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Legal Secretary and Paralegal

Are you interested in a career in the Legal Field? We are making it more convenient than ever to pursue a career in the Legal Field by offering online courses. Our courses are a perfect fit for today's fast-paced and busy lifestyles! Register online today!

Legal Secretary Certificate Course

This intensive program is designed for both beginning and experienced secretaries that are interested in improving their skills and working more efficiently within the law office. Students will study such topics as legal terminology; legal process; jurisdiction and venue; ethics; written communications including letters, pleadings, discovery, notices and motions; filing procedures, billing and accounting; time management; records management; computers, word and data processing; legal research; memoranda preparation, and citation format. Internship assistance is also provided to successful graduates.

Session 1: During this first session, students will receive an introduction to the theory of law, the legal process, and the nature of the practice of law. Discussion will include the process of law as well as the specific legal terminology. Ethics are also covered.

Session 2: This session addresses the particulars of law office management. This session also studies technology in the law office. Students will be exposed to actual court documents and will prepare some of these documents as part of their homework.

Session 3: The final session will be spent examining the intricacies of the law office, including office procedure manuals, billing techniques, and overall management techniques of the law office. Students will also be introduced to the basics of legal research and proper citation format. Job search strategies and placement possibilities will also be discussed.

This course can be taken by video or audio formats, or online.

Required texts: The Legal Secretary Handbook , by Scott and Lisa Hatch; and State Rules of Court.

Paralegal Certificate Course

This intensive, nationally-acclaimed program is designed for beginning as well as advanced legal workers. Students will be trained to interview witnesses, investigate complex fact patterns, research the law, prepare legal documents, and assist in preparing cases for courtroom litigation. The instruction is practice oriented and relates to those areas of law in which paralegals are in most demand.

Session 1: "Legal Terminology, Documents, Ethics, and the Litigation Process:" This first session focuses on the history of American jurisprudence, the theory of law, the legal process, and the nature of litigation. Discussion will cover pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures as well as provide in-depth coverage of legal ethics. At the end of the first session of class, students will know how to prepare a Complaint/Petition, Answer, Third Party Complaint/Petition, and Motion for Summary Judgment.

Session 2: "Introduction to the Evidentiary Predicate:" This session covers the rules of evidence and civil procedure. Basic interviewing and investigation techniques and the development and use of demonstrative evidence will also be explained. At the end of the second session of class, students will prepare discovery matter such as Interrogatories, Requests for Admission and Requests for Production of Documents.

Session 3: "Identifying Relevant Authority:" During this session, students will learn how to identify relevant law, determine the differences between primary and secondary authority, between mandatory and persuasive authority, and learn how to find and apply authority to hypothetical factual situations.

Session 4: "Introduction to Legal Research:" Students will learn research techniques for use in legal memoranda, motions, and briefs. Primary and secondary source materials will be discussed, and a concise approach to legal research will be developed.

Session 5: "Legal Research Practice:" Legal research skills will be applied this session with emphasis on shepardizing statutes and case law and learning to use computerized legal research terminals. Numerous research assignments will be given, discussed, and critiqued. The West Key Number System will be learned thoroughly.

Session 6: "Legal Writing and Appellate Procedure:" This final session will concentrate on the preparation and critique of legal memoranda, including an Interoffice Memorandum of Law and Appellate Brief. Principles of appellate procedure will also be reviewed. Proper citation format will be covered along with a discussion of job hunting techniques and job leads for those seeking their first employment as paralegals.

There are no prerequisites to take the course, but students will be expected to complete a significant amount of homework for each session. This program will help students increase their office's efficiency, productivity, and billable hours, as well as learn new marketable job skills. Internship assistance is also available to the top 25% of each live lecture course, or to students that complete the course with a 95% or better on the VHS, audio, DVD, text-only, or online formats.

Required texts for the live lecture, online and text only formats: Paralegal Career for Dummies, Paralegal Certificate Course Workbook, Introduction to Paralegalism, 7th edition, Uniform System of Citation, Legal Document Preparation Manual for the Paralegal Certificate Course, Federal Civil Rules Booklet, and WestLaw.

Required texts for the DVD formats: Federal Civil Rules Booklet; Sample Pages - 4th Edition; Paralegal Procedures and Practices; Paralegal Career for Dummies; A Paralegal Primer, 1st edition, by Scott and Lisa Hatch

Westlaw: Access is required for the live lecture and Para II of the online formats, and highly recommended for all formats. It is available through The Center for Legal Studies by calling 1-800-522-7737 or visiting their website.

Black's Law Pocket Dictionary, is not required for any format, but highly recommended for those students with little or no legal experience.

Advanced Paralegal Certificate Course

Online Format: Students may take topics individually. A certificate will be issued only if the student completes six of the following fourteen advanced topics:

Bankruptcy Law
Bankruptcy is an area of law that has provided significant employment for paralegals. This course examines the debtor-creditor relationship and the difference between voluntary and involuntary bankruptcy, both under Chapter 7 (liquidation) and 11 (reorganization). You will study the Bankruptcy Code in depth and learn how to prepare the most important bankruptcy forms.

Victim Advocacy
This intensive online program is designed to train and qualify students to provide assistance to crime victims. The course provides an overview of criminal procedure and discusses the devastating affects crime can have on its victims. You will learn how paralegals, as victim advocates, can assist their office's clients that have been victimized by crime.

Advanced Legal Research
Advanced and specialized approaches to utilize the legal resources available in a law library and elsewhere will be examined. The conceptual differences between computer-assisted legal research and hard copy research will be taught. You will also learn how to formulate WESTLAW search queries and effectively and efficiently use WESTLAW and other online legal research methods as timesaving devices in legal research and legal writing.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to dispute resolution techniques that may better suit the needs of parties than does traditional litigation. This intensive course is designed to train paralegals in the art of negotiation and participation in the conflict mediation processes. Participants will review the growth and application of settlement options in the United States. The course focuses on both traditional and non-traditional dispute resolution options. Specific attention will be given to the traditional techniques of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration as well as more modern variations, such as summary jury trials and mini-trials. Topics include divorce settlement mediation and labor arbitration. The course will discuss the mediation process, the role of the mediator, problems encountered in mediation, and focuses on reaching reasonable solutions.

Business Law and Practices
This course examines the law and practice of business organizations and the paralegal's potential functions in this area of law. It begins with an examination of basic agency law, followed by a study of the fundamental structure and most important legal doctrines relating to general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, small closely-held corporations, and large publicly-traded corporations.

Estate Planning: Probate, Wills & Trusts
This course explores the paralegal's role in estate planning. The requirements of creating enforceable wills and trusts will be covered, and study of resulting and constructive trusts will be provided.

Criminal Law
The course begins with an overview of the concept of punishment and goes on to study the burden of proof and criminal defenses; it also provides a critical look at the most common crimes. Students will learn common terminology in criminal law and how to consider a crime thoroughly in terms of its elements.

Family Law
Family law pertains to the formation and dissolution of domestic relations, including the law of marriage, annulment, separation and dissolution, maintenance, and custody and support of children. This course will study the differences between community and separate property, the classification of property, and the impact of such classification. The role of the paralegal in family law practice and the importance of mediation of domestic issues will also be discussed.

Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties
You will be introduced to the fundamentals of the federal constitution, including the institution of judicial review, the limitations on federal judicial power, the constitutional roles of the legislative and executive branches, due process of law, and individual rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Possible future trends of the U.S. Supreme Court will also be explored. This course will focus on individual civil liberties and 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claims, emphasizing redress for violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution.

Water Law
This intensive class is designed to give students, particularly from Colorado and neighboring states, an appreciation of the importance of allocation of water resources in the American West. Participants will learn of the common law and civil law approaches to the distribution of water in arid regions, the transportation of water from one basin to another, and a hierarchy of competing uses for the water. Water was first viewed as an instrumentality of transportation (and the main impetus behind junking the Articles of Confederation in favor of the Constitution), later as power for industry, irrigation for agriculture, and the water resource behind the growth of cities of the American west. Las Vegas and Phoenix, for example, would have been mere refueling stations on the transcontinental railroads were it not for massive water projects to make the desert bloom. Special emphasis will be given to Colorado's unique system of water courts and water judges.

Immigration Law
This course explores all significant aspects of the immigration and naturalization process in the United States, including the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Topics include worker and student visas, as well as Family Residence requirements, and the removal process. Finally, the course covers citizenship and the requirements for an immigrant to become a citizen. Paralegals that plan to work in this challenging and demanding area will find the information gained in this course especially helpful in this rapidly-growing specialty of the law.

Education Law
This course focuses on the laws that govern America's public school system, as well as home schooling, including student rights regarding discipline, suspension, personal grooming, testing and grading, and drug testing. Topics such as segregation, integration, dress codes and drug testing are essential not only for paralegals seeking full or part-time law office employment, but also for teachers, school counselors, and administrators working in the schools.

Criminal Procedure
In Criminal Procedure, students are presented with a clear and concise overview of the Constitutional protections that are provided to the accused in the United States, including the law of search and seizure, Miranda rights, Fifth Amendment protection, and the right to an attorney. The knowledge gained in this course is essential to full or part-time law office employment, as well as employment with government agencies in the criminal justice system.

Intellectual Property
This cutting edge course provides in-depth instruction in one of the most dynamic and challenging areas of the law. Paralegals in this exciting area work on copyrights, patents, trademarks, unfair competition, protection of trade secrets, and much more. The knowledge gained in this course is not only applicable to full or part-time law office employment, but is also essential for authors and business owners that may be involved in entertainment and contract matters. This challenging specialty is in great demand.

Legal Nurse Consultant Training Course

This exciting program prepares Registered Nurses and Physician's Assistants for a career in the legal field as legal nurse consultants. Building on the medical education and clinical experience of RNs and PAs, this course provides the RN and PA with fundamental skills necessary to advise law firms, health care providers, insurance companies, and governmental agencies regarding medically-related issues, and to appear in court as an expert witness. The course presents legal concepts related to the health care industry, as well as the role a legal nurse consultant might play in litigation areas such as medical malpractice, toxic torts, products liability, wrongful death, criminal law, and workers' compensation. Any RN or PA interested in entering the legal field can benefit from the education provided by this course.

The curriculum for this course is based on the text, "Legal Nurse Consulting: Principles and Practice," 3rd Edition, published by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. Students will receive 42-hours of instruction and will be required to pass weekly quizzes on the information presented.

This course can be taken by online, or as a live lecture.

This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the Colorado Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

42 contact hours.

Topics of study:

• Legal Nurse Consultant Practice Areas and Legal Theory

• Ethics for the Legal Nurse Consultant and the Legal Nurse Consultant's Role in the Litigation Process

• The Environments in which a Legal Nurse Consultant Might Work and an Introduction to Legal Writing

REQUIRED TEXT : Legal Nurse Consulting: Principles and Practice, 3rd Ed., edited by Kopishke and Peterson, and published by the CRC Press.

Legal Investigation Certificate Course

This exciting course is designed to teach legal investigation to those interested in pursuing a new career and those presently working in the legal field. At the end of the course, students will be qualified to assist attorneys, paralegals, insurance companies and private businesses, as well as state and federal government agencies, in the process of civil and criminal investigation. Students will also be taught how to create a freelance investigation business. Included subject areas are: arson investigation, products liability investigation, personal injury and traffic accident forensics, employment accidents, investigation of financial and equity matters, professional malpractice and negligence, skip-tracing, and the role of a legal investigator in preparing for civil and criminal litigation.

• Introduction to our legal system, legal and ethical considerations for the investigator, law of agency and coverage of rules of court and evidence.

• General interviewing and investigation techniques, sources of leads and information, fact analysis, taking witness statements, forensic photography, proper service of legal process, and surveillance.

• Personal injury investigation techniques, traffic accident reconstruction, premises accidents, employment accidents, government investigation, document analysis and control, financial and equity analysis, testimony, and case studies. Job search strategies and placement possibilities will also be discussed.

This course can be taken by online, VHS, DVD, text-only, or audio formats or as a live lecture.

Required text for the live, VHS, DVD, or audio formats: The Guide to Legal Investigation, by Scott and Lisa Hatch., and State Rules of Court

Required text for the online or text-only formats: State Rules of Court

Alternative Dispute Resolution (Mediation) Certificate Course

This intensive course is designed to train and qualify students to develop or participate in conflict mediation processes. Participants will review the growth and application of settlement options in the United States. The course focuses on both traditional and non-traditional dispute resolution options. Alternative Dispute Resolution (Mediation) is geared for all professionals who are focused on "interest-based bargaining." This course takes the mystery out of settlement processes and focuses on reaching reasonable solutions. Successful graduates of this non-credit course will be awarded a Certificate of Completion. Topics include: Why Conflicts Escalate, Why Mediation Works, The Mediation Process, The Role of the Mediator, Coming to an Agreement, Problems Encountered in Mediation, Developing ADR Programs for Government, Business and Personal Disputes, and Divorce Settlement Mediation.

Topics of Study:

• Introduction, History and Origin of ADR-Mediation.

• Techniques for ADR: The Mediation Process & Role of the Mediator.

• Business Disputes, Settlement Issues in the Business Sector, Employment Disputes and Employer/Employee Relationships. Job search strategies and placement possibilities will also be discussed.

Participants will be expected to complete reading and homework assignments and will choose or be assigned project reports that deal with ADR topics. Independent project development is encouraged. Final projects will be presented for critique to The Center for Legal Studies as a prerequisite of course completion.

This course can be taken in online, VHS, or audio formats, or as a live lecture.

Required texts for the live, VHS, or audio formats: Alternative Dispute Resolution, by Scott and Lisa Hatch and ADR in a Nutshell, 2nd edition, by Jacqueline Nolan-Haley.

Required texts for the online format: ADR in a Nutshell, 2nd edition, by Jacqueline Nolan-Haley.

Victim Advocacy Certificate Course

Participants will be prepared to work in victim advocacy arenas, such as domestic violence shelters, crisis centers, crisis hotlines, and with state and county governments to assist crime victims in progressing through the criminal justice system and toward successful recovery. Course topics include legal terminology, legal process, legislation regarding victims' rights, jurisdiction and venue, ethics, effects of victimization on the victim, victim advocate skills, guardianships and crisis intervention. It also covers counseling skills for victims of assault, battery, robbery, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, murder and homicide.

Session 1: The first session focuses on legal terminology and the legal process, theories of victimization, effects of crime on victims and guidelines for responding to victims of crime and trauma. Crime victim statutes will also be discussed.

Session 2: This session covers crisis theories and the role of the crisis interventionist. Students will learn how to respond to crisis situations, understand the actual nature of the crisis, assess the victim's situation, and implement effective listening skills to determine the best support system for the victim.

Session 3: During the final session students will learn the facts and myths regarding domestic violence, crimes against children, sexual assault, and related crimes. Discussions will include restraining orders, basic police procedures, guidelines for assisting those dealing with the death of a loved one, and the role of the victim advocate. Job search strategies and placement possibilities will also be discussed.

There are no prerequisites, but students will be expected to complete a significant amount of homework and pass two exams.

This course can be taken by VHS, DVD, text-only, audio, or online formats, or as a live lecture.

Required text for the live, VHS, DVD, text-only, or audio formats: Victim Advocacy Manual, by The Center for Legal Studies.

There is no required text for the online or text-only formats.

Additional Courses Offered :

Intellectual Property Law For Engineers Certificate Course

Advanced Legal Research and Writing Certificate Course

Software Essentials for the Law Office

Personal Injury for Paralegals

Please purchase your textbooks prior to the first day of class. You may order your textbooks from The Center for Legal Studies Bookstore online at or by phone at 1-800-522-7737.

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