California law defines a "Paralegal" as a person who either contracts with or is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs substantial legal work under the direction and supervision of an attorney. Paralegals provide important support to attorneys, law firms, corporations, governmental agencies, and other entities by performing an array of legal tasks. Tasks include, but are not limited to case planning, legal research, interviewing clients, fact gathering and retrieving information, drafting and analyzing legal documents; collecting, compiling, and utilizing technical information to make an independent decision and recommendation to the supervising attorney. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

This Professional Certificate Program Provides:

  • An ABA Approved Program.
  • Real-world exposure to the legal field.
  • An understanding of the legal system.
  • Substantive and procedural legal knowledge along with practical applications.

Intended Audience: Paralegal professionals, legal secretaries, and other law office administrative staff seeking to better perform their duties and/or advance their professional standing, individuals with the appropriate educational background (see "Requirements") and a desire to work in this challenging and rewarding profession, and individuals wishing to study specific subjects without pursuing the certificate.

Additional Details

Federal Financial Aid Available:

Program Course Schedule

Required Courses (21 units) Course # Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
Fundamentals of Paralegal Studies LAW X455.6 4 UCSB      
Case Management LAW X403 2   UCSB    
Civil Litigation LAW X421 3   UCSB    
Ethics for the Paralegal LAW X402.2 1 UCSB   UCSB  
Technology in the Law Office LAW X456.61 3 Ventura   UCSB  
Legal Research, Writing, & Analysis I LAW X417.3 4   UCSB   UCSB
Legal Research, Writing, & Analysis II LAW X417.4 4 Ventura   UCSB  
Elective Courses
(15 units required)
Business Law BUSAD X108 4 UCSB   UCSB  
Contract Law LAW X455.7 3 Online   Online  
Criminal Law LAW X419 3   Online    
Family Law LAW X440 3     UCSB  
Juvenile Law for Paralegals LAW X409 3   Online    
Paralegal Internship* LAW X406 3        
Tort Law for Paralegals LAW X417.6 3 UCSB      
Wills and Trusts I LAW X420 3 Online   UCSB  
Wills and Trusts II LAW X455.4 3       UCSB
Aging and the Law LAW X422 3       Online
Employment Law for Paralegals LAW X423 3   UCSB    

UCSB UCSB      Ventura Ventura      Online Online

*As requested

This matrix lists courses we plan to offer during the time indicated and is subject to change. Additional courses may be offered; see our current quarter's catalog for the most up-to-date information.


To qualify for admission to the program, students must have completed a minimum of 55 quarter units (37 semester) in general education courses taken as part of a bachelor's degree objective at an accredited college or university.

The program requirements are defined in the Program Course Schedule. For more information visit UCSB Extension's Help Center.


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Paralegal Application Form [PDF]

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Information on Textbooks

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Additional Certificate Information