Careers in the legal field often require many years of training, but paralegals can enter the job market quickly. What's more, paralegals earn good salaries and have many opportunities for advancement. In fact, a skilled paralegal can do almost all the jobs a lawyer does.
In this course, you will discover what paralegals do and find out what you will need to know in order to begin your own paralegal career. You will start by getting an excellent grounding in legal terminology, contract law, and the tort system. Next, you will learn how to perform legal analysis, conduct interviews and investigations, write legal briefs, and prepare for appeals. And finally, you will get tips on internships and job-hunting.
By the time you're finished, you will know if becoming a paralegal is the right career choice for you.
1 What Is a Paralegal?
Lawyers simply don’t have time to do everything their job requires them to do. As a result, they often hire paralegals to be their right hands. This lesson begins with a general overview of the paralegal’s job responsibilities within the American legal system.
2 How Do Paralegals Integrate into a Law Practice?
This lesson discusses the paralegal’s work environment in three different types of employment: a law firm, a corporation, and the public sector. You will also explore the paralegal’s post-trial duties to give you a comprehensive sense of what a paralegal does on a daily basis.
3 Legal Terminology
This lesson focuses on simple definitions of the legal terms that you will need to understand and use in your daily work. At the end of this lesson, terms like movant and tortfeasor should roll off your tongue with ease.
4 Contract Law
Contract law is a large part of most law practices. As a paralegal, you will often assist with preparing contracts. In this lesson, you will learn about the necessary elements that go into a legal, enforceable contract. Since even the most carefully prepared contract can sometimes go awry, you will also get a large dose of contract litigation.
5 Tort Law
This lesson will discuss the types of tort law actions. You will learn about intentional and quasi-intentional torts, and then you will explore negligent torts. You will also look at a few other areas of tort law, including strict liability, products liability, and nuisance torts.
6 Analyzing and Drafting Legal Documents
This lesson addresses both legal analysis and drafting legal documents. You will learn how to apply analysis to the drafting of legal documents, as well as an easy-to-remember formula for legal analysis.
7 Investigating Legal Matters
This lesson covers legal investigation. You will learn the goals of legal investigations as well as the best methods for conducting them. You will look at evidence: how to acquire, mark, protect, and organize it.
8 Legal Interviewing
This lesson covers legal interviewing. You will begin by discussing the initial client interview, starting with the setting for the interview and its content. Then you will look at the intake memorandum, which paralegals typically draft at the end of the initial client interview.
9 Conducting Legal Research
Finding this case law is the heart of legal research, and one of the most important tasks assigned to paralegals. This lesson will first discuss legal authority and its various categories, including primary, secondary, mandatory, and persuasive authority.
10 Writing Legal Briefs
Once you complete your legal research, you must be able to communicate the results in legal briefs. You will begin by looking at the proper format and organization of a legal brief, noting the various sections and citations. Then, you will learn how to make an effective legal argument.
11 Appellate Procedure
This lesson covers the appellate procedure. You will learn how to prepare an appellate brief, how to form a research plan, and the difference between questions of law and questions of fact.
12 Job Hunting
This final lesson deals with job hunting. You will gain some useful sources for job leads and discover how to develop good working skills and habits.