The Center for Legal Studies

The Center for Legal Studies

By Dianne Frazee-Walker 

The Center for Legal Studies (CLS), founded by an attorney in 1980, is a 33-year-old nationwide legal education company that provides Live Lecture, Online, DVD, and Text-Only flexible curriculums for inmates or the public. Upon finishing a course students earn a certificate of completion from one of 150+ participating accredited colleges and universities throughout the country.   Image courtesy

From California to New York – Montana to Texas; 51 college and universities that partner with CLS offer the “Text Only” versions, specifically designed for inmates. These correspondence courses enable an incarcerated student to take a variety legal education courses without the use of computers or on-site instructors. Opportunities are available for students to gain exceptional legal training and earn certificates from well named schools from just about anywhere in the country.

Two leading universities have paved the way for text-only education directed towards incarcerated students. Adams State University located in Alamosa, Colorado (ASU), and Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (OU) have taken special interest in marketing the text-only division.  ASU offers CLS’s courses as part of a degree program which if a student qualifies would enable them to utilize Federal Student Aid. Ohio University was the first college to develop “College for the Incarcerated” and exclusively markets CLS courses as well as many other courses that are custom-tailored for inmates.

Christopher Zoukis author of Education Behind Bars and prison education expert says, “I know of the Center for Legal Studies.  They work with Adams State University, a school I’m currently taking a few courses through.  Small world.  I like those guys a lot.  I think that the Center for Legal Studies is one of the best programs out there for incarcerated students.”

CLS is an effective, affordable, and timely source for obtaining an education in legal studies.

All students are provided with CLS instructors and academic counselors who will correspond through the mail or telephone.     

The Center for Legal Studies recognizes the limitations for adult students, especially those who are incarcerated to have easy access to reasonably priced education. Their affordable courses offer inmates the opportunity to gain self-confidence and have power over their future.

For only $1,189 and a time commitment of six-months  to one year it is possible for an inmate with a high school diploma or GED equivalent to become a qualified and trained paralegal though an independent study correspondence format. A six-month text-only course is equivalent to seven weeks of online correspondence. Each course curriculum is delivered in several formats to accommodate the student’s situation.   

Not only does participation in CLS studies strengthen the student’s family support system, but earning a paralegal certificate provides a variety of opportunities for the incarcerated. The education gives defendants who cannot afford expensive attorney fees or have had no success with public defenders knowledge of the law. Completing one of the many legal curriculums offered by CLS also endows released inmates with skills they can use to obtain employment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms paralegals are in the highest demand bracket relative to other occupations. The number of paralegals is expected to increase 28% from 2008-2018. The national median income for paralegals is currently $45,480.00 per year.

A main contributor to recidivism is ex-offenders are frequently released into the streets without a means of support for themselves and their families. The unfortunate situation perpetuates itself because it is difficult to obtain employment with a criminal history lurking in their background. Many released inmates become discouraged and return to a life of crime.

CLS has solved the dilemma of ex-offenders being turned down for employment because of a checkered past.  Upon completing any of the legal courses offered by CLS, released inmates can apply affordable training that leads to practical application. Graduates have the freedom to start their own business or work as an independent contractor. The sky is the limit for freelance paralegals who can earn significantly more than across the board income.  

CLS Offers an array of flexible scheduled courses specializing in legal certification.

“The combination of accredited, transferable college credits makes coursework at The Center for Legal Studies more than just vocational training, but an investment in a potential academic future for incarcerated students.” 

Due to hourly regulations, California is the only state that requires completion of both the basic Paralegal and Advanced Paralegal Certificate Courses.

Affordable courses include:

Paralegal – Certificate Course – $1,189

Advanced Paralegal – Certificate Course – $1,650

Legal Investigation – $575

Victim Advocacy – $575

Alternative Dispute Resolution – $575

CLS offers courses specifically tailored to students’ needs. Upon completion of the Paralegal Certificate Course, students are eligible to pursue the Advanced Paralegal Certificate Course comprised of 15 specific topics of law. An Advanced Certificate is earned upon completion of six topics. Each topic costs only $275 and takes six months to complete:

  • Advanced Legal Research                                         
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Education Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Real Property Law
  • Victim Advocacy
  • Water Law

CLS has graduated more Paralegals, Legal Secretaries, Legal Investigators, Mediators, and other Legal Support Professionals than any other legal education training facility in the country. 

The following are testimonials from just a few of the 1,000s of graduates since CSL had been in business:

“For my first text-only class, I was very confident that I had back-up and support and I was very impressed with how much I had learned”  Shanta – 2012

”I am making $42,000 in my Paralegal job and I have this program to thank. “  Web-site testimonial

I really like the fact that I can work at my own pace. I also liked the fact that the information I learned was very helpful in my current situation”  J.Z., 2013

“The course has been enlightening. I now have a new respect for the details of the legal profession. The course seems to be very thorough and I am going away with a good feeling that I can start building my legal knowledge of courts”  A. Franklin – 2013

“The course is worth its weight in gold.”  Web-site testimonial

For more information visit The Center for Legal Studies web-site:

Or call: 1-800-522-7737