Criminal Justice & Law

Introduction to the Paralegal Profession & Law

Paralegals play one of the most important roles in the legal industry. Though individual attorneys are ultimately responsible for the legal work they produce and the strategies they devise, many tasks – from legal research and writing, source citing, filing, and others – are delegated to paralegals.   As such, it is imperative for successful Paralegals to have a fundamental understanding of the substantive and procedural elements applicable to the specific areas of law where they’ll be working so that they can build on a solid foundation of knowledge starting from the first day.  This course offers students a look at the Paralegal profession as well as the substantive and procedural elements of the common areas of law they’ll likely encounter on the job.

The legal industry relies heavily on paralegals for their experience and general training in these fields.  For any new Paralegal looking to enter the workplace or for experienced Paralegals perhaps moving to a different practice, an overview of these common substantive areas is extremely useful to ensure you’re ready to go from the start.

This course offers an in-depth view of the role of paralegals play within the American legal system. Examining the myriad of skills used by paralegals everyday alongside the typical legal working environment, students will explore the common areas of law in which they’ll likely be working, the various ethical considerations that may arise as well as the sources of law they’ll reference every day.  Students will be offered an offered an overview of traditional state and federal courts as well as the implications and uses for alternative dispute resolution. Students will also be introduced to various career opportunities available to trained paralegals.

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

  • Summarize the role of the paralegal in the American legal system
  • Distinguish among various environments that may use the services of a paralegal
  • Summarize legal accounting procedures
  • Describe the process of becoming a paralegal professional
  • Prepare a resume for a paralegal position
  • Examine how the paralegal profession is regulated
  • Analyze ethical issues commonly encountered by a paralegal
  • Describe the sources of American Law
  • Examine the state and federal court systems
  • Prepare for a client interview
  • Explain the investigation process
  • Research legal matters
  • Explore styles and formats used in legal writing
  • Draft legal documents
  • Describe elements in preparing for trial
  • Explain the trial process
  • Explain the appellate process
  • Describe the types of alternative dispute resolution
  • Differentiate the authority and functioning of administrative agencies
  • 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 the primary forms of business


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