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The UC San Diego Extension paralegal program combines practical skills with legal theory and analysis. Classes are taught by prominent attorneys and experienced paralegals who provide students with a balanced perspective and insight into the tasks paralegals perform. Emphasis is placed on the working relationship between the paralegal and attorney. Course content focuses on civil litigation; areas of curriculum include legal research, writing, interviewing and substantive and procedural law.

American Bar Association approved Final_30th-Anniversary-Mark_Paralegal-01.png

American Bar Association (ABA) approval has become a benchmark for many employers who hire paralegals. To be considered for approval by the ABA, a program must meet standards adopted by the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals. Both the UCSD Extension accelerated and part-time study programs have been granted ABA approval.

Program goals

  • To familiarize students with the legal system and the role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services in the public and private sectors.
  • To train students in critical paralegal skills such as investigation, legal research, interviewing and written and oral communication.
  • To provide students with the theoretical background to perform the paralegal's tasks in substantive areas of law and legal specialties.
  • To educate and train students in areas of procedural law emphasizing the paralegal's role in litigation, mediation and arbitration.
  • To teach students about the general principles of ethical legal practice as defined by the ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and California's Business & Professions code 6450.
  • To encourage students to contribute to the advancement of the legal profession.
  • To provide counseling during the program and to assist students in preparing for and obtaining meaningful careers in the legal field.


Legal internships provide students with valuable experience in the delivery of legal services and allow students the opportunity to apply knowledge gained through the paralegal program to real-world legal issues. Although not a program requirement, the Paralegal Career Services manager works with San Diego-area companies and firms to help find internships for students and recent graduates when requested.