Certificate of Proficiency
Business, Technology, and
Professional Studies Division


The Paralegal Certificate of Proficiency program generally includes only legal specialty and law-related courses and is relatively short in duration. Proof of a prior associate or bachelor’s degree is required prior to admission and students must demonstrate at least 18 credits of approved general education coursework in that degree.

This certificate program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of legal professionals in a variety of legal employment settings;
  • Identify and implement standards of legal ethics and professionalism;
  • Demonstrate practical skills in a range of substantive legal areas;
  • Engage in effective written and verbal professional communication;
  • Develop appropriate methods for embarking on a legal career.

As part of this post-degree certificate program, each student must complete 18 credits of designated legal specialty courses which include 9 credits (three courses) of core legal specialty courses which must be attained through synchronous instruction. The remaining courses are offered online, on campus, daytime and/or evening.

The following legal specialty courses do not generally qualify for transfer into the certificate program: LEG 129, LEG 130, LEG 132, LEG 133, LEG 143, and LEG 255. Students may transfer up to six (6) credits of qualified non-legal specialty courses into the certificate program, pending review and approval.

Legal specialty courses are designed to provide students with instruction in practical paralegal skills and substantive legal theory. All are taught by attorneys, judges, and doctorate-level legal educators.

In the United States, paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public or engage in the practice of law, except as permitted by law. In New Jersey, only an attorney who is admitted to the state bar may practice law.

The ABA-approved certificate program is designed to provide the education to prepare for an entry-level paralegal career working under the supervision of an attorney, expand employment opportunities, or to advance an existing paralegal career.

Paralegal degree program

2021-2022 Academic Year
 earlier / Archive
CIP 220302
Credit-bearing certificate programs can serve as gateways to earning an associate degree. Students are encouraged to consult the program coordinator, an academic advisor or Success Coach to explore such opportunities.
Code Course (lecture/lab hours) Credits
LEG 129 Role of the Paralegal (3/0)
  • Must be among first three courses taken.
LEG 130 Civil Litigation I (3/0)
  • Must be among first three courses taken.
LEG 133 Legal Research and Writing (3/0)
  • Must be among first three courses taken.
  • ENG 101 or its equivalent is a prerequisite for LEG 133; consequently, the student's prior degree must include an English composition course equivalent to Mercer's ENG 101 with a minimum C grade.
LEG 143 Family Law (3/0) 3
  —    — Program elective
  • Select from BUS 107, 108, 111, 230; CRJ 202, 207, 212; HOS 208; LEG 208, 232, 257.
LEG 132 Civil Litigation II (3/0) 3
LEG 255 Legal Ethics (3/0) 3
LEG 256 Career Development for Law and Justice Professionals (1/0) 1
OST 219 Word Processing Concepts and Applications (2/2)  
  • OST 219 required unless comparable training completed in other undergraduate courses.
BUS 108 Business Law II (3/0)  
  —    — Program elective
  • Select from BUS 107, 108, 111, 230; CRJ 202, 207, 212; HOS 208; LEG 208, 232, 257.
NOTE: Prior to enrolling in this certificate program, students must present proof of award of an associate or bachelor’s degree and must have successfully completed (with minimum C grade) a basic English composition course and at least one other general education course.
NOTE: All students must complete 18 credits of required legal specialty courses LEG 129, 130, 132, 133, 143, and 255 -- none of which may be transferred from other institutions or (except for 143 and 255) completed through MercerOnline.