Paralegal Career Prep

120 Hours / 12 Months / Self-Paced

Course Overview:

Today’s paralegal enjoys success and respect as a valuable member of the legal profession.  Lawyers rely on their paralegals to provide research, interviews, write legal documents, and much more.   A paralegal professional must have critical thinking skills, knowledge of basic legal concepts and the court system, and an understanding of ethical issues and obligations as well.  This course is designed to provide a solid foundation for the beginner paralegal in preparation for entry into the field of law.

Students will:
  • Describe the role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services.
  • Describe the different approaches to the certification and regulation of the paralegal profession.
  • Explain how the practice of law is regulated.
  • Define ethics and explain the difference between the attorney’s rules of ethics and the paralegal’s rules of ethics.
  • Explain the organizational structure of law offices.
  • Explain the use of technology in the law.
  • Define law and describe the functions of law.
  • List and describe the sources of law in the United States.
  • Explain a paralegal’s duty to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Describe the state court systems.
  • Describe the federal court system.
  • Explain the role of the paralegal in the litigation process.
  • Describe the steps in a trial.
  • Identify and describe the parties and attorneys to a criminal action.
  • Describe the types of government regulation of business.
  • Explain the importance of the initial contact with clients and witnesses.

Course Outline:

Lesson 1: The Paralegal Profession

In this lesson you will develop an understanding of the role of a paralegal, regulation of the paralegal profession, and the variety of career opportunities available for a paralegal. 

Lesson 2: Ethics and Professional Responsibility

In this lesson you will explore how the practice of law is regulated and the concept of ethics as it relates to attorneys and paralegals. You will also discover the ethical and legal importance of upholding client confidentiality.

Lesson 3: The Paralegal Workplace

In this lesson, you will be introduced to the typical paralegal workplace.  You will also gain a preliminary understanding of the tasks and functions performed by paralegals. Also in the lesson you will prepare and plan for a successful job interview.  

Lesson 4: Technology and the Paralegal

In this lesson you will learn how computer technology is used in the law office.  You will learn common computer terminology as it relates to law and the different software programs that support legal work. You will discover the importance of proficient computer skills in the paralegal practice. 

Lesson 5: Constitutional Law

In this lesson you will learn the fundamental sources of law in the United States and develop a basic understanding of the U.S. Constitution. In addition, you will study the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. You will also explore paralegal career opportunities in the field of constitutional law. 

Lesson 6:  The Court System

In this lesson you will learn how the court systems operate, with an emphasis on state court systems. You will develop and understanding of trial procedures and how a case gets to the Supreme Court.  Also in this lesson you will learn how paralegals handle arbitration and mediation.

Lesson 7:  Civil Litigation

In this lesson you will learn about the role of paralegals in civil litigation as well as the types and purposes of civil litigation.  You will study the steps involved in a civil court case and also the appeals process. 

Lesson 8:  Criminal Law and Procedure

In this lesson you will study an exciting and important area of the law: criminal law and the criminal trial process.  The lesson will focus on the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments as they deal with personal rights with regard to criminal prosecution.    The lesson also includes information about the paralegal's responsibility when working in the criminal law field. 

Lesson 9:  Administrative Law

In this lesson you will study the laws that govern business and commerce. and the administrative agencies that regulate business and industry.  You will develop an understanding of the functions and powers of administrative agencies as well.   The lesson will also take a look at opportunities for paralegals in the area of administrative law.

Lesson 10: Interviewing and Investigation Skills

Paralegals are often a firm’s first point of contact and therefore are an important part of the interview process. In this lesson, you will learn how paralegals plan for and conduct interviews for clients, fact witnesses, expert witnesses, and others.  Also in this lesson you will learn the steps and process for conducting an investigation.

Lesson 11:  Legal Writing and Critical Legal Thinking

In this lesson you will learn about the various forms of legal documents, including memos, letters, opinions, and briefs.  Paralegals must be able to write these documents with clarity and accuracy.  Also, you will develop an understanding of the process of critical legal thinking and how it applies to paralegals.  

Lesson 12: Legal Research

In this lesson you will learn how to conduct research for current and factual legal information. You will learn how to analyze primary and secondary resources and understand the difference between these two sources of information.  You will also learn how to evaluate online resources for reliability and relevance.   Finally, you will create a legal research plan that helps to focus on the issues, sources, and methods for a specific legal case. 

All necessary course materials are included.

System Requirements:

Internet Connectivity Requirements:
  • Cable and DSL internet connections are recommended.
Hardware Requirements:
  • Minimum Pentium 400 Mhz CPU or G3 Macintosh. 1 GHz or greater CPU recommended.
  • 256MB RAM minimum. 1 GB RAM recommended.
  • 800x600 video resolution minimum. 1025x768 recommended.
  • Speakers/Headphones to listen to Dialogue steaming audio sessions.
  • A microphone to speak in Dialogue streaming audio sessions.
Operating System Requirements:
  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 9, 10
  • Mac OSX 10 or higher.
  • OpenSUSE Linux 9.2 or higher.
Web Browser Requirements:
  • Google Chrome is recommended.
  • Firefox 13.x or greater.
  • Internet Explorer 6.x or greater.
  • Safari 3.2.2 or greater.
Software Requirements:
  • Adobe Flash Player 6 or greater.
  • Oracle Java 7 or greater.
  • Adobe Reader 7 or greater.
Web Browser Settings:
  • Accept Cookies
  • Disable Pop-up Blocker.

** Outlines are subject to change, as courses and materials are updated. Software is not included with the purchase of the course, unless otherwise specified. Students are responsible for the purchase and installation of the necessary course software. **