About the Program

Old Dominion University’s paralegal certificate program is a highly focused, practical path to professional growth and a reward career. Since 1992, more than 1,500 throughout Virginia have successfully completed this program and have gone on to exciting jobs in this rapidly growing field. The curriculum is intensive and based solely on the fundamentals of paralegal studies. The program provides a practical, well-rounded understanding of the paralegal profession. The certificate will open doors for new and advanced career opportunities. The program prepares participants to work as paralegals in six weekend sessions that cover the following subject matters:

  • Participants will be introduced to the law and the role of a paralegal professional through the study of essential legal terminology; federal, state, and local court structures; and paralegal ethics. Participants will also be exposed to American law topics such as: torts, property law, agency, contracts, environmental law, and a number of other broad categories of jurisprudence.
  • The program introduces both the civil and criminal processes and procedures at state and federal levels. Discovery procedures will be explored in detail and court pleadings will be discussed and practiced.
  • Participants will learn about the methodologies of legal analysis and case investigation, and allows for participation in a legal issues identification exercise to develop analytical skills. In preparation for legal writing, one session introduces the citation system, which enables paralegals to locate pertinent statutes, regulations, cases, and secondary source materials. Participants will explore the art of legal writing, with special attention to structure, organization, style, and citation of authority. They will learn how to interpret statutes and case law, and participate in a class exercise to develop these skills.
  • The program takes participants on a virtual tour of a law library where they will begin the study the legal research: where the law is and how to find it. Participants will also explore electronic/Internet legal research, be provided a live demonstration of computer-aided legal research, and be introduced to other useful Internet legal resources.
  • A follow-up session returns participants to the law library in order to further develop their appreciation for legal research and refine their search skills. Finally, a detailed review of administrative law practice will be presented. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will be discussed, with an emphasis on the role of the paralegal assisting in the solution of problems outside the traditional litigation framework.
  • During one session, participants will be taught the process of creating, building, maintaining, and using a trial notebook. Participants will also discuss law office structure, organization procedures, and culture. Participants will also learn about the litigation process and the paralegal role in supporting attorneys in a courtroom setting.

Who Should Attend

  • Individuals seeking a new career
  • Individuals currently working in law offices who are seeking to enhance their professional opportunities and develop a more expanded career path
  • Students with a background in administrative skills or at least some post-secondary education

The Program Prepares Students to:

  • Assist in research for trial attorneys
  • Assist with gathering facts from prospective witnesses
  • Investigate complex fact patterns
  • Assist in preparation of cases for courtroom litigation

Contact the Executive Development Center for more information at (757) 683-4838.

Instructor Bios

Joseph W. Myers, Esq., is an adjunct faculty member of Old Dominion University. He is an attorney/principal in the law firm Myers, Myers, and Myers. Myers received his B.A. in political science/legal studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He received his law degree from T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond. Myers currently handles jury trials, bench trials and negotiations in both state and federal courts.



Ken Wilson, Esq., is an adjunct faculty member of Old Dominion University. He is also associate counsel for the Navy Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic Division Office of the General Counsel. Prior to that, he was an attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel , National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Langley Research Center. Wilson received his B.A. in history and English from West Virginia University. He received his law degree from the T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond. Upon graduation from law school, Wilson entered the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Currently Wilson is representing the Navy Facilities Engineering Command in the areas of real estate and construction law.