Paralegal Practice

Rule of Law, Democracy & Human Rights

Course Overview

With the expansion of law and the legal process into so many areas of everyday life, the responsibilities of the legal profession have expanded to meet new challenges.  In recognition of the fact that many law-related responsibilities can be handled by well-educated and trained non-lawyers, the legal profession has increasingly come to depend on the assistance of paralegals.  

Paralegals perform key functions within a law office from drafting legal documents to investigating cases and interviewing witnesses.  While they are no replacement for lawyers, paralegals have become recognized as key components of a well-functioning legal office.

This course will introduce you to the knowledge and skills required of paralegals.  You will also learn and apply skills, such as researching legal issues, interviewing clients and witnesses, and drafting motions and pleadings.  By the end of this course, you will have a clear understanding of what a paralegal does, the skills needed to be a successful paralegal, and what it will take to begin a career as a paralegal.

Your training will include an overview of our legal and court systems, legal writing and research, interviewing skills, and an understanding of the basics of various types of law – criminal, civil, family, and contracts.

Course Objectives

  • Demonstrate a general understanding of the duties a paralegal performs, the importance of privileged communications with clients, and how to avoid conflicts of interest
  • Discuss the legal system, including the origins and history of the law, the development of common law, statutory law, and constitutional law, and the litigation process for both criminal and civil litigation
  • Understand the litigation process for both criminal and civil litigation, including discovery, depositions, interrogatories, laws of evidence, venue, important hearsay exceptions, and rights of the accused
  • Demonstrate computer literacy using office software
  • Demonstrate effective written office communications
  • Recognize and use legal terminology appropriately
  • Recognize ethical violations and understand ethical rules that regulate conduct of lawyers and paralegals
  • Describe different forms of business organization, advantages and disadvantages of various entities, types of torts, defenses to negligence, and the paralegal's role in preparing commonly used documents
  • Write an effective legal memorandum; state and characterize facts and legal arguments to best advance a legal position
  • Research primary and secondary sources to determine relevant case law, find statutes and other information from appropriate sources 

Course Outline

  1. The Paralegal Professional
    • An introduction to the paralegal career field; education, qualifications, and certifications; personal characteristics; places of employment; typical paralegal duties.
  2. Legal Terminology
    • The basics of legal terminology; specific terms for litigation and torts.
    • Specific terms for criminal law, contract law, real property, family law, and other areas of law
  3. Ethics and Professional Responsibility
    • Professional ethics; the unauthorized practice of law; working as an independent contractor; confidentiality issues, including attorney-client privilege; conflicts of interest; advertising and solicitation.
    • Practical exercise designed to heighten your awareness of important ethical issues.
  4. The  Court System
    • The foundations of modern law and the justice system; the English common law system; case law and precedence; the codification of law; different areas of law; the structure of the court system; federal vs. state courts.
    • Civil vs. criminal litigation; litigation in federal vs. state courts; state laws, procedures, and rules of court, including local rules of court; federal laws, procedures, and rules of court; the paralegal’s role in litigation.?
  5. Business Law
    • Types of business organizations; sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations; advantages and disadvantages of business types; law of agency; the paralegal’s role.
      Practical exercise designed to apply what you’ve learned about business law.?
  6. Labour Law
    • This course looks at the relationship between an employer and employee.
    • It covers the important aspects of various relevant legislations and introduces the student to the rights and obligations of both parties to an employment contract.
    • New developments with the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and Basic Conditions of Employment Bill are analysed.
  7. Debt Collecting and Civil Litigation
    • The course focuses on legal procedures for the recovery of debts, including the drafting of summonses, letters of demand and obtaining judgment.
    • The rules of both Magistrates’ and High Courts will be studied from the beginning of the process through to the trial and execution of judgment.
    • The Consumer Protection Act and Debt Collectors Act are also presented.
  8. Wills & Estates
    • A highly valuable and comprehensive short course on the administration of deceased estates.
    • This course covers testate succession including an examination of Wills and Codicils, the drafting of Wills and Codicils, the formalities required during the execution of Wills; and revocation of Wills.
    • Principles of Intestate Succession are taught including applicability of the Intestate Succession Act, competent heirs, and distribution per stirpesand per capita. 
    • The Master’s role and the Executor’s duties are covered and most importantly the entire administration procedure is taught.
  9. Family Law and Divorce
    • This course looks at the engagement, breach of promise and the conclusion of a legal marriage.
    • It also examines the consequences of marriages in and out of community of property, the accrual system and the ante-nuptial contract.
    • Grounds of divorce and divorce procedures are studied as are the consequences of divorce including maintenance, custody and child guardianship.
    • The provisions of new Child Care Act are also studied, as well as recent changes to no civil marriages.
  10. Civil Litigation
    • Introduction to civil litigation; courts and jurisdiction; investigation, evidence, and case evaluation; discovery; settlements; trials; appeals.
  11. Discovery
    • Definition, purpose, and overview; compelling discovery; interrogatories; depositions; requests for physical and mental examinations; expert witnesses.
  12. Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • History of alternative dispute resolution (ADR); ADR vs. Litigation; types of ADR: negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and hybrids.
  13. Criminal Litigation
    • Introduction to criminal litigation; courts and jurisdiction; investigation, evidence, and case evaluation; pleadings, draftings, and motions; trials; appeals.
  14. Microsoft Office Products
    • Using Word; creating and saving documents.
    • Practical exercise designed to apply what you’ve learned about Word.
    • Creating spreadsheets with Excel.®
    • Using PowerPoint® to create, modify, enhance, and customize presentations; producing visual aids; working with charts and embedded and linked objects in presentations; creating hyperlinks in presentations; using advanced PowerPoint® features.
    • Creating a memo with Microsoft® Word; creating a chart with Microsoft® Excel;® creating a presentation with Microsoft® PowerPoint.®
  15. Legal Writing
    • The basics of business writing; how business writing differs from personal writing; why good writing is important; how to approach each type of writing based on the audience and the purpose of the task; a review of the parts of speech.
  16. Using the Parts of Speech
    • A description of the parts of a sentence; how to use the parts of speech to write effectively; subject-verb agreement; use of the active voice; effective use of modifiers; producing correct, polished writing for business; common grammatical problems.
  17. Punctuation and Capitalization
    • Descriptions of punctuation marks and the purpose of each; using punctuation to properly document research sources; rules of capitalization.
  18. Writing Sentences and Paragraphs
    • Writing complete, correctly structured sentences and unified, coherent paragraphs; sentence length and variety; avoiding run-ons and fragments; constructing organized paragraphs.
  19. Improving Your Writing
    • Using particular patterns of organization, content, and language to most effectively convey a specific idea to a specific audience; revising, editing, and proofreading
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  • 8 Weeks Online
  • 1-2 Weeks Classes
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