Introduction to Paralegalism and Ethics

Introduction to Paralegalism and Ethics

This course explores paralegalism as a profession. It provides students with an introduction to the tasks that paralegals undertake, addresses the skills paralegals need to perform successfully, and delves into ethical rules applicable to paralegals. Students will learn more about the origins of paralegalism as a career, the workings of the U.S. legal system, and how paralegals contribute to a law practice. In addition, the course addresses legal interviewing and investigations, litigation, and legal research and writing—all areas in which paralegals tend to be active. Upon completion, students will have a solid overview of job requirements and skills needed to succeed as a paralegal.

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Learning Objectives/

  1. 1.1 Describe the roles of a paralegal and of other legal team members.
  2. 1.2 Explain the skills paralegals use to assist in solving clients’ problems.
  3. 1.3 Discuss educational requirements and career development of paralegals.
  1. 2.1 Discuss the structures and governance of different law practices.
  2. 2.2 Describe how policies and procedures support the functioning of a law office.
  3. 2.3 Explain the process of recording time in support of legal billing.
  1. 3.1 Discuss regulatory requirements applicable to lawyers and law firms.
  2. 3.2 Distinguish between licensing and certification of paralegals.
  3. 3.3 Distinguish between appropriate activities and the unauthorized practice of law.
  1. 4.1 Discuss ethical rules applicable to members of the legal team.
  2. 4.2 Demonstrate understanding of confidentiality requirements and the need to safeguard privileged information.
  3. 4.3 Identify potential conflicts of interest.
  1. 5.1 Describe constitutional law, statutes, case law, and administrative law.
  2. 5.2 Discuss the role of courts and of legal precedent.
  3. 5.3 Differentiate between civil and criminal proceedings.
  1. 6.1 Create a client intake form and other interview materials.
  2. 6.2 Use interrogation, listening, and notetaking skills.
  3. 6.3 Describe a paralegal’s role in investigations.
  1. 7.1 Identify paralegal skills used in litigation.
  2. 7.2 Describe a paralegal’s role from pretrial through postappeal activities.
  3. 7.3 Evaluate different forms of alternative dispute resolution.
  1. 8.1 Assess primary, secondary, binding, and nonbinding sources of authority.
  2. 8.2 Use online tools for legal research.
  3. 8.3 Prepare a research plan for finding and updating legal research.
  1. 9.1 Describe different types of legal documents and their uses.
  2. 9.2 Prepare documents that follow the general rules of legal writing.
  3. 9.3 Construct legal citations.
  1. 10.1 Describe technological skills needed by paralegals.
  2. 10.2 Practice cybersecurity and other protective measures.
  3. 10.3 Discuss technological innovation as it pertains to legal support.

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