The required Paralegal Practicum, PLGL 2600, is an excellent way to obtain job experience before graduation. Students perform 120 hours of paralegal work during the semester (approximately eight hours per week during the fall and spring semesters), working in a law office under the supervision of an attorney. In addition, students attend seminars on campus that assist with creating a professional portfolio and a personal web site for posting an electronic portfolio.
Students are eligible to enroll in the practicum after they have been admitted into the program and taken PLGL-1200, Civil Litigation, PLGL-1250, Legal Ethics and Law Office Organization, and PLGL 1500, Introduction to Legal Research and Writing, and have earned a grade of "C" or better. Instructor consent to enroll in the practicum is also required.
1. How to get into the Paralegal Practicum.
If a student has met the Paralegal Practicum course prerequisites, they must complete and submit an application within the stated time period noted on the application.
Note that the application requires the student to have been previously admitted or
in the process of applying for admission into the Paralegal Program.
Paralegal Practicum Application Form
2. Obtaining an Internship
After a student has been accepted into the Paralegal Practicum course, the instructor will send a permit to Registration, and the students can enroll in the course.
At this point, students should begin the process of locating an internship site. The instructor will send them a list of suggested site mentors to consider when searching for an internship. In addition, students can pursue other avenues to obtain an internship site.
Below is a list of useful tips and resources when seeking an internship site, as well as a sample letter of introduction to send to a prospective internship site. The students can send this letter, or a cover letter of their own choosing, to prospective internship sites along with their resume. Students can also send prospective site mentors the letter below, which is a letter from the program coordinator explaining the paralegal practicum.
3. After Obtaining the Internship
Once an internship has been obtained the student should notify the instructor and provide to the instructor a signed Practicum Site Agreement, which appears below:
Sally N. Fairbank, Coordinator
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1816A, (630) 942-2955
Bev Carlson, Program Support Specialist
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1526, (630) 942-2140
Donna Charboneau, Program Advisor
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1812, (630) 942-2079
Business and Technology Division
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1034, (630) 942-2592
Atoosa NowrouziParalegal Studies
“The certificate program’s curriculum was well-designed. It included both required and elective courses. I also thought that the required courses had appropriate emphasis on the essential legal concepts. I was particularly impressed that the Paralegal Practicum is a required course. I researched other paralegal studies programs in the Chicago area and noticed that not many require a practicum course. At COD, the Paralegal Practicum course (120 hours of internship) is the final capstone for completing the program. The inclusion of required internship, in my opinion, demonstrated the quality of the program and the commitment of Professor Sally N. Fairbank.”Read Spotlight
Jackie FreemanParalegal Studies
“A Paralegal Certificate was on my ‘bucket list’ since my 40s. When the opportunity for a grant came up, I researched many professions, and the legal profession was the only one I found that would value my prior management experience and my education. So the practical coincided with the passion. After a 30-year corporate career and more degrees than I probably need, my goal is to find a job doing work I enjoy, that challenges me, stimulates my brain and keeps me active.”Read Spotlight
Todd HolesParalegal Studies
"If I were a few years younger, I might contemplate law school. But the glut of unemployed attorneys on the market makes that less attractive as an option. I do have an interest in technology and feel I may find my niche in litigation support. Eventually, if that area of the law feels like a good fit, I would like to further my education so that I qualify to manage an e-discovery department for a mid-size to large law firm.”Read Spotlight
Jessica MitchellParalegal Studies
"You get a lot of opportunities to learn how to network and connect to a variety of people through the Paralegal Club. I am lucky enough to be the secretary of our club, and I have learned so much about making connections and networking with people. We really do have the best students and teachers in the school! They care about our success, both in the program and after we graduate.”Read Spotlight
Terry MohringParalegal Studies
"COD helped me achieve my goal of having a new career by providing me opportunities to learn new skills, expand upon ones I already had and, most of all, grow as a person. I had the great pleasure of learning from some of the best lawyers, judges, business entrepreneurs and teachers in general. I am able to use their example of inspirational teaching and positive interactions with students in my position as a manager.”Read Spotlight
Ernesto CruzParalegal Studies
"COD is providing me with an amazing education. The instructors are not just teachers, they've worked in the field and have plenty of experience and knowledge to share with us. For any students considering the Paralegal program at COD, I would quote Nike by saying 'Just Do It!' "Read Spotlight
Rob Schwarz, Jr.Paralegal Studies
"Over my long educational career, I have come to the realization we receive back what we put into our education. I have never experienced anything in my educational experiences like the Paralegal Studies program at College of DuPage and what it has to offer."Read Spotlight
Victoria WadowskiParalegal Studies
"I have received the best opportunities while going through the Paralegal program. Since the program is ABA approved, it will stand out on any application. This program built and strengthened my legal knowledge. I honestly cannot imagine getting a better education and experience anywhere else."Read Spotlight
Deborah D'AttomoParalegal Studies
"COD has a law library and a subscription to Westlaw, the premier legal research database. Also, serving as an officer of the Paralegal Club has given me the opportunity to work closely with the COD faculty and staff and to develop relationships with fellow students."Read Spotlight
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