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Legal Studies Program Overview

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The Department of Government, Legal Studies, and Philosophy at Tarleton State University offers major and minor programs in Legal Studies en route to a Bachelor's degree.  These programs are designed for students who want to work in the legal profession or in fields that require a deeper understanding of our legal system. Each course has been strategically selected and designed to deliver the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to enter the workforce upon graduation or to continue studies in graduate or law school.

Legal Studies majors choose between one of two concentration of study.  The Pre-Law (or Public Law) concentration provides a broad-based, interdisciplinary curriculum designed to develop logical reasoning, rhetoric, analysis, critical thinking, and writing skills, which are critical for students planning to pursue continuing studies in law or other graduate areas.  The Paralegal concentration concentration is designed for students who have logical and analytical minds, possess organizational skills, and thrive on attention to detail. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law; however, working as part of a legal team under the supervision of an attorney, paralegals perform tasks vital to the success of a case, including drafting legal documents, interviewing witnesses and clients, preparing trial exhibits, and analyzing documents.

Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

Download the 2022-2023 Advising Guide (pre-law concentration)

Download the 2022-2023 Advising Guide (paralegal concentration)

Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies

Download the 2022-2023 Advising Guide (pre-law concentration)

Download the 2022-2023 Advising Guide (paralegal concentration)

Minor in Legal Studies

Download the Requirements

Legal Specialties

Students must have a minimum of 21-credits of legal specialty courses taken either at Tarleton State University or by approved credit transfer. A legal specialty course is a LEGL course that covers substantive law or legal procedures or process, has been developed for paralegals, emphasizes practical paralegal skills, and meets the American Bar Association's instructional methodology requirements. The following courses have been designated as legal specialties:

  • LEGL 2330, Introduction to Legal Studies
  • LEGL 3332, Legal Ethics
  • LEGL 3340, Legal Research & Writing
  • LEGL 3350, Professional Practices in Law
  • LEGL 3388, Civil Procedure
  • LEGL 4084/4382, Internship/Virtual Internship
  • LEGL 4390, Legal Studies Capstone

Transfer Credit

Credit for equivalent LEGL courses considered legal specialties under the ABA Guidelines is accepted for students transferring from paralegal programs, whether the transferring institution is ABA-approved or not. If a student has earned credit from an institution that is not ABA-approved, the Legal Studies coordinator will review the course description, course syllabus, and contact the program coordinator of the transferring institution, if needed, before approving the credit transfer for equivalent LEGL courses. A maximum of 21-credit hours will be accepted for equivalent LEGL courses.

Program Objectives

Tarleton Legal Studies graduates will be able to:

  1. Prepare documents necessary for representation of clients in a legal matter, including correspondence, litigation, transactional, and advisory materials.
  2. Perform legal and factual research, utilizing appropriate resources for locating and communicating findings.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of and appreciation for discipline-specific technology, including, but not limited to case management, time management and billing, legal research, and trial presentation.
  4. Demonstrate civic skills and appropriate civic dispositions and behaviors.
  5. Analyze personal and professional situations, and then evaluate and select the behavioral option which most closely conforms to the ethical rules regulating the legal profession.


Legal Studies Faculty
Name Title Education Expertise Office Phone
Dr. Amy O'Dell  Assistant Professor J.D. Widener University School of Law Legal Ethics, Law and Higher Education, and Legal Studies O.A. Grant 351   254-968-9027
Dr. Casey Thompson Instructor M.A., American Public University, J.D. Wesleyan American Government, Texas Government, and Legal Studies O.A. Grant 341 254-968-1698