By Brian Kleemann
The Paralegal Studies program at College of DuPage has received reapproval from the American Bar Association.
Sally Fairbank, coordinator of the program, said the second consecutive seven-year approval period reflects the program’s ability to meet the rigorous standards set by the ABA.
“Paralegal programs are not required to receive ABA approval, but we knew from the beginning that this designation would add stature and credibility to the program,” she said. “Prospective students often mention the importance of the ABA approval when selecting a program.”
The Paralegal Studies program, which offers an associate in applied science and a certificate, started at College of DuPage in the fall of 2006. Before a program can apply for ABA approval, it must graduate students, which happened in 2008. Two years later, the program received its initial seven-year approval from the ABA
Components of COD’s program include an advisory council that consists of paralegals, a sitting judge, practicing attorneys and non-legal professionals; a student Paralegal Studies club; a chapter of Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX), the national honor society for paralegal students; and faculty who go through a rigorous process before being hired. The program also includes a required practicum at a law office where paralegal students gain practical skills under the supervision of an attorney site mentor.
“The ABA also wants a program to be relevant and reflect what’s currently happening in the legal world,” Fairbank said. “Our instructors are lawyers who understand the constantly changing legal landscape and bring that knowledge into the classroom. They work with our students so they have the skills required to immediately excel in the workforce.”