School and Ranking Information
Students interested in becoming a paralegal or legal assistant can choose from around eight schools within a 15-mile radius of downtown Chicago, IL. Based on rankings, graduation rates and program offerings, the top Chicago schools for paralegal studies are listed below. All three schools of these schools offer paralegal programs that are approved by the American Bar Association.
- Winner: Loyola University Chicago featured the highest graduation rates and awarded the most credentials in this area in 2011-2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It offers a paralegal studies post-bachelor's certificate program, as well as a bachelor's degree program with a concentration in paralegal studies.
- Runner Up #1: Roosevelt University offers paralegal studies certificates, as well as bachelor's degree programs with concentrations in paralegal studies. It offers the oldest and largest program in the Midwest.
- Runner Up #2: Robert Morris University Illinois has the lowest tuition rate among the three top schools and awarded the second-most credentials in this field. It offers an associate degree program in paralegal studies.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Loyola University Chicago||Roosevelt University||Robert Morris University Illinois|
|2013 Ranking(s)|| 106th among national universities*
49th among best value schools, nationwide*
|78th among regional universities (Midwest)*||102nd among regional universities (Midwest)*|
|Location||Chicago, IL||Chicago, IL||Chicago, IL|
|School Type||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, private not-for-profit|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$34,578**||$29,950**||$22,200**|
|Paralegal Studies Award Levels Offered||Bachelor's degree; post-bachelor's certificate||Bachelor's degree; post-bachelor's certificate||Associate degree|
|Paralegal Studies Degrees and/or Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||85**||23**||78**|
|Most Popular Paralegal Studies Program (2011-2012)||Legal Assistant/Paralegal Postgraduate Certificate (85 awarded)**||Bachelor's in Legal Assistant/Paralegal (23 awarded)**||Associate in Legal Assistant/Paralegal (78 awarded)**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class||70%**||42%**||50%**|
|Noteworthy||Students have access to an online job board available only to paralegal students||Roosevelt's instructors are paralegals and lawyers||RMU's graduation rate is among the top five for Illinois not-for-profit universities***|
Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES, College Navigator, ***Chronicle of Higher Education.
Winner: Loyola University
- Loyola's paralegal certificate program can be customized through different specializations
- 82% of 2012 paralegal program graduates are working in the legal field
- The Institute for Paralegal Studies is an active member of many industry organizations, including the Illinois Paralegal Association, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the American Association for Paralegal Education
The Institute for Paralegal Studies offers a post-bachelor's certificate in paralegal studies. Students interested in earning a paralegal studies certificate can choose from the following concentrations: litigation practice, corporate practice or the customized specialization. The customized concentration includes courses in legal ethics, legal research and technology skills.
The School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Loyola University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Management with a concentration in paralegal studies. The bachelor's degree program is comprised of 126 credits; of this total, 24 credits are from paralegal studies courses with the remainder being electives, general education courses and major-related courses. Paralegal students may also complete a 120-hour on-site internship. At the end of the internship, each participant writes a report stating what he or she learned or accomplished.
Runner-Up #1: Roosevelt University
- Roosevelt's paralegal program is one of the oldest and largest in the Midwest, according to the school
- Students can join Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX), a national paralegal honor society
Roosevelt University offers several options for paralegal studies through its Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies, which offers a Bachelor of Arts with a certificate in paralegal studies, a Bachelor of Professional Studies with a major in paralegal studies and a post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies. These programs focus on the research, analysis and technical legal skills necessary to work as a paralegal. Within the BA program, students acquire skills in legal research, critical reasoning, document preparation and pre-trial litigation procedures. Internships are also required.
The BPS program is designed for students interested in law careers and covers ethics, legal research, civil law and commercial law. The 24-credit, 1-year certificate program is available to bachelor's degree holders and teaches students how to gather documents and evidence, prepare legal pleadings and research the law. Instruction also includes commercial and civil law, trial litigation procedures and paralegal ethics and regulations. It is available for full-time and part-time students on the Chicago campus. Online and weekend programs can be found at the Schaumburg campus.
Runner-Up #2: Robert Morris University Illinois
- RMU's Institute of Experiential Learning provides students with the theory and practical experience they need to succeed in their careers
- School is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education
- 97% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received some form of financial aid in 2011-2012, according to NCES
Robert Morris University is a nationally ranked university that has ten campus locations and offers an extensive list of programs covering various careers. RMU offers an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal program for students interested in careers working in legal settings. The 92-credit program includes courses in civil litigation; estates, wills and trusts; torts and personal injury; legal applications; ethics; legal research and writing. The courses in this program prepare students to work as paralegals or can be transferred to advance programs for those students who want to further their education.