Start Your Legal Career in Two Years

Paralegals are team players who play a crucial role in the legal profession by assisting attorneys in all areas of the law. Attorneys can delegate any legal work to paralegals except tasks that involve giving legal advice or representing clients in court, so a well-rounded education is vital for paralegals.

Kirkwood’s Paralegal Studies program will prepare you for entry-level positions in the paralegal profession, and it can also give you the credentials you need to further your career if you’re already employed in legal work.

Obtaining a job-ready A.A. or A.A.S. degree can also serve as a springboard to a bachelor’s degree and law school.

How to Apply Program Details

Kirkwood offers more than $3 million in scholarships for students each year! Students in this program may be eligible to have half their tuition paid for by the Kibbie Grant.

Graduates of the Paralegal program will be able to:

  • Explain the role of the paralegal in the legal profession pursuant to the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • Produce legal documents.
  • Analyze and apply legal authority to fact-specific scenarios.
  • Demonstrate computer literacy applicable to the legal profession.

Students in the Paralegal program shall develop the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in an entry-level paralegal position.

Program Costs


School Year: 2024–25

Program Entry Semester: Fall, Spring, Summer

Fall Spring Fall Spring Total
Credit Hours per Semester 16 15 18 15 64
In-State Tuition $3,472 $3,255 $3,906 $3,255 $13,888
Technology Fee per Semester $50 $50 $50 $50 $200
Clinical Expenses (mileage, lodging, screenings, etc.) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Conferences/Seminars $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Course Resources (textbooks, software, etc.) $525 $656 $551 $708 $2,440
Course/Section Fees $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Laptop (required devices) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Testing Fees $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Third Party Credentials $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Tool Sets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Uniforms $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Estimated Cost $4,047 $3,961 $4,507 $4,013 $16,528


Costs provided are estimated and based on the following current tuition rates: $217 (In-State), $290 (Out-of-State), $400 (International).

Fees and costs are subject to change. To view all costs associated with attending college visit our Tuition and Costs page.

Sample Coursework

PRL-103 Introduction to Law (3)

Provides an overview of the American legal system and the practice of law. Introduces students to legal processes, court systems, courses of law, basic legal research methods, and to the nature of ethics and regulations of legal professions. Introduces the substantive law and skill areas students will encounter in subsequent legal courses. Examines the relationship between different kinds of legal systems and between social sciences and law. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PRL-116 Fundamentals of Legal Research and Writing (3)

Focuses on using a law library and Internet-based legal resources to solve legal problems including research strategies, analysis and application of law, and communication of research results orally and in written legal memoranda. Presents legal document preparation software, and the ethical duty of honesty and candor. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-176 Civil Litigation (3)

Teaches the rules, processes and paralegal skills for preparing cases for civil trials, including the preparation of complaints, discovery and motions. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-117 Advanced Legal Research and Writing (3)

Provides instruction in Internet-based legal resources and explores multiple methods to address complex legal research problems. Explores utilizing research results in appellate briefs and other advocacy legal documents. Instructs students in the use of legal document preparation software and the ethical duty of honesty and candor. Provides instruction on navigating Iowa's judicial website including the electronic filing system (EDMS). Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: PRL-116; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-174 Contracts (3)

Teaches the principles of contract law. Explores the required elements necessary for the creation of enforceable contracts and remedies available for breach of contract. Integrates the preparation and interpretation of contracts. Examines provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code relevant to contract law. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-133 Torts (3)

Provides instruction on the principles of tort law. Explores differences between intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability. Emphasizes the use and interpretation of primary and secondary sources of law to understand similarities and differences of torts. Explores and discusses the common use of the contingency fee agreement in tort law. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-121 Investigation for Paralegals (3)

Presents an overview of the fact-gathering process for paralegals including principles and techniques of investigation, sources of public and private information, methods for preserving information, and analyzing the probativeness, sufficiency and admissibility of facts for trial. Explores the Rules of Evidence and their application to the investigation process. Teaches the ethical duty of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege as it relates to investigations. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-143 Business Organization Law (3)

Provides instruction in the law of legal entities used in conducting business. Explores the similarities and differences between sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, and other types of business organizations. Examines the process necessary for the creation and existence of various business organizations. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-151 Real Estate Law (3)

Studies the law of real property. Examines common types of real estate transactions and conveyances. Explores the history of the real property system used in the United States. Offers available methods to finance real estate transactions. Explores title examination and title insurance. Teaches the ethical duty of competence. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-161 Family Law (3)

Introduces the laws of marriage and divorce. Explores the historical context of divorce in the United States. Addresses the divorce process including child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and jurisdiction. Explores paternity, adoption, and juvenile matters, and the ethical duty of conflict of interest. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-166 Estate Planning/Administration (3)

Provides instruction in the methods available for lifetime and testamentary estate planning. Provides instruction in the estate probate process. Examines the role of the Probate Court in the administration of estates. Examines the tax benefits and consequences associated with estate planning. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-171 Administrative Law (3)

Explores concepts of administration law and procedure at the federal and state levels. Students will learn the paralegal's role in the administrative process. Topics include agency discretion, delegation, agency rule making, agency investigations, formal adjudications and agency accountability. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-186 Employment Law Topics (3)

Studies the legal aspects of the employer-employee relationship. Examines federal labor laws, civil rights laws, privacy and harassment laws, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Examines human resource management issues related to employment. Addresses the role of various administrative agencies in their regulation of employment. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-192 Criminal Law and Procedure for the Paralegal (3)

Introduces the basic principles of criminal law and criminal procedure. Examines common law and statutory law. Covers the Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure and examines differences between Iowa and other jurisdictions. Identifies the processes required to prepare a criminal case for trial. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-193 Constitutional Law (3)

Introduces the underlying political structure of the American judiciary. Explores the political and legal foundations for civil rights and civil liberties. Develops an appreciation for interpreting and applying the Constitution as an expression of our deepest democratic values. Discusses the development of civil rights and liberties under the Bill of Rights, the Fourteenth Amendment, and legislative enactments. Examines the political and legal foundations of privacy and equality in the American political system. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

PRL-932 Internship (3)

Provides an opportunity to use and refine paralegal skills in a work setting with the guidance of legal professionals. Integrates monthly seminars throughout the internship semester to share and gain perspective on experiences. Credits: 3, Hours: (0/0/0/12), Prereq: PRL-101; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

Frequently Asked Questions

Graduates with Paralegal Studies degrees can obtain jobs in a variety of different career opportunities.

Explore Careers

Kirkwood paralegal graduates work in law firms, corporate legal departments, and other business and governmental offices such as prosecutors' offices, banks, title companies, and insurance companies.

The program coordinator shall have discretion to evaluate and approve the transfer of all legal specialty courses. A maximum transfer of 12 credits of legal specialty course work is allowed.

Students planning to pursue a degree at a four-year institution follow the Liberal Arts program requirements while at Kirkwood, completing general education and Paralegal elective courses that prepare them to transfer.

Graduates who have gone on to law school after completing their bachelor's degree have found their paralegal education at Kirkwood served as an excellent pre-law experience.

In addition, any student wishing to explore a legal career will find program courses useful. Introduction to Law, the first program course, satisfies three credit hours of social science requirement toward an A.A or A.A.S. degree. It is recommended that you work closely with your paralegal advisor.

Meet Our Faculty

Greg Clevenger
Title: Faculty/Coordinator
Phone: 319-398-5576
Office: 1024 Cedar Hall
Photo of Max Locher

“Kirkwood is very student oriented — like getting you through and actually teaching you the stuff, not just earning you credit. If you’re behind on stuff, they’re going to come to you, email you, and try to get you up to speed, because they want to see you succeed.”

Max Locher,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Social Sciences
2092 Cedar Hall