Policies

An Introduction: Professionalism

The policies and procedures outlined below are driven by the overarching commitment of the Paralegal Studies Program faculty to provide students with the best possible training to enter the profession of the law. As Judge Baer aptly stated:

"A profession is not a business. It is distinguished by the requirements of extensive formal training and learning…a code of ethics imposing standards qualitatively and extensively beyond those that prevail or are tolerated in the market place…and, notably, an obligation on its own members…to conduct themselves as members of a learned, disciplined and honorable occupation" — Hon. Harold Baer, Manhattan Federal Judge, Matter of Freeman, 34 NY2d 1, 7 (1974).

  • Admission and Retention Policy

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    Students who wish to be Paralegal Studies Program majors, must apply for admission to the program. Program application materials are available from the Program coordinator. Until a student has completed the program admission requirements, below, a student is designated as a Paralegal Program "Intent". Once a student successfully completes Introduction to Paralegalism and Legal Terminology (LEGL 211) and Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis (LEGL 304W), and is admitted to the Program, the Program coordinator will change the student’s transcripts to state that the student is a Paralegal Studies major.

    Students should complete the Application for Admission, and deliver it to the Program coordinator’s office, once they complete (or are completing) LEGL 211 and LEGL 304W. If a student is completing LEGL 211 and LEGL 304W, the student will be allowed to register for the next series of Program courses as if the student is already a designated Program major. If the student does not achieve the requisite grade in either LEGL 211 or LEGL 304W, the student remains unqualified for admission and must withdraw from any upper level LEGL courses for which the student has registered. The student is welcome to repeat either LEGL 211 or LEGL 304W according to the Program Retention Requirements, below.

    Timely application for admission to the Program does not guarantee admission. Likewise, because admission to the Program is competitive, the fact that you have satisfied the criteria set forth in the Admission Policy does not guarantee your admission. A student who is declined admission for any term is free to re-apply for admission in a later term.

    Program Admission Requirements

    Program admission criteria are:

    • Admission to the University as an undergraduate or second bachelor’s degree candidate;
    • Completion of ENGL 121, Composition II: Researching the Public Experience with a grade of "B" * or higher;
    • Completion of LEGL 211, Introduction to Paralegalism and Legal Terminology with a grade of "B-" or higher;
    • Completion of LEGL 304W, Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis I, with a grade of "C+" or higher; and
    • A cumulative EMU GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale **.

    Program Retention Requirements

    In addition to Program Admission requirements, Program majors will be required to:

    • Complete each program core course (e.g., all courses having an LEGL prefix [except LEGL 211 and LEGL 304W – see above], as well as BMMT 220) with a minimum grade of "C";
    • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale; and
    • Maintain a cumulative major GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
    • A student whose cumulative GPA or cumulative major GPA falls below 2.5 will be placed on Program probation for the next succeeding term. If the student fails to raise his or her cumulative GPA or cumulative major GPA, or both, as the case may be, to 2.5 or higher with the grades earned during the probationary term, the student will be dismissed from the Program. For purposes of this policy, a student who is placed on Program probation as the result of a deficient GPA at the close of a winter term will have until the close of the next fall term to raise his or her GPA to 2.5 or higher. If a student earns lower than a "C" in any Program core course (except LEGL 211 and LEGL 304W – see above), the student will be allowed to repeat the course two times. If the student fails to earn a "C" or better in the repeat course, the student will be dismissed from the Program.

    * Students applying for admission to the Program as Second Bachelor’s Degree candidates must present evidence of having completed an acceptable college-level English composition course with a grade of "B" or higher. A remedial English composition or writing course is NOT an acceptable college-level English composition course.

    ** Transfer students seeking admission to the Program must present evidence of having completed equivalent courses with the minimum required grades, and must also present evidence of having satisfied the minimum GPA requirement

    The Program Admission and Retention Policy was effective beginning with the winter 2005 term. These retention grade policies supersede general EMU grade policies for the Paralegal Studies major.

  • Advising

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    The program coordinator is your academic advisor for the ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Program. This means that you should contact the program coordinator as soon as you are accepted at Eastern Michigan University and/or have declared your major as Paralegal "Intent". All transfer students, incoming first-year students and Second Bachelor’s Degree candidates should also contact the program coordinator after your acceptance at EMU and your initial meeting with the College of Engineering and Technology's Student Services Office. Program students want to get started on the right foot towards a successful degree path. Skipping the step of contacting the program coordinator for help with academic advising is ill advised.

    There are a few TIPS that will help you have a successful academic advising meeting with the program coordinator. Remember that you are entering a profession and you should always be prepared for meetings! If you follow these TIPS, you will be on your way to an exciting Inside the Law Program of Study:

    Seven Tips for Planning for your advising appointment:

    1. Prepare ahead of time.
    2. Review the EMU Catalog and/or the website so that you know what Gen Ed and other courses you need to take to complete your degree.
    3. Review the Standard course schedule on this website. The schedule will tell you when the required Paralegal Studies courses are offered, allowing you to plan around other course work and employment.
    4. Look at the standard schedule of Paralegal courses and the EMU Catalog to make sure you know what prerequisites are required for the courses you want to take.
    5. You need a minimum of 124 total hours to receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies, which may not include prerequisites. There are other graduation requirements so review the EMU Catalog.
    6. You need a minimum of 50 credit hours to receive a Second Bachelor’s Degree. If you are a transfer student, make sure all of your transcripts have been sent to EMU’s Office of Admissions. The program coordinator cannot assess transfer credit until the credit has been accepted by the University.
    7. If you are a Second Bachelor’s Degree student, first meet with the Second Bachelor’s Degree Advisor, in the College of Engineering and Technology's Student Services Office, and then bring your program of study to the program coordinator for review and approval.
  • Course Enrollments

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    Every course has an enrollment limitation, or cap. With the exception of LEGL 416, all program courses are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Inability to enroll in a program course, whether caused by untimely registration or otherwise, may lead to delays in your graduation.

    Every course also has enrollment minimums set by the University. If a course in which you have enrolled is cancelled because of low enrollment, you should contact the program coordinator if you need help in making other arrangements.

  • Course Overrides

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    General Override Procedure

    If you wish to request an override for a LEGL course, contact the program coordinator in an email containing the following information: name, E#, course name and the course CRN (course registration number). Failure to provide this information may result in the program coordinator’s ignoring the override request until a proper email is received. The program coordinator will refer override requests to the appropriate instructor of record for approval and processing.

    Prerequisite Overrides Are Strongly Disfavored

    Course sequences are designed in a way such that later courses build upon skills and competencies taught in their prerequisites. A prerequisite override will be granted only under exceptional circumstances, and only if the student can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the program coordinator and the course instructor that his or her learning and performance in the course will not be impaired on account of the override. A prerequisite override does not excuse the student from taking the overridden course, nor is an override considered to be fulfillment of the overridden course. A prerequisite override only allows the student to take a sequential course out of order.

    BMMT Department policy mandates that only the instructor of record for a course may override a prerequisite to that course, unless the instructor of record for a course is an adjunct instructor. If the instructor is an adjunct, then the student must consult the program coordinator for assistance.

  • Course Substitutions

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    Each program course is part of the curriculum because it is designed to impart skills and competencies that are essential or useful to paralegals and other legal professionals. Substitutions for required Program courses will be granted only under exceptional circumstances, and only if the student can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the program coordinator that he or she has the competencies of the course for which substitution is being sought. In every case, a student seeking a course substitution must obtain the permission of the program coordinator before taking the course that the student will seek to have substituted for a program course.

    Course Substitution Paperwork

    If the program coordinator approves a program course substitution, you are responsible for completing the paperwork necessary to have the substitution made a part of your University record. The required course substitution form and instructions for completing the form are available from the program coordinator or in the STS Main Office, 122 Sill Hall.

  • Incompletes

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    Incompletes are strongly discouraged. The University policy on incompletes is as follows:

    An incomplete (I) grade may be awarded only when a student has completed the majority of the work of a course and the student's work has been of acceptable quality ("C" or better for undergraduate students) but the required amount of work has not been completed because of illness, necessary absence, or other satisfactory reasons. It is never applied to poor work or nonattendance of class by the student. It means the student has informed the instructor of the reason for the requested incomplete, and the instructor has agreed to the request. If you receive a grade of incomplete (I) in a course, you should not re-register for the course. An (I) grade must be replaced by a grade within one calendar year from the end of the semester or session in which the grade was given. The initiative for removal of an incomplete rests with the student. If not converted by the end of the one-year period, the incomplete will remain as a permanent part of the student’s record.

    The program construes "illness, necessary absence, or other satisfactory reasons" to include:
    (1) a death in your immediate family (meaning parents, grandparents, and siblings, and aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews where the relationship is not more distant than first degree); (2) a documented illness, injury, or condition for which you are under a physician's care and which incapacitates you for an extended period of time; (3) being called to active duty in the United States Armed Forces during the term in which the incomplete is requested; or (4) other extraordinary circumstances which, in the judgment of the "instructor of record for the course", would prevent a reasonable person from completing the course requirements in a timely manner. Where the phrase instructor of record for the course is used in this policy, if the instructor of record is a member of the Program's adjunct faculty, then that phrase means both the adjunct faculty member and the Program coordinator, and all requests must be delivered to, and permissions must be secured from, both the adjunct faculty member and the Program coordinator.

    Every request to take an incomplete must be in writing and must conform to the requirements subsection .30 of Rule 100, except that the ten-day limitation therein does not apply. Appropriate documentary evidence must be included. The written request must be delivered to the instructor of record for the course. Oral requests will not be considered. Permission from the instructor of record for the course must also be in writing. Except in cases of unforeseeable emergency, a request must be submitted prior to the close of the last week of regularly scheduled classes for the term in which an incomplete is being requested.

    In all cases, the discretion to allow a student to take an incomplete is vested in the instructor of record for the course. It is the policy of the Program to exercise that discretion in favor of denying a request for an incomplete. The burden is on the student requesting the incomplete to demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or she has satisfied the criteria for taking an incomplete. If the instructor of record for the course is a member of the adjunct faculty, then the determination of the program coordinator as to whether an incomplete will be granted shall be final.

    The program adheres strictly to the one-year completion requirement. Exceptions to this requirement will be considered only when a student is able to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances which, in the judgment of the instructor of record for the course, reasonably prevent the student from completing the course requirements within one year. Permission to extend the time for completion of an incomplete beyond the one-year period must be secured by the student from the instructor of record for the course and, pursuant to University policy, from the associate dean of the College of Engineering and Technology. Every request to extend the period of completion beyond the one-year period must be in writing and must conform to the requirements subsection .30 of Rule 100, except that the-ten day limitation therein does not apply. The request must be delivered to the instructor of record for the course and the associate dean of the College of Engineering and Technology. Permission from the instructor of record for the course and from the associate dean of the College of Engineering and Technology to extend the time for completion must also be in writing.

  • Prior Learning Assessment Hours

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    If a student qualifies for credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), a maximum of 9 LEGL core credit hours may be earned through PLA. For more information about PLA or transfer credit, please consult the program coordinator.
  • Program Internship Requirements

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    All program majors must complete the required program internship, LEGL 416. (Note: This Internship course fulfills the General Education requirement of a Learning Beyond the Classroom (LBC) course.) All questions about the Internship, including but not limited to the timing of the Internship, the suitability of a location for the Internship, the suitability of clinical Internship work, and the substantive work that must be completed as part of the classroom and clinical Internship components, should be directed to the instructor of record for the class or the program coordinator. In order to insure that a student’s internship is a successful experience, a student may not accept an internship for credit until the internship has been approved by the instructor of record or the program coordinator. A student must complete all prerequisite courses before entering LEGL 416. (All prerequisites are listed in the University Catalog.)

    LEGL 416 is offered every winter term. If needed because of anticipated graduations, LEGL 416 may also be offered during the spring term. As with all program courses, the fact that LEGL 416 is offered does not guarantee that there will be sufficient enrollments to meet the required course minimum. Enrollment priority for LEGL 416 will be based upon anticipated date of graduation. For example, a student who reasonably expects to graduate at the end of the winter term would be given enrollment priority for winter LEGL 416 over a student who expects to graduate at the end of the spring, summer, or next fall term. Absent advance written permission, you may not begin your clinical internship work (e.g., your field experience) prior to the time that you begin LEGL 416. The location of your Internship, as well as the general nature of the substantive clinical Internship work you will do, must be approved in advance.

    Your clinical Internship work must be properly supervised. If you are working in an office where legal services are being provided, you must be supervised by a licensed attorney. Under no circumstances are you to engage in activities that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law. If you are uncertain about whether any task you are asked to complete might constitute the unauthorized practice of law, you should consult with your supervising attorney. You should also consult with the instructor of record for the class, or with the program coordinator.

    The program has established more specific guidelines and rules regarding the program Internship. These guidelines and rules are incorporated in the LEGL 416 syllabus and course materials. You must familiarize yourself with the guidelines and rules that are outlined. Failure to follow the syllabus, and all specific guidelines and rules of the LEGL 416 course, may result in failure to receive credit for, or a passing grade in, LEGL 416. This may result in your graduation being delayed.

  • Program of Study

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    The program offers legal courses (those with an "LEGL" prefix) based on a standard schedule. This standardized schedule was created so that each program major can develop a plan of study leading to graduation. The program coordinator is available to help you with your plan of study. However, it is your responsibility to plan your studies through graduation. This means that you must be familiar with: (1) all University General Education requirements, including all prerequisite courses; (2) all program course requirements, including all prerequisite courses; and (3) all University graduation requirements. Failure to develop and follow a plan of study may cause delays in your graduation.

    Independent Study

    In the rare case, there may be a need for a student to engage in a course of “Independent Study.” All Independent Study requests must be approved by the Professor as well as by the School Director and the program coordinator. Independent Studies are neither permitted as a substitute for University and program degree requirements nor as a part of a plan to improve a student’s GPA. There is an Independent Study Application, which can be obtained from the program coordinator.

  • Standard Course Scheduling

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    Standard course schedule: This is the Program's Schedule of Paralegal (Legal Assisting) courses. The Program offers courses each fall and winter on a standard course schedule. In other words, we offer the same LEGL courses each fall term, and the same LEGL courses each winter term. This schedule was created so that students can plan their schedules well in advance, and to accommodate the scheduling needs of a variety of students. Courses having an LEGL prefix will be scheduled as described here, but the fact that a course is scheduled does not guarantee that there will be sufficient enrollment for that class to be offered. If a course is canceled for lack of enrollment, students should consult the Program Coordinator regarding possible substitution or transfer to another section. In the summer term, one or two LEGL courses may be offered.

    See course schedules.

  • Student Responsibilities

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    The Paralegal Studies Faculty welcomes every student to our vibrant and exciting Paralegal Studies classes. Faculty members are committed to do all that they can to insure your educational success. Part of the Program’s overall educational goal is to provide a professional atmosphere in which students can learn the necessary legal background and skills to enter the legal world. Part of this professional atmosphere demands professional conduct and that utmost respect be shown towards faculty, staff and fellow students. If a student has an issue with a professor, etiquette requires that the student address the issue directly with the professor and not with the Program Coordinator or another faculty or staff member. Students should remember that professional conduct includes understanding that negative comments about any faculty member (fellow student or staff member), made either in the classroom or outside of it, are not just unprofessional but may generate disciplinary action against the student.

    As part of the preparation for the legal profession, the Paralegal Studies Program maintains a "zero tolerance" for cheating and plagiarism. Each Paralegal Studies Program student is expected to read and comply with these Program Policies & Procedures, the University’s Student Judicial Code and all rules outlined in respective course syllabi.

    Faculty members welcome your questions about the great field of law!

  • Transfer Students

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    Minimum Program Hours

    Regardless of the number of hours accepted by the University for transfer credit, and irrespective of any other courses that may be required, all students seeking a Bachelor of Science degree or a Second Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Paralegal Assistant Studies must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of Program courses, including at least 30 hours of legal courses (those having an "LEGL" prefix) at Eastern Michigan University.

    Transfer Students: Transfer Credit

    If you are a declared Paralegal Studies major, then the program coordinator is your program academic advisor. Pursuant to University policy, the program coordinator has authority to approve transfer credit for certain program courses. Specifically, the program coordinator has authority, in his or her discretion, to approve transfer credit for courses having an "LEGL" or "BMMT" prefix. The program coordinator cannot approve transfer credit for any courses with prefixes other than these. The program coordinator cannot approve transfer credit for any University General Education courses (other than those with a "BMMT" prefix), nor can the program coordinator approve transfer credit for Program courses that are offered through other departments (e.g., "ACC"; "LAW"; "PLSC"). Students seeking transfer credit for a non-LEGL or non-BMMT course must consult with the College of Engineering and Technology academic adviser or with the department offering the courses for which transfer credit is sought