PARALEGAL 151 - Introduction to Law for Paralegals  

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Syllabus for Course Number: PARA 151, Course Title: INTRODUCTION TO LAW FOR PARALEGALS

The course requirements, relevant assignments and readings are outlined in the material that follows on this page.

COURSE DESCRIPTION The introductory course is intended to introduce students to the new and exciting profession of the Paralegal or as sometimes called  Legal Assistant.  We will look at what a paralegal is, where they work, and what they do.  There will be a brief review of law and its various components.  We will then use this knowledge to track a case thru the legal system with special attention to the role of the paralegal in the process.  When you complete this course you should be able to determine which of the professional organization you wish to associate with.  This is an important decision on your part because the membership of these organizations will strongly impact on the future of the profession.  You should be able to walk into a law office and understand the make up of the office.  You should be able to assist in the organization of  a general law office.  You will understand the concept of jurisdiction and be able to apply this complex concept to forum selection.  You will be able to apply the concept of elements to the research and case preparation.


BOOK West's PARALEGAL TODAY The Legal Team At Work Second Edition by Roger LeRoy Miller & Mary Meinzinger Urisko         









OBJECTIVES: By the end of this course you should be able to discuss the role of the paralegal in today's legal profession and to have firm opinions concerning the direction the profession should be headed.   You will understand the many options that are available to paralegals in the legal profession.  You should be able to discuss office practice and how to apply procedure law to substantive law.  You should be able to prepare a simple pleading, file a motion at the court house, and interview a client.  


POLICIES You are required to keep up with each weeks assignment.  In a course of this nature there is no time to catch up.  You will be required to spend at least ten hours a week on this course just to keep up.  In addition much of the learning involved in this program requires a sharing of information.  If assignments are not completed on time they can not be shared with the other students in the class.  This will affect the grade of the tardy student but it will also impact on the education of the rest of the students.  Weekly assignments turned in after Wednesday on the week the assignment is due will have points deducted because this late posting will prevent classmates from responding.




ASSIGNMENTSEach week, except the first where we will use the week to get to know each other and the course, students will read one chapter from the text and do a posted research assignment.  These assignments can be located under ASSIGNMENTS in the main body of the course.  They can also be found in the syllabus and the course calendar found under tools.  After completion of the required reading the students will complete a brief research assignment, post their results on the DISCUSSION BOARD, respond to two other students postings, post three definitions, respond to two other students definitions and take a short quiz REQUIREMENTSComplete each assignment as posted and take two exams.  Please back-up your work with a hard copy in case there is some confusion later on.  Before posting your work you should make a copy of the work in case the net fails while you are in the middle of posting .  Also please send the instructor a copy of your e-mail to other students for which you will be getting credit in order for the instructor to record your grade for that project  












GRADES   The first weeks work (the orientation week) total 31 points towards your final grade.  Everyother week you can receive up to 50 points towards your final grade.  You will get up to 15 points for your work on the assignments, up to 10 points for your definitions and up to 2-1/2 points for each response to your fellow students work.  [REMEMBER NO "atta-boys"]  There will be up to 100 points for the mid-term and 200 points for the final.


In the Introduction course that comes out to 981 total points and in the Civil Litigation course it comes out to 931 points.  You can figure your grade by taking 10% increments of the final figure .  The top 10% get an A, the next 10% get a B, etc.











Required Books

You will need one book for the course.  The titles of this book is listed above

 All required books are available at the College Bookstore. You may buy books in person or have them shipped to your home.   Contact the bookstore by phone, email or in person. 

Learning Objectives
The objective of this introductory course is to give on overview of the paralegal profession.  The students will be exposed to the paralegal professional and the venue in which they operate.  Upon successful completion of this course the student should be able to perform the following tasks. (1) Categorize the responsibilities traditionally assigned to legal secretaries, paralegals and attorneys.  (2) Apply the concept of jurisdiction to state and federal court structures in order to demonstrate a basic knowledge of forum selection. (3) The students should be able to rough draft a simple bill of complaint or simple answer applying the principles learned in the discussion of elements.  (4) Lastly it is expected that each student could create a basic case-flow chart for both a routine civil case and a case-flow chart for a basic criminal case.

Course Policies
 This is a distance learning course. As such, participants have a great amount of flexibility in completing the course. Persons enrolled in this section must complete all course requirements as outlined in the following section. However, in many cases the date and time on which material is completed and submitted will be determined by the participant. It is the responsibility of the course participant to schedule, complete and submit required course assignments.  REMEMBER THAT WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS MUST BE TURNED IN EACH WEEK NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY IN ORDER TO ALLOW TIME FOR YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS TO RESPOND.  FAILURE TO TURN IN THE ASSIGNMENTS BY WEDNESDAY WILL CAUSE A REDUCTION IN THE GRADE GIVEN FOR THAT ASSIGNMENT Likewise, participants are responsible for scheduling and completing the fourteen course modules, the relevant reading for the course and understanding of associated exercises and tools. Material must be completed and submitted on or before the end of the term as defined by college policy and the professor. A final grade will be issued at the end of the term on the date required by the College.


The  Intro course is divided into fourteen modules, the Civil Litigation course is divided in to 13 modules. Each module includes a (1) reading assignment (EXCEPT FOR THE INTRODUCTORY ASSIGNMENT, THE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE A CHAPTER A WEEK IN SEQUENCE, I.E. CHAPTER ONE, THEN CHAPTER TWO THRU CHAPTER THIRTEEN or CHAPTER TWELVE) (2) a research assignment drawn from the projects found at the end of each chapter, (3) a requirement that you post the results of your research on the discussion board, in your own words, (4) a response to at least two of your fellow students postings. (5) Posting, in your own words, the definition of three words chosen by the instructor at the end of each chapter. (6) Responding to at least two of your fellow students definitions.  Required reading is assigned for each module. You should complete all reading, topics and tasks to be properly prepared for the course.