Legal studies lauded at SUNY Canton

The SUNY Canton campus can be accessed on foot over the Grasse River which flows under the Riverside Drive span of the footbridges connecting the village and SUNY Canton. Submitted photo

CANTON — SUNY Canton’s Legal Studies program was included in a top 10 best value list for online bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies.

The Online Paralegal Degree Center created the ranking using out-of-state tuition, 20-year return on investment, and graduation rate. SUNY Canton has the lowest tuition of the colleges to make the list.

“Our degree program in Legal Studies is a tremendous value and prepares students with excellent career mobility,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “Beyond having such a high online ranking, it is one of our more popular online programs available and is taught by faculty with exceptional professional credentials.”

The median pay for paralegals, or legal assistants, is $51,740 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 337,800 jobs in the field during 2019 and careers are expected to grow by 10% through 2029, or much faster than average. Graduates of the program have worked in law firms, corporations, hospitals, and local, state, and federal government offices.

While the program prepares students to immediately enter the workforce, some alumni choose to continue their education to pursue their advanced law degree, increasing earning potential.

The college has an agreement allowing students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies and a Juris Doctorate from the University at Buffalo School of Law in six years. The streamlined path cuts a full year off of the education necessary to become a lawyer and is one of the most affordable routes to a law degree available.

Legal studies is primarily taught by full-time faculty members Professor Jondavid S. Delong, who is also a St. Lawrence County attorney, and Lecturer Rosemary Phillips, a town justice in Canton. Area attorneys Cynthia A. Eyler and Michelle H. Ladouceur also adjunct teach in the program. Like many of SUNY Canton’s four-year programs, students have the same faculty members if they enroll on campus or online.

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