Legal Studies

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Available on the Vincennes campus

A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.


American Bar Association Bylaws, Article 21.12
Paralegals work under the direct supervision of lawyers and can assist a lawyer in nearly every aspect of the lawyer's practice. Paralegals have found great satisfaction in gathering and organizing information and evidence for attorneys. They do legal research, prepare legal documents and court papers for lawyer review, and help attorneys prepare for trials or other hearings, and handle many other matters that may properly be delegated to the legal assistant. Paralegals not only work in law firms, but in corporate legal departments, banks, insurance companies, courts and government agencies.


Acceptance of Legal Specialty Transfer Coursework

For Academic Institutions that have an Articulation Agreement with Vincennes University, Legal Specialty Course Transfer Credit will follow the Articulation Agreement. All other Academic Institutions that seek Legal Specialty Course Transfer Credit, must follow the following VU Paralegal Policy on Accepting Legal Specialty Course Work and Awarding Legal Specialty Credit.


The Legal Studies Program prepares graduates to be ready for employment as entry-level paralegals in both the public and private sector. Its specific objectives are:

  • To give graduates an understanding of the ethical rules governing them and their employers and their responsibilities to the client and the profession.
  • To give graduates an understanding of the role of courts and of law in society and their role in delivering competent and efficient legal service.
  • To prepare graduates to draft legal documents for use in at least three areas of law.
  • To evaluate curriculum on a regular basis and to make changes in the curriculum as the paralegal profession evolves.

The Legal Studies Program at Vincennes University began operation in the fall of 1976. The program graduated its first students (five of them) in 1979, since that time, over 450 students have graduated from the program. The Paralegal Program received American Bar Association (ABA) approval in August 1985. The program joined the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) in 1996.

The Legal Studies Program is located in the Homeland Security Building, which faces Second Street in Vincennes, Indiana. The Program is under the administration of the College of Business and Public Service, which is led by Dean Anna Miller and housed in the Department of Law & Safety, under the direction of Professor Louis Caprino. Vanessa A. Purdom is the Paralegal Program Chair and Coordinator. Professor Purdom can be reached at the address below:

Vanessa A. Purdom, JD
Homeland Security Building Room 206
Vincennes University
1002 North First Street
Vincennes, IN 47591

Telephone: (812) 888-5764
Fax: (812) 888-4586

Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.

Learn more about the courses required for this major

Mission Statement and Program Outcomes



VU Paralegal Policy on Accepting Legal Specialty Course Work and awarding Legal Speciality Credit