Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA

The American Bar Association (ABA) sets some standards for paralegal programs to ensure that the program directors and instructors are qualified to teach paralegal studies, and that the curriculum provides a high level of training and education. Many paralegals and experienced legal assistants have completed an ABA approved paralegal program at some point in their career, and this program can give the individual a competitive advantage in the marketplace. If you are thinking about becoming certified as a paralegal or are interested in getting an associate's or bachelor's degree in the field, you'll need to begin your search for a quality education by reviewing the directory of ABA approved paralegal programs online.

What Are ABA Approved Paralegal Programs?

ABA approved paralegal programs are educational programs that have been reviewed and approved by members of the American Bar Association. The Standing Committee on Paralegals has created a Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs which can be accessed online. ABA approved paralegal programs must undergo a thorough review process with the Standing Committee on Paralegals and its Approval Commission, and must comply with certain ABA Guidelines.

During the approval process, the program must be assessed on a number of factors and the program is assigned to an Approval Process Manager and educational consultants who are responsible for reviewing and reporting on what they find. The school offering the program must agree to an on-site evaluation and an on-site visit that is conducted over a one-two day period. This visit includes a meeting with the director of an ABA approved paralegal education program. Site visit results are then reported back to the Approval Commission for review, and then a decision is made on whether the program meets certain ABA Guidelines. The Standing Committee submits its recommendations to the ABA's House of Delegates who are responsible for policy-making, and then the decision is made on whether or not to approve that particular program.

Any programs that undergo this review process can be recommended for preapproval twice per year at the annual midyear meetings. Once approved, the program is listed on the ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs directory.

Finding a Paralegal Program That Is ABA Approved

Some schools clearly advertise the fact that they offer ABA approved paralegal programs, but students interested in this training program may need to seek out a school first through the ABA website. The easiest way to find ABA approved paralegal program is by searching the ABA directory online. Select the state you live in to see a list of all ABA approved paralegal programs available at various technical colleges, universities, four-year colleges and training centers in your area. You'll see a full listing that includes the school's address, the program director's full name, telephone and fax number, email address link, types of degree and certification programs offered, and a direct link to the school's website.

Enrolling in an ABA approved paralegal program can give you a competitive advantage throughout your career and will ensure that you receive a very high quality education. Whether you're interested in completing an associate's degree, certification program or an advanced degree in paralegal studies, take some time to find an ABA approved paralegal program in your area.