Criminal Justice & Law

Introduction to Law

The American legal system is one of the most complex and fascinating systems of jurisprudence in the world. Professionals in this area work at a number of different levels from court clerks and judges to paralegals, attorneys and law enforcement officials. The legal system offers both substantive and procedural solutions to a constantly-changing set of issues that arise through cases and controversies that surface between litigants as the years progress. All of these areas combine to create the unique system of laws and procedure that make up the American legal system. For students interested in pursing further studies as paralegals or contemplating law school, this comprehensive course offers a look at a number of different areas of law that helps to orient students to these complex subject before pursuing them in further depth.

This course presents an overview of various substantive and procedural areas of the law and their corresponding legal practice areas. Students are introduced to the legal profession, legal ethics, sources of law, an overview of courts, alternative dispute resolution systems, various substantive and procedural areas of the law, and analyzing an application of law to factual circumstances. This course is geared towards providing students with the basic knowledge of all aspects of the law, critical legal thinking, and a comparative approach to the civil and common law systems.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Explore the legal profession and its ethics
  • Examine the sources of American Law and the court system
  • Describe the federal and state court systems
  • Research legal matters
  • Apply styles and formats used in legal writing
  • Describe elements in preparing for trial
  • Explain the trial process
  • Explain the appellate process
  • Explain alternative dispute resolution
  • Describe constitutional law
  • Explain criminal law and procedure
  • Articulate the legal principles of tort law
  • Describe the classifications and elements of contracts
  • Outline the basic principles of property law
  • Examine the legal principles of family law
  • Examine estate planning and probate
  • Describe employment law
  • Describe the primary forms of business
  • Summarize bankruptcy law
  • Describe the authority and functioning of administrative agencies


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