The Paralegal

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. 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.


The Paralegal Program

This program 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.
This program also provides students with a comprehensive understanding of professional responsibility in the legal field and how these laws apply to paralegals, specifically. In addition to the general legal ethical concepts presented in the course, students will research individual state professional responsibility rules as they apply to the overall field and to the paralegal role. Upon completion of this program, students will be able to recognize an ethical issue, categorize it, and research the possible solutions to the issue.


Program Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, students 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
  • Summarize the role of the paralegal in the American legal system
  • Recognize the regulation of the legal profession as a distinct set of laws and rules
  • Explore the meaning of the unauthorized practice of law
  • Examine issues related to misrepresentation
  • Analyze the application of the duty of confidentiality
  • Analyze issues related to confidentiality
  • Examine issues related to evidentiary privileges
  • Examine issues related to conflict of interest and the duty of loyalty
  • Examine issues related to advertising
  • Analyze issues related to solicitation
  • Examine issues related to legal fees
  • Examine issues related to paralegal fees
  • Examine issues related to client trust accounts
  • Examine issues related to competence and negligence
  • Examine issues related to zealous representation
  • Examine issues related to the duty of integrity and the duty to report
  • Examine issues related to health in the legal profession
  • Use Microsoft Office



Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are no state approval and/or state requirements associated with this program.
  • There is a National Certification exam available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
      Certified Paralegal (CP) / Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification Exam.

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this program, students would be eligible to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certified Paralegal (CP) / Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam and the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam. Although there are no state approval, state registration or other state requirements for this program, students who complete this program  will be prepared and are eligible to sit for this national certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the MOS national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so.

Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location.