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Course Syllabus: Paralegal Studies 101: Career Overview


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Course Description

 


The paralegal field is highly rewarding for those who seek to be a part of the justice system. On a day to day basis, the paralegal is the attorney's right hand. From the perspective of the law, the paralegal is a sort of junior attorney in so far as she must know a lot of what he knows and she creates and presents his documents for execution upon his approval. She is his detail person, and she is necessary for him to follow up on his communications, check his court dates, check client backgrounds, client relations, law office to law office relations, check every detail and every reference in all of his documents, research applicable laws and case references, prepare all of his court documents, and generally keep him going. Trial paralegals also prepare the case interrogatories, file with opposing counsel for discovery, prep the client for deposition and accompany the attorney to court. Although the work is quite detailed, in practice a paralegal's work is anything but secretarial and many have equal use of their attorney's secretary so that the paralegal can follow up on the details of her work. Some paralegals also have legal assistants [junior paralegals] to whom they delegate details of their responsibilities.

The Paralegal Studies course is designed to give you information you need to be a successful paralegal. It will take you through a survey of what is needed to become a paralegal, how you may choose to go about it, all of the business details which are generally not known until you are into the firm, and some of the social skills and information you will need to survive and thrive in a firm. It also covers issues which will never be said to you by anyone in your firm; some of the material cannot be said by members of your firm without putting them in legal jeopardy because they possess licenses or practice in certain areas of law. If you already have your paralegal certification, then this course will be beneficial if you are seeking your first firm position. You will get an insider's scoop on common mistakes and pitfalls, and you will know how to avoid or overcome common faux pas.

Course Requirements

Anyone who needs this information is welcome to join.  No books will be required.

Course Topics

 
  • Lesson 1: So You Want To Be A Paralegal?
  • Lesson 2: Qualifying, Education & Certifications
  • Lesson 3: Making the Cut - Getting Hired & Negotiating Your Salary
  • Lesson 4: Unspoken Expectations & How to Get Promoted at Your Firm
  • Lesson 5: Attorneys, Attitudes, Egos and Your Managing Attorney
  • Lesson 6: Language and Business Philosophy That Brings Favor From Attorneys
  • Lesson 7: Things Paralegals Get Burned Over - Protocol & Scapegoats
  • Lesson 8: Pecking Order Among Paralegals - How to Get Along with Your Interoffice Competition
  • Lesson 9: Managing Your Case Load - Priorities and Management Styles
  • Lesson 10: Research, Attorney Support and Lexis Nexis
  • Lesson 11: Your Firm's Case Tracking Systems; eCase, Paradox, etc.
  • Lesson 12: Email, Phone Calls & Filing
  • Lesson 13: Client Relations & Office to Office Relations
  • Lesson 14: Attorney/Client Privilege & Your Role in It
  • Lesson 15: Office Politics, Downsizing & Firm Mergers
  • Lesson 16: Year End Bonuses, Fringe Perks, Parties & Dinners

Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz and an assignment designed to highlight lesson topics. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Disclaimer

 

The writer uses “he” to generally represent the attorney and “she” to generally represent the paralegal in the context of this course. This is a writing convenience and not intended to comment on the ability of either gender to work or prosper in either position. Both men and women are encouraged to pursue the legal profession that best suits their personality.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what a paralegal is.
  • Describe attorneys, attitudes, egos and your managing attorney.
  • Describe language and business philosophy that brings favor from attorneys.
  • Describe things paralegals get burned over - protocol and scapegoats.
  • Know how to get along with your interoffice competition.
  • Know priorities and management styles.
  • Describe research, attorney support and Lexis Nexis.
  • Describe email, phone calls and filing procedures.
  • Know client relations and office to office relations.
  • Describe attorney/client privilege and your role in it.
  • Know office politics, downsizing and firm mergers, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
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Assessment Guide

An Introduction5
Lesson 1 Assignment25
Lesson 1: So You Want To Be A Paralegal?14
Lesson 2 Assignment25
Lesson 2: Qualifying, Education & Certifications11
Lesson 3 Assignment25
Lesson 3: Making the Cut: Getting Hired & Negotiating Your Salary14
Lesson 4 Assignment25
Lesson 4: Unspoken Expectations & How to Get Promoted at Your Firm14
Lesson 5 Assignment25
Lesson 5: Attorneys, Attitudes, Egos and Your Managing Attorney14
Lesson 6 Assignment25
Lesson 6: Language and Business Philosophy That Brings Favor From Attorneys14
Lesson 7 Assignment25
Lesson 7: Things Paralegals Get Burned Over: Protocol & Scapegoats15
Lesson 8 Assignment25
Lesson 8: Pecking Order Among Paralegals - How to Get Along with Your Interoffice Competition14
Lesson 9 Assignment25
Lesson 9: Managing Your Case Load: Priorities and Management Styles15
Lesson 10 Assignment25
Lesson 10: Research, Attorney Support and Lexis Nexis14
Lesson 11 Assignment25
Lesson 11: Your Firm's Case Tracking Systems; eCase, Paradox, etc.14
Lesson 12 Assignment25
Lesson 12: Email, Phone Calls & Filing12
Lesson 13 Assignment25
Lesson 13: Client Relations & Office to Office Relations14
Lesson 14 Assignment25
Lesson 14: Attorney/Client Privilege & Your Role in It14
Lesson 15 Assignment25
Lesson 15: Office Politics, Downsizing & Firm Mergers15
Lesson 16 Assignment25
Lesson 16: Year End Bonuses, Fringe Perks, Parties & Dinners12
The Final Exam77
Total Points:702
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