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Professional Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Professional Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Course schedule subject to change

In-Person

Online

H Hybrid

Required (24 units)
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Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Fundamentals of Law for the Legal Professional

Introduction to law, including an overview of the American legal system, federal and California court systems, and administrative law. Topics include legal ethics, professional responsibility and the role of the legal professional; overview of civil and criminal law, torts, family and probate law, contracts, real property, and business law; basic concepts of legal research, analysis and writing, including statutory and case law; stages of a lawsuit; the basics of civil procedure, litigation, pleadings and discovery; investigation procedures and interviewing; terminology; spotting legal issues; understanding client relationships; law office procedures.

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4 units

Legal Research and Writing I

Fundamentals of legal research and development of the essential writing skills needed to perform research under the direction of a licensed attorney. Topics include preliminary procedures in legal research; techniques of modern legal research and analysis; use and misuse of legal precedent; interpretation of federal, state and municipal legislation; and identification of relevant research aids. Provides extensive practice in research methods and introduction to legal writing.

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4 units

Legal Research and Writing II

A continuation of the legal research and writing skills developed in Legal Research and Writing I, with emphasis on utilizing those skills to research and analyze assigned legal issues and to present the product of such research and analysis in proper written form. Practice on legal writing skills, including both objective and persuasive writing.

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4 units

Civil Litigation and Procedures

This course provides students with an understanding of state and local rules, laws, procedures and ethical considerations involved in litigating civil lawsuits. Topics include investigation and fact-gathering; parties, jurisdiction and venue; statutes of limitation; legal pleadings; rules, scope and types of discovery; developing discovery plans; law and motion practice; laws and rules of evidence; trial setting, settlement conferences and alternatives to litigation including mediation and arbitration; and pre-trial preparation. Students may draft and respond to a variety of pleadings, motions and discovery documents.

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4 units

Contract Law

This course examines the law relating to formation of contracts; the statute of frauds; third-party beneficiary contracts; assignment of rights and delegation of duties; liability for breach of contract, including the law of conditions and discharge; and the impact of the Uniform Commercial Code on traditional contract theory. You will learn: the basic elements of contract formation, the basic rights and obligations of non-parties, how to draft contract provisions, and to understand the ethical implications of drafting and forming contracts. Students also explore problems encountered in contract performance, including discharge of performance and resulting damages, and remedies for breach of contract.

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3 units

Tort Law

Fundamentals of basic tort law. Torts to be covered include negligence, medical malpractice, misrepresentation, defamation, privacy, unfair competition, products liability, wrongful termination, assault and battery, and malicious prosecution. General areas for review are standards of care, proof of breach of care, causation and damages.

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3 units

Ethics for the Legal Professional

This course familiarizes participants with ethical rules and guidelines applicable to legal professionals, including the sources of ethical rules and model codes. Hypothetical and actual case studies will focus on common ethical dilemmas, highlighting those areas most affecting the legal professional: unauthorized practice of law, client confidentiality, conflicts of interest, advertising and solicitation, fees, client funds and competence.

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2 units

Elective (7 units)
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Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Insurance Law

Explores regulations governing the business of insurance, forms, contract formation, and litigation. Includes policy interpretation, rights and liabilities of parties and companies, and the regulation of the insurance industry. Special issues raised by particular types of insurance policies are discussed such as life, health, property, accident and liability.

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2 units

E-Discovery for Paralegals

An overview of e-Discovery laws and history, with an emphasis on responding to discovery requests through the collection, review and redaction of responsive documents. Practice of reviewing documentation for privileged information and the processing of requests.

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2 units

Local Government Law for Paralegals

Provides a theoretical and practical overview of local government law for paralegals working for cities, counties, or other local agencies, or handling private cases or matters involving local government. Theoretical topics include: sources of local government power, formation and operation of local government, regulation of conduct and the use of land, acquisition/use/disposition of goods, services, and property, revenues, citizen litigation with local governments. Practical topics include: The Brown Act and open meetings, the California Public Records Act, land use statutes, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Subdivision Map Act, redevelopment statutes, public finance statutes, public procurement statutes, litigation against local government under the Civil Rights Act.

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2 units

Intellectual Property Law for the Paralegal Professional

A general overview of the basic principles of intellectual property law. The areas covered include copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and patent law. Identifying the major tasks performed by the paralegal and their ethical obligations regarding intellectual property.

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3 units

Business Law

Designed to provide a working knowledge of various aspects of business law. Includes an overview of contract law, commercial law, the Uniform Commercial Code, selected provisional remedies and post-judgment solutions. Participants learn how to recognize and identify a variety of legal issues and consequences affecting business and business decisions.

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3 units

California Water Law

A discussion and analysis of California water law and the political and historical forces that have shaped it. Case law is used to illustrate legal concepts of riparian and appropriative rights and the evolution of the public trust doctrine. Environmental and economic issues giving rise to changing concepts of water use and water marketing are discussed. In addition, the course covers public trust and water transfers.

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3 units

Computer Legal Research Using LexisNexis

Through hands-on experience in a computer lab, students gain a basic understanding of computer-assisted legal research using LexisNexis. Students will be exposed to both boolean and natural language search techniques. Topics include retrieval of case law, statutes, legislation and rules; public record inquiries; and topical specialties.

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1 units

Constitutional Law

This course introduces students to the basic doctrinal principles of federal constitutional law. The following topics are covered: judicial review, separation of powers, federalism, American Indian tribes, property rights, due process and privacy, the rights of the accused, civil rights, and freedom of speech, press and religion.

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3 units

Construction Law

Explores issues concerning legal liability in construction projects, including the Contractors' License Law, liability of contractors and subcontractors and strategies to identify common legal problems before they become liabilities. Provides an introduction to the principles of contracting and key legal aspects that should be given attention related to bidding, contract preparation, project administration, contractor and subcontractor liability and financing. Traditional contract remedies of mechanics' liens, stop notices and payment bonds are discussed, and additional remedies including dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration are explored.

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2 units

Criminal Law for Paralegals

Analysis of fundamental concepts of criminal law and procedure from both the prosecution and defense perspective. Traces the criminal justice process from arrest through pretrial, trial, sentencing and appeal. Topics include analysis of crimes and defenses; arrest, search and seizure; pretrial motions; investigation and preparation; ethics and tactics.

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4 units

Elder Law

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the developing body of law that addresses the legal, ethical and social issues facing an aging population. The focus is on health and medical care, employment and income, housing, estate planning, elder abuse and neglect, competency, and personal decision-making. Discussion and analysis of the major laws include the Social Security Act, the Older Americans Act of 1965, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Also discussed are the responsibilities and prospective licensing and training requirements of professional fiduciaries. This course is intended for professionals in law, medicine, behavioral health and related areas.

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2 units

Employment Law

Overview of employment law and litigation from a theoretical and practical standpoint; current legal developments and litigation, aspects, issues and strategies in employment law including legal and practical analyses of relevant statutes, judicial rulings and decisions, regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH); and related public policy issues. Topics include employment agreements, at-will employment, discrimination, sexual harassment, disability, personnel handbooks, wage and hour issues, privacy in the workplace, and defamation.

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2 units

Family Law

This course provides an overview of domestic relations law including the Family Law Code, and examines the laws relating to marriage, marriage dissolution and annulment, separation, and child custody and visitation. Discussion includes marital property rights, including community and separate property, debts and obligations, and how property is divided upon marital dissolution; domestic violence; court forms used in family law matters; and enforcement of orders. The course includes case histories and provides practice with interviews, negotiations and depositions.

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3 units

Immigration and Naturalization Law and Procedure

An overview of immigration law in the United States, with an emphasis on the practical application of that law in a law firm or corporate environment. Students gain the skills needed to deal with a deadline-oriented caseload for a diverse clientele. Other topics include the basics of immigration employment and family based immigration, refugee law, and procedures for applying for citizenship and asylum.

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2 units

Paralegal Internship

Participants gain a working knowledge of the paralegal's role through an internship position in a law firm, corporate in-house counsel's office, law-related public agency or other legal setting. Interns apply classroom information to on-the-job assignments and develop proficiency in completing typical tasks.

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3 units

Probate Practices and Procedures

Methods of gathering facts, court requirements for probate and general office procedures for effective administration. Topics include necessity for court proceedings; property classification; ownership interest; probate court policies, procedures and pleadings; preparation of inventory and appraisement; creditors' claims and accountings; basic income tax considerations; and the legal and fiduciary aspects of estate administration.

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3 units

Real Property Law

Overview of the legal, financial, economic and practical aspects of real property, including the legal concepts, theories and procedures basic to the buying, selling and developing of real property and real estate. Course covers the role of the lawyer, the legal assistant and broker; buyer's and seller's rights; introduction to the lending industry; tax and title protection; escrow procedures; landlord/tenant issues; the nature of real property disputes; easements; eminent domain and environmental concerns.

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3 units

Rules of Evidence

The rules of evidence govern all criminal and civil matters and determine what testimony, facts, information, documents, and actual pieces of evidence are admissible in court. This course provides a basic understanding of the rules of evidence and their practical use and application in legal proceedings. Topics include relevancy, hearsay and exceptions, and expert and lay opinions. Also covered are evidentiary rules pertaining to crime scene investigations and forensics including gathering, processing, and preserving evidence, chain of custody, and presentation of forensic evidence at trial.

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3 units

Trial Preparation

Examination of the many facets of preparing for trial, whether criminal or civil. Topics include preparing a trial notebook, complying with local court rules regarding discovery, depositions, pre-trial investigations, conferring with experts, witness preparation and actual trial.

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3 units

Law Office Procedures, Systems, and Technology

Provides you with useful knowledge and practical skills essential to a Paralegal's responsibilities in the law office setting. You learn how law offices operate and the Paralegal's role and responsibilities in the firm. You are introduced to law office records and file management systems, calendaring systems, billing and tracking of time, court forms, conflict of interest and tracking systems, law office technology and software, as well as other tools commonly used in the legal environment.

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3 units

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Survey of current alternatives to traditional methods of dispute resolution such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration, including binding, non-binding, court annexed and hybrids.

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2 units

Bankruptcy Law and Procedure

Extensive coverage of bankruptcy law and procedures, including commencing a case, preparation of schedules, exemptions, litigation in Bankruptcy Court, creditor representation, technical terminology and practical hints for legal assistants. Also intended for attorneys and other legal professionals with little or no experience in this area of law.

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3 units

The Art of Writing Persuasive Legal Motions

Practice drafting, writing and critiquing several common motions. Also covered is supporting components, including Points and Authorities, and a proposed order for the court to sign if your motion is approved. Supplements your Legal Writing and Civil Procedure classes by offering you focused feedback on your written motions on a weekly basis, and provides hands-on practical experience for a writing task you will be responsible for in a law firm setting.

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2 units

Healthcare Law for the Legal Professional

Designed to give students an overview of healthcare law, focusing on subjects as diverse as Medicare, HIPAA, healthcare regulation, fraud and abuse, human subject research, compliance programs, and physician contracting.  The instructor will tie each of the subjects to the paralegal’s role in various settings, from law firms to in-house legal departments.  This course will also provide an introduction to healthcare law for students who are not familiar with this practice area; and, it can serve as a comprehensive review for the novice compliance professional or paralegal in a health law section or firm. At the conclusion of this course, students will have a broad understanding of the many different areas that make up the body of healthcare law. 

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2 units

Project Management for the Paralegal

Examines how to map out and set up basic project and process management strategies to improve productivity and outcomes. Topics include project management tools, cost/benefit analysis, identifying project goals and objectives, creating the project team, scheduling a project, developing key performance standards, managing the team's progress, measuring outcomes and results, moving on to the next project and the paralegal/supervisor's role throughout the process and the ethical considerations concerning the paralegal project manager.  Students will also discuss the challenges paralegals face transitioning from "Paralegal" to "Project Manager."

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1.5 units

Alternative Dispute Resolution for Paralegals

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the alternatives available in the American civil legal system to trial as a means of resolving disputes. We will survey current alternatives to traditional methods of dispute resolution such as negotiation, arbitration (including binding, non-binding, court annexed and hybrids), mediation, and other types of ADR including private trials, baseball, Hi-Lo. We will also cover the ethical and practical considerations of each.

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3 units

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