FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

Q – What is a paralegal?

A – According to the American Bar Association, a paralegal is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, government agency, or other entity, who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. Paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney and adhere to recognized ethical standards and rules of professional responsibility.

Q – What duties does a paralegal perform?

A – While attorneys assume ultimate responsibility for legal work, they often delegate many of their tasks to paralegals.

Whether in the office, in the library or in court, paralegals are active in nearly every aspect of law. Working under an attorney’s supervision, your job responsibilities can include interviewing clients and witnesses, drafting and processing legal documents, and conducting legal research.

One of a paralegal’s most important tasks is helping attorneys prepare for closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Paralegals investigate the facts of cases and ensure that all relevant information is considered. They also identify appropriate laws, judicial decisions, legal articles and other materials that are relevant to assigned cases. After they analyze the information, paralegals may prepare written reports that attorneys use in determining how cases should be handled.

Q – What skills are required to be a good paralegal?

A – According to the American Bar Association, success will depend on your ability to master both analytical and technical skills. The development of good problem-solving and organizational skills is essential, as is the ability to write and speak clearly and concisely. Also crucial is attention to detail and the ability to prioritize. The ability to work independently and to function effectively as a team player are key interpersonal skills you must have to work successfully in a legal environment. The use of technology is also a critical component in providing quality and effective legal services. Keeping abreast in this dynamic area is key to long-term success. The ever-changing legal environment presents an ongoing challenge to develop new skills and to seek continuing legal education.

Q – Who teaches the courses in the Program?

A – The faculty is comprised of experienced attorneys and members of the judiciary who specialize in the area of law which they are teaching. Many faculty members are associated with some of the leading law firms and corporations in the region.

Q – Is this program American Bar Association (ABA) approved?

A – The American Bar Association takes an active role in establishing professional standards for legal assistants and gives its approval to qualified paralegal training programs. FDU’s Paralegal Studies Program received the American Bar Association approval in 1990 and was reapproved in 1997, 2000, 2007, and 2014.

Q – Does ABA approval matter?

A – An ABA-approved program has been developed not only by the school, but with input from paralegal associations, local bar associations, experienced paralegals, paralegal managers, law firm representatives, corporations, government agencies and other organizations that may hire paralegals. In other words, there has been an assessment not only of the need for paralegals, but of the specific skills and knowledge needed by paralegals in the real world. As a result, an ABA-approved program has been designed to meet very real needs of law, business and government. In addition, a required advisory committee comprised of professionals and educators drawn primarily from the school’s local community helps ensure that such a program remains relevant.

Q – What is a noncredit program?

A – The Division of Continuing Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University's Petrocelli College offers professional development programs and courses for adult learners interested in upgrading their skills, advancing their careers, or pursuing lifelong learning.

Students, who have successfully completed the FDU Paralegal Studies Program and can supply the Certificate of Completion demonstrating passing scores and the Certificate Award, may utilize this documentation to receive up to 18 undergraduate "free elective" college credits at FDU. These credits can only be posted toward an FDU undergraduate degree after the completion of 6 (six) weighted FDU undergraduate college credits.

Receipt of the entire 18 credits is dependent upon the curriculum and the availability of free electives within that degree program. The student should be prepared to supply the Paralegal Certificate and scores with a copy of their FDU Degree Check Sheet and an official FDU transcript to Dr. Denise Hart, Director, Adult Education who will assist the student with the receipt of undergraduate college credit for this program. For information and assistance, students may call or email Dr. Hart at (201) 692-6508 or hart@fdu.edu.

Upon completion of the FDU Paralegal Studies Certificate, students can transfer in a maximum of 6 credits to the Master of Administrative Science program. Students must follow the application & registration process. After successful completion of their first semester in the MAS program, students will need to submit the Paralegal Studies Certificate to the MAS office for transfer credits in lieu of MADS 6719 ST: Litigation Preparation & Administration and MADS 6635 Legal Research Methods & Analysis. For additional information, please contact the School of Administrative Science, (201) 692-7171 or mas@fdu.edu.

Students who attend other colleges and universities should inquire with the Advising Staff at said institution to determine if FDU’s Paralegal Program can be awarded college credit.

Q – May I attend classes in a different location?

A – Yes. When you register for the program, you are registered for the program as cohort in the day or evening session in one location. However, as a Continuing Education program for adult learners, we will work with students with extenuating circumstances on an as needed basis to allow students to switch sessions or locations and complete the courses required to earn the Certificate of Completion.

Students may also register to take additional legal specialty courses in other sessions and campuses at a reduced rate.

Q – Can a student transfer from a day to an evening course?

A – Yes. Students can transfer between the day and evening session or switch campuses if needed. The administration will work with the student to create a calendar that will allow the student to complete the program at their earliest possible convenience.

Q – When will I receive confirmation of my acceptance?

A – You will receive a letter of acceptance and registration packet approximately one week after receipt and review of all required application materials. Upon submission of a signed registration form and $75.00 registration fee, you will be able to view your schedule and bill within 10 days on Webadvisor. A week prior to the start of the program, you will receive an email from a staff member of the Paralegal Administration on where to report for the first day of class and course material. On the first day of class, you will attend an orientation where your schedule will be disbursed.

Q – How do I log into Webadvisor?

A – You will first need to set up a “Webmail account”. You can do so by going to www.fdu.edu. Under the WEBSHORTCUTS drop down box select Office 365. In the column located at the right you should select “Create New Account.’ Once your account is created a temporary Webadvisor ID will be sent to you. If assistance is needed you can contact the HELP DESK at 973-443-8822.

Q – What is a passing score in each paralegal course?

A – Students must earn a minimum of 65 percent in each course. Class assignments and exams will be administered. Participants must achieve an overall score of 65 percent or higher in the program to graduate.

Q – What if I experience a difficult life event and must withdraw from the program?

A – If a leave of absence is required due to serious illness or personal issues, please contact the Associate Dean of Legal Studies. A request for a leave of absence must be made in writing. A student who has been granted a leave of absence will be discontinued from the Program, unless the student returns within a year. Beyond a year, the leave of absence will convert to a withdrawal from the Program and students will be charged the current rate for any course that needs to be completed. Exceptions to this policy will be made on a very limited basis.

Q – What is the cancellation - refund policy?

Withdrawal from the Program: Students must submit a written notice to the Associate Dean of Legal Studies via certified mail. The effective date of notification will be the date of receipt. Non-attendance does not constitute an official withdrawal. Any student wishing to withdraw or to rejoin the Program at a later time will have to secure permission from the Associate Dean of Legal Studies and will be charged the current rate for any course that needs to be completed.

Cancellation - Refund Policy
Students will be entitled to tuition refund or cancellation of charges for tuition, other than the $25 application fee and $75 registration fee, in accordance with the following schedule:
Prior to the first day of class - 100% cancellation of tuition
During the first week of class - 90% credit for tuition charges only
During the second week of class - 80% credit for tuition charges only
During the third week of class - 60% credit for tuition charges only
During the fourth week of class - 40% credit for tuition charges only
During the fifth week of class- 20% credit for tuition charges only
Thereafter - No Refund 

Q. – Can I transfer credits from another college/university?

A – The program is a non-credit, post-baccalaureate certificate program which is offered as a co-hort as a 6-month day program or 12-month evening program. There are nine courses contained in the co-hort. We do not offer individual courses, therefore, we cannot transfer in any coursework/ credits from another college/university.

Q – Does the Paralegal course provide me with college credits?

AStudents, who have successfully completed the FDU Paralegal Studies Program and can supply the Certificate of Completion demonstrating passing scores and the Certificate Award, may utilize this documentation to receive up to 18 undergraduate "free elective" college credits at FDU.  These credits can only be posted toward an FDU undergraduate degree after the completion of 6 (six) weighted FDU undergraduate college credits.

Receipt of the entire 18 credits is dependent upon the curriculum and the availability of free electives within that degree program. The student should be prepared to supply the Paralegal Certificate and scores with a copy of their FDU Degree Check Sheet and an official FDU transcript to Dr. Denise Hart, Director, Adult Education who will assist the student with the receipt of undergraduate college credit for this program. For information and assistance, students may call or email Dr. Hart at (201) 692-6508 or hart@fdu.edu.


Upon completion of the FDU Paralegal Studies Certificate, students can transfer in a maximum of 6 credits to the Master of Administrative Science program. Students must follow the application & registration process. After successful completion of their first semester in the MAS program, students will need to submit the Paralegal Studies Certificate to the MAS office for transfer credits in lieu of MADS 6719 ST: Litigation Preparation & Administration and MADS 6635 Legal Research Methods & Analysis. For additional information, please contact the School of Administrative Science, (201) 692-7171 or mas@fdu.edu.

Students who attend other colleges and universities should inquire with the Advising Staff at said institution to determine if FDU’s Paralegal Program can be awarded college credit.

Q – Are there attendance requirements?

A – Students are required to attend lectures as mandated by the American Bar Association. Students must maintain a certain amount of individual class hours in order to fulfill these requirements. Any student that misses more than 3 classes in Civil Litigation, Corporate Law, or Real Estate Law, more than 2 classes in Criminal Law, Family Law, Legal Research & Writing, Estates Trusts & Wills, or the Legal Specialty course, and/or more than 1 class in Ethics will automatically be required to repeat the course and charged the current rate for the course.

At the discretion of the instructor, any student that arrives late for class or leaves early on a consistent basis and/or in an excessive manner will be penalized. Students will receive an absence for every three late arrivals to or early departures from class.

Q – Is the Official Transcript needed to submit with my application?

A – An unofficial copy of your transcript will suffice for the application process. However, in order to receive a Certificate of Completion and Final Transcript, a student must ensure that all official transcripts from prior educational institutions and transcript evaluation for international degrees, if applicable, were received.

Q – How much course work is required outside of the classroom?

A - Each course varies in the amount of work expected to be completed outside the classroom, but all courses require reading, completing assignments and studying for exams. Students should be organized and try to schedule some dedicated, distraction free time to devote to the course work.

Q – Can I register for a course that is full or has already started?

A - The program is offered three times a year – Spring (March), Summer (June) and Fall (October). Registration is accepted until the first day of class in each session. Registration is limited to seating capacity. However, the administration has the discretion to offer an additional section of the Program if there are a large number of registrants. Please check our website or contact the Administrative Office at 877-FDU-5222 for additional information regarding dates of class starts.

Q – What if I have a foreign degree?

A – We require an official evaluation of the foreign degree for admission to the Program. You can have the evaluation done by a service such as WES www.wes.org or Globe www.globelanguage.com.

Q – Will I have to take a TOEFL Exam?

A – It is the University policy that all students with a degree obtained in a foreign country to take the TOEFL exam.FDU's minimum acceptable scores are the following:
Internet-based: 79
Computer-based: 213
Paper-based: 550

However, we can waive this policy on a limited basis and accept an alternate for language proficiency. For more information on the TOEFL exam you can contact www.ets.org or global@fdu.edu.

Q – What if I am planning on moving out of state?

A – You could take the course and work in another state. As an American Bar Association approved program, we are recognized nationally and use national textbooks, as well as teach NJ law.

Q – Will graduates be able to sit for the “NALA” CP  exam?

A – Certification is the process through which an organization grants formal recognition to a paralegal who meets certain established requirements, including formal training, work experience, and passing an examination. Certification signifies to employers and clients that these paralegals possess a specified level of understanding and competence in the field. Once a paralegal has met these criteria, they may use the designation “Certified Paralegal” or “CP.” NALA testing months are January, May and September. Fairleigh Dickinson University is an approved testing site and offers assistance with reviews for the test. Visit www.nala.org for more information.

Q – How many students have gotten jobs?

A – Based on data collected to date, out of the 200-300 students per year that took the program, for the 2013 academic year, the on-time graduation rate was approximately 4 out of 5 students or 82% and the job placement rate for those working was approximately 4 out of 5 students or 86%.

Q – Is there Bus/Train Service to the campuses?

A – Public transportation is available and/or conveniently located for all three program locations. Contact NJ Transit at www.njtransit.com for more information.

Q – What forms of payment are acceptable?

A – The University accepts cash, checks, money orders, VISA, Mastercard and American Express credit card payments. Invoices will be mailed out periodically throughout the semester.  

Q – How do I finance the program?

A – A sample list of loan options can be found at the following link, http://view2.fdu.edu/academics/continuing-education/paralegal-studies/admissions/loan-programs/ . However, choosing the right lender is the student’s responsibility.   Please feel free to contact Jessica Presco-Georgianni in the Office of Enrollment Services at 973-443-8618 or presco@fdu.edu for further information.

Q – What if I pay my tuition and decide to apply for a loan?

A – As soon as the University receives your loan money a refund check will be processed and mailed to your address on record.

Q – Does Fairleigh Dickinson University offer a payment plan for those who need to pay their balance in installments?

A – Yes, upon acceptance into the Paralegal Program a registration packet will be mailed to your home address. If you are attending the Day Program your installment payments are divided over 6 consecutive months. If you are attending the Evening Program your installments are divided over 12 consecutive months. In addition, you may opt to have your credit card automatically charged by completing an additional authorization form. A $15.00 per month penalty will be assessed for all payments received after the scheduled due dates. All contracts will be mailed in an acceptance package along with the registration form. If you need a copy of the Payment Plan contracts, please feel free to call Jessica Presco-Georgianni in Enrollment Services at 973-443-8618 or email her at presco@fdu.edu.

Q – Does Fairleigh Dickinson University accept Workforce Development Agreements?

A – Yes, you will need to provide the Office of Enrollment Services with your Training Agreement and Approval of Funds along with the Contact Information for the County in which you are receiving funding. The Paralegal Studies Program accepts WIA and WDP grants in addition to other federal and state funded programs. The University does not participate in the state Tuition Waiver Program.

Q – What if I have further questions?

A – Please contact the Administrative Office: 877-FDU-5222 or paralegal@fdu.edu
For Financial questions, contact Jessica Presco Georgianni in Enrollment Services at 973-443-8618 or presco@fdu.edu