The Paralegal Certificate Program from the Professional Development Center at The University of Texas at Austin develops skill-sets in its students unlike any other paralegal program.The unique curriculum is designed in a format that replicates actual law office experience. Designed for paralegals, by paralegals, with input from attorneys and judges, this course sets new standards in paralegal education.
Review the following list of what you will learn in this program. Compare it to other courses. We think you'll be impressed!
What You'll Learn . . .
Introduction to the Legal Field
Students will learn what kind of job opportunities exist and tasks paralegals often perform.
By presenting an actual legal matter and following it throughout the legal process, students are introduced to the most relevant legal terms. The case presented is tracked through both the civil and criminal court procedures.
Students will receive instruction in preparing resumes and cover letters specifically geared towards law firms, as well as tips for interviewing.
Strategies for Employment
Multiple strategies for seeking employment will be discussed, including traditional and non-traditional methods.
Stages of Litigation
The three stages of the litigation process are presented, and the functions a paralegal may perform during each stage are discussed.
Students discuss various forms of evidence, including direct, circumstantial, oral, physical and hearsay. The elements of admissibility are presented, as are the procedures for presentation of evidence to the court.
Specific techniques will be presented and discussed for conducting client interviews.
Law Office Investigation
Skip tracing, formal and informal witness statements, the obtaining of public documents and other investigative matters are presented.
Students will learn the "hierarchical structure" of legal indexes and how to efficiently utilize these fundamental research tools.
Students will develop the skills to analyze both case law and statutory authority, including what attorneys often refer to as the "IRAC method."
Legal Memorandum Form
After learning the analytical process, students will analyze cases and statutes. Students will then be taught how to create a legal memorandum.
Blue Book Citation Form
Students will learn the system of legal citation.
Students will study pleadings and will prepare a complaint as well as a summons.
Students will be taught to create sets of Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Request for Production and Inspection of Documents.
Students will learn the rules relevant to discovery and will learn how to track both sent and received discovery documents.
Preparing for Depositions
Students will study various considerations for deposition set up.
Students will be provided with a deposition transcript and will be taught to summarize that document.
Utilization of Legal Forms
Students will learn to manipulate templates and utilize form books.
The class will learn to identify primary, secondary, mandatory, persuasive and non-authority.
Legal Research Skills
By using hands-on, interactive training devices, students will learn proper law library utilization: how to locate primary authority, how to use secondary sources, how to update research sources, how to validate authority, and how to utilize specific legal materials.
Westlaw Training and Access
Students will receive training and individual access to Westlaw Online Legal Research.
Lexis Training and Access
Students will receive training and individual access to LexisNexis Online Legal Research.
Motions, Notices and Briefs
Students will be introduced to various forms of motions and will be required to prepare a motion, notice and brief.
Proper file maintenance is discussed. Students will be required to assemble all documents created in the class into a client file or evaluation.
Law Office Etiquette
Students will learn how to properly present themselves in a law office environment, including dress considerations, telephone tips and a discussion of office politics.
Students will learn how to create and maintain a client file.
Tickler and Calendaring Systems
The class will discuss various forms of reminder systems for important due dates, and both hard-copy and computer-based calendaring methods.
Students will learn the importance of keeping track of billable hours.
American Bar Association Rules of Ethics
Students will become familiar with the American Bar Association (ABA) rules that guide the ethical behavior of attorneys and will discuss how these rules affect paralegals in their day-to-day lives.
Law Office Ethics
Students will be taught to maintain a high ethical standard. To facilitate the learning process, students will be presented with ethical scenarios and potential pitfalls to avoid.
The class will be instructed in rules preventing a paralegal from providing legal advice and will discuss what does and does not constitute such advice.
Students will discuss the rules restricting paralegal representation, and the class will be presented with exceptions to these rules.
Texas Court Structure and Procedure
Local and state trial and appellate courts will be discussed, including how to access filing procedures for specific courts.
Students are taught the most frequently used court rules and are also taught the skills necessary for finding any rule for specific procedural questions.
Federal Government Structure
Students will learn the structure of government and the laws that apply to each branch.
Federal Court Structure
Students will be instructed in the basic differences between state and federal jurisdiction, as well as the federal trial and appellate jurisdictions. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will be introduced.
Electronic Legal Research Skills
Students will learn how to create computer queries in order to use Westlaw and Lexis. Students will also be presented with individual access to LexisNexis online legal research.
Students will learn the procedures and issues surrounding the disclosure of digitally stored information.
The Arbitration Process
The class will learn how the arbitration process works, will discuss the arbitration system in Texas, and will learn the difference between mandatory and binding arbitration. The class will also discuss new trends in extra-judicial proceedings.
Students will learn to obtain information, documents and relevant material in an informal forum and to act as the attorney's "right-hand" in such situations.
Substantive Legal Areas of Law
Students will develop skills related to the areas of law in which paralegals are most commonly utilized, such as Tort Law and Contract Law.