Paralegal Studies


The Howard University School of Law Paralegal Certificate Program is an intensive educational experience designed to provide successful graduates with the knowledge and skill-sets desired by attorneys, agencies, and corporations that employ paralegals.

The program is designed to mimic the real-life experience of working paralegals:

  • Each student is assigned his or her own unique hypothetical client
  • Legal research and writing assignments are based on the client
  • Interviewing and investigative skills are based on the client
  • Students will maintain a client folder, just as in a real law firm
  • Students will keep track of billable hours, just as in a real law firm
  • The program is structured in the order of litigation, from the Summons and Complaint all the way to a Motion for Summary Judgment and Trial Brief
  • And much more!

Students are provided with the most extensive online study support in the country to make the educational experience more efficient, and more effective.

The program may be taken on campus or as an entirely online, go-at-your-own-pace educational experience.

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    What You'll Learn . . .


    Howard University School of Law Paralegal Certificate Program 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.


    Review the following list of what you will learn in the Howard School of Law Paralegal Program. Compare it to other courses. We think you'll be impressed!


    • Introduction to the Legal Field
      Students will learn what kind of job opportunities exist and what tasks a paralegal may perform.
    • Legal Terminology
      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.
    • Resume Preparation
      Students will receive instruction in preparing resumes and cover letters, 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.
    • Evidence
      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.
    • Interview Clients
      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.
    • Index Research
      Students will learn the "hierarchical structure" of legal indexes and will learn to efficiently utilize these fundamental research tools.
    • Legal Analysis
      Students will develop the skills to analyze both case law and statutory authority, including the modified 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.
    • Pleading Preparation
      Students will study pleadings and will prepare a complaint as well as a summons.
    • Discovery Preparation
      Students will be taught to create sets of Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Request for Production and Inspection of Documents.
    • Discovery Coordination
      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 setup.
    • Deposition Digesting
      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 formbooks.
    • Authority Identification
      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 using Shepard's, and how to utilize specific legal materials. Students will be trained in The Key Number System and the Total Client Service.
    • 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.
    • File Maintenance
      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.
    • File Maintenance
      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.
    • Billable Hours
      Student will learn the importance of keeping track of billable hours.
    • ABA Rules of Ethics
      Students will become familiar with the 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.
    • Legal Advice
      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.
    • Legal Representation
      Students will discuss the rules restricting paralegal representation, and the class will be presented with exceptions to these rules.
    • Washington D.C. Court Structure and Procedure
      Local and state trial and appellate courts will be discussed, including how to access filing procedures for specific courts. In addition, students will have access to forms and court procedures in Virginia and Maryland.
    • Court Rules
      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.
    • Electronic Discovery
      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 D.C. and will learn the difference between mandatory and binding arbitration. The class will also discuss new trends in extra-judicial proceedings.
    • Informal Advocacy
      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 paralegal are most commonly utilized, such as Tort Law, Contract Law, and Administrative Law.

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