defined by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
In order to earn our American Bar Association-approved certificate, you must complete 23 credit hours of legal-specialty courses, which may be completed within two years. We also require completion of 37 credit hours of general education courses, which may be completed at any accredited college or university, if you have not already earned a degree.
The legal specialty courses are taught by lawyers and legal assistants. Concentrated classroom lectures are offered in the Saturday classes at the Law Center, with independent study and written assignments to be completed outside of class. The program prepares persons for employment in law-related occupations.
LEGAL ASSISTANT CAREER
Graduates from the Legal Assistant Education program will be qualified to work with lawyers in public and private law practice, in the judiciary, corporations and government. The curriculum stresses understanding and reasoning, rather than rote learning of facts and information. Graduates will be qualified to perform a variety of tasks, including legal research and drafting legal documents.
A legal assistant, or paralegal, is trained to work under the general supervision of a lawyer, performing tasks which traditionally have been performed by lawyers. The responsibilities of the legal assistant are professional and distinct from routine clerical duties. In the performance of these various tasks, the legal assistant, lawyer and clerical staff provide increased efficiency in the delivery of legal services to the client. The legal assistant may interview clients, research legal issues, prepare documents and assist in litigation, allowing the supervising lawyer to provide quality representation at lower cost to the client.
Legal assistants cannot give legal advice, accept cases, set legal fees, represent clients in court or perform any legal service without the supervision of a licensed lawyer.