Regardless of the paralegal degree level you choose to complete – whether a certificate or associate's degree for an entry-level job, or a bachelor's degree that will qualify you for more competitive positions – your basic paralegal course work will cover the same topics.
A traditional paralegal curriculum covers the range of topics that an entry-level paralegal faces on a daily basis. Most programs start with an introduction to paralegal studies, followed by general course work in legal analysis and writing, torts, contracts, ethics courses, and administrative law for paralegals. Practical paralegal courses such as law office management and business organization processes are also common.
Your paralegal courses are also likely to include training specific types of law, including:
- Civil law – civil litigation is intended to bring resolution to disputes between individuals or organizations. Your paralegal curriculum will help you understand the processes involved in civil cases.
- Criminal law – you will learn how to support attorneys as they prepare for criminal cases, in which the government prosecutes individuals for breaking the law.
- Real estate law – your training in real estate law will give you insight into the legal aspects of real estate transactions.
- Family law – dealing with issues relating to families, from adoption to domestic violence to divorce, family law provides a spectrum of challenges for attorneys and paralegals.
- Wills, trusts and estates – learn how to support individuals as they determine how to distribute their assets after death.
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Unlike most programs, The Howard School of Law Paralegal Certificate Program does not simply pile substantive area of law upon substantive area of law, basically turning such subjects into "filler." There is a good reason for this philosophy.
Notice that the majority of study in the "typical" paralegal program includes administrative law, tort law, contract law, civil litigation, criminal law, real estate law, family law, business organizations, and wills trusts and estates. The problem is that a paralegal, during his or her career, is likely to use litigation skills and perhaps one other area.
The Howard School of Law Paralegal Certificate Program instead chooses to focus its curriculum on those areas of training that attorneys care about the most: Skills. Transferable skills. Skills that are applicable in virtually any area of law. Skill training in this program include:
Stages of Litigation
Law Office Investigation
Legal Memorandum Form.
Blue Book Citation Form
Preparing for Depositions
Utilization of Legal Forms
Legal Research Skills (Law Library and Online)
Electronic Legal Research Skills
Westlaw Training and Access
Lexis Training and Access
Motions, Notices and Briefs
Law Office Etiquette
American Bar Association Rules of Ethics
Law Office Ethics
State and Local Court Structure and Procedure
Federal Government Structure
Federal Court Structure
The Arbitration Process
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The Howard School of Law Paralegal Certificate Program also provides training to students in the areas of substantive law most likely to be used by a paralegal: Tort Law, Administrative Law, and Contract Law. In addition, students are trained specifically in District of Columbia Practices and Procedures.
The Howard School of Law Paralegal Certificate Program provides legal research training in the law library, using Westlaw, and using Lexis. No other program in the area offers all three versions of legal research.
Another major difference is the study support offered byThe Howard School of Law Paralegal Certificate Program . Compare our study support to other programs. Actually, as you will see, there is no comparison!
If you know an attorney or paralegal, ask them which is more important for a paralegal: Training in several substantive areas of law, or training in law office skills? That will help you determine which program is right for you.