Paralegal Certificate Program Courses

  • Orientation and Overview Required 

    Students are introduced to the legal profession, its principles and purposes and receive an overview of the legal assistant profession. This course provides an opportunity for the students to get acquainted, while giving a more comprehensive view of the Program and profession. Paralegals from various aspects of the profession, along with legal assistant managers, speak to the students as to the various career possibilities within the paralegal profession; students also are educated in more detail as to the educational process and institutional policies and procedures.

    Paralegal Practice - Required; 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the paralegal profession and with some of the tools necessary to succeed in that profession. Students interact with practicing paralegals from a variety of practice environments and learn the structure, policies, procedures and pros/cons of practicing in those various environments, as well as general career trends. Key legal software packages, both procedural and substantive, are demonstrated providing students with tools necessary to actual paralegal practice; students also will have the opportunity to explore these software packages "hands-on" in our state-of-the-art computer classroom. Software packages include: billing, calendaring, conflict management, docketing, document management, estate planning, and more. Critical ethical principles and standards are discussed, as are common situations from which ethical dilemmas may arise. Students are given the opportunity to analyze fact patterns and participate in group discussions that will bring these ethical issues to life. Finally, seasoned career professionals share resume/cover letter writing trends and techniques and help the students hone critical interviewing techniques.

    The Foundations - Required; 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This course is comprised of three segments: Legal Case Analysis, Contracts and Torts. Legal Case Analysis describes the judicial system and the difference between statutory and case law. Students will learn how to analyze judicial opinions and brief cases. In Contracts, students receive an overview of the basic elements of contract law, including relevant portions of the U.C.C. and their application in the practice of law. In Torts, students receive an overview of the basic concepts of tort law, including causation, personal injury, negligence, and a variety of other tort actions. Students are taught to "issue-spot" utilizing case law and fact patterns.

    Legal Research and Writing I & II - Required; 28 weeks (6 credit hours)  

    A unique, hands-on course taught predominantly in the law library and computer classroom, students learn the techniques of legal research through exposure to the different types of legal authority: cases, statutes and secondary sources. The course will focus on developing a legal writing style that is clear and concise; it presupposes a basic knowledge of the basics of grammar, syntax and spelling. The first half of the class requires the student to learn and utilize manual research techniques; the second half allows the student to apply the computer-assisted research skills he/she has learned elsewhere in the Program. A variety of graded and ungraded (but required) assignments are required in this course, including preparation of a closed and open memorandum and drafting documents. Students also receive training in LEXIS, Westlaw and legal research on the Internet.

    Civil Litigation I - Required; 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This innovative course is team-taught by an experienced trial lawyer and paralegal. Taught as a practicum, the instructors will provide the students with a fact pattern and case files, assign them to either the defense or the plaintiff team and proceed through the pretrial phase of a civil case. Students will learn the Rules of Civil Procedure by becoming involved in the process; students will draft a variety of pleadings, discovery documents, deposition digests, motions, etc. and receive feedback from the instructors as well as from their colleagues. Students also will have the opportunity to take mock interviews and depositions.

    Family Law (Elective); 7 weeks (2 credit hours)  

    This course highlights the legal assistant's role in the interaction between lawyer and client in a family law case. The substantive areas of divorce, dissolution, alimony, custody, support and settlements are taught by reference to statutory and case law. Preparation of discovery documents is discussed, as are the relevant forms and deadlines.

    Workers' Compensation (Elective); Weekend Module (3 credit hours)  

    This elective course focuses on the basic elements of Ohio's Workers' Compensation law, including the history and purpose of workers' compensation, the elements of a compensable claim, the various types of disability, and the procedure requirements of the Industrial Commission of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. A detailed timeline of a workers' compensation claim is provided, along with an overview of the relevant forms.

    Business Law I - Required; 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This course provides an overview of the formation and operation of corporations, general and limited partnerships, sole proprietorships and limited liability companies. Documents filed for these business associations are prepared as part of the course. An overview of agency law, pension and profit sharing plans and securities law also is included in the curriculum. Students are given the opportunity to draft a variety of documents and participate in a number of hands-on assignments that provide them with an opportunity to put their knowledge to work.

    Real Property - Required; 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This course begins with a review of various estates in land, types of ownership and transfers of title. The instructor teaches students the fundamentals necessary to develop basic skills in areas of surveys, legal descriptions, easements, deeds and title matters. Contracts for purchase and sale, the real estate closing, mortgages and other liens, foreclosures and leases also are reviewed. A site lecture at the Franklin County Recorder's Office provides students with practical experience, as do projects dealing with form documentation.

    Criminal Procedure (Elective); 7 weeks (2 credit hours)  

    This elective course examines the basic elements of criminal law and procedure, including the interpretation and use of the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure. All aspects of the criminal trial process are explored, including investigation and pre-trial and post-trial motions. The distinctions between adult and juvenile criminal processes are included in the instruction. Research assignments expand the students' skills in these areas.

    Civil Litigation II - Required; 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    The first six weeks of this course is a practicum has the students learning the various components of the civil trial process, and the paralegal's role in that process, in a hands-on, skills-based approach; the course is team-taught by an experienced litigation paralegal and attorney. Students will learn relevant aspects of Ohio 's Rules of Evidence, and apply those rules in a series of exercises and projects; topics will include submission of records; identifying and preparing exhibits; preparing demonstrative evidence and subpoenas. The students will learn how to prepare a trial notebook, digest deposition transcripts, set up a "war room," and help prepare both lay and expert witnesses. The second six weeks provides students with overviews of a variety of civil litigation practices, including personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability, insurance defense and employment law.

    Probate and Estate Planning - Required; 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This course develops the legal assistant's awareness of probate and estate planning. A review of concepts of ownership and an overview of the estate plan precede a step-by-step analysis of procedures for the administration of the estate. The course starts with the basic testamentary draft, descent and distribution, fiduciary powers and responsibilities, and concludes with tax ramifications; estate-planning techniques also are discussed. The instructor will assist students with the preparation of documents from inception through conclusion of the probate process.

    Bankruptcy (Elective); 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This elective course deals primarily with bankruptcy, from both the debtor and creditor perspectives, as well as an overview of other debt collection remedies. Lecture topics include Chapters 7, 11 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code; students also are provided with an opportunity to work hands-on with the necessary forms and procedures required to implement a bankruptcy or debt collection action. Students will utilize Best Case, the electronic software for filings.

    Business Law II (Elective); 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This elective course provides the interested student with a more in-depth and sophisticated understanding of business law, with an emphasis on transactional issues. Coverage includes securities law, due diligence, lending/loan issues, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, U.C.C., basic accounting principles, closings, and more. Students are given the opportunity to work through a transaction from birth to completion as well as to draft a variety of relevant documents. This course will be team taught by veteran business attorneys and paralegals.

    Employment Law (Elective); 7 weeks (2 credit hours)  

    This elective course provides the students with an understanding of classic labor law issues, as well as cutting-edge employment law issues. Coverage includes employment-at-will (and its exceptions), federal and state discrimination law and accompanying actions and procedures, other relevant state and federal employment laws/regulations (including ADA, FMLA, workers' compensation, etc.), and employment-law litigation issues. This is an area of the law that is evolving and expanding daily.

    Immigration Law (Elective); 7 weeks (2 credit hours)  

    This elective course is tailored for professionals who support attorneys in an immigration law practice. The course offers a comprehensive overview of basic employment-based immigrations law including guidance on document preparation, effective communication strategies with clients, and common solutions to employment-based challenges all critical topics if you work in the area of immigration law. Recent changes in the law will be addressed as well as a discussion on how those changes impact virtually all aspects of our society. Finally, you will learn the origins of immigration law from both an historical and political perspective which will provide tools for you to critically evaluate the present state of the law and how it interacts with national security issues, employment law issues, family issues, the economy as a whole, and other areas of interest. 

    Intellectual Property (Elective); 14 weeks (3 credit hours)  

    This elective course provides students with an understanding of Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secret Laws. Learn the types of marks, how to select and search for trademarks, the trademark application/registration process, trademark maintenance, and trademark infringement. Copyright Law will be covered including: what is copyrightable, what rights are afforded by copyright, copyright registration, copyright ownership and copyright infringement. In the Patent portion of this course you will learn about patent searches and applications, patent ownership and transfer, and patent infringement. The course will also cover trade secrets and unfair competition.