Courses Offered on Tuesday and Thursday Evenings (6:00 pm-8:50 pm) and Saturday Mornings (9:00 am-11:50 am)
Courses are taught sequentially.
The program consists of 17 courses for a total of 33 credit hours of program course credits. The ABA requires that students must take at least nine semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses through traditional classroom synchronous instruction.
PLS 260 Introduction to Paralegal Studies
PLS 266 Legal Research and Writing
PLS 267 Litigation and the Federal and NYS Procedural Laws
PLS 273 Computer Support Systems
First Semester Total:
INTERSESSION AND SPRING SEMESTER
PLS 263 Contract Law for Paralegals
PLS 268 Personal Injury Law
PLS 269 Domestic Relations and Family Law
PLS 270 Debtor-Creditor Law
PLS 272 Real Estate Law
PLS 275 Law Practice Management
Intersession and Second SemesterTotal:
PLS 271 Corporate Law and Business Organizations
Summer Semester Total:
FINAL FALL SEMESTER
PLS 250 Paralegal Communication Skills
PLS 264 Administrative Law
PLS 265 Fact-finding Research
PLS 274 Estate Planning, Estates and Trust Administration
PLS 276 Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
This course provides basic communications skills needed by paralegals as perceived by both paralegals and the lawyers with whom they work. These skills include: listening, writing, speaking, conflict resolution, assertiveness, and nonverbal communications. Listening activities include: exercises which develop active listening strategies and notetaking. Writing activities include exercises to construct clear sentences, compose letters which obtain and transmit information, and summarize facts. Speaking activities include exercises to fully, clearly and effectively obtain and relay information. Nonverbal activities include strategies and tactics for effective law office communications. Students learn to identify their own communication styles and methods for improving their communication effectiveness. Must be matriculated into the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.
Prerequisite(s): PLS 260 or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Apply active listening strategies to obtain information for note taking. 2. Apply verbal strategies to obtain and relay information. 3. Create letters and documents using proper grammar and spelling appropriate for a legal setting. 4. Demonstrate strategies or tactics for effective law office communications. 5. Demonstrate assertiveness appropriate for a legal setting. 6. Demonstrate conflict resolution strategies appropriate for a legal setting.
Provides students with an understanding of current trends in technology for use in various legal environments and commonly used software and applications. Students will learn about and evaluate different case management systems with functionality for timekeeping, accounting, administration, docketing, and litigation management and support. Additional topics covered include: ethical issues related to technology, cybersecurity, e-discovery, artificial intelligence and legal analytics. Students will gain hands-on experience with a number of tools that are available to assist with law office organization and case management.
Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of PLS 260, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1.Identify, describe, and use various types and applications of law office technology. 2.Describe and compare the various features of office and case management software. 3.Determine the criteria for selecting litigation management systems used in local litigation practices. 4.Demonstrate ethical and professional responsibility rules as they relate to the use of technology in the law office, e-discovery, litigation support, and the use of artificial intelligence.
Introduces the student to the paralegal profession and the common core of legal knowledge and skills that all paralegals should possess. Areas covered include: what paralegals do, a history of the profession, the significance of paralegal professional associations, personal attributes of the professional paralegal, employment of paralegals, paralegal specialized practice areas, paralegal compensation, the organizational structure of law firms, the regulation of legal professionals, unauthorized practice of law, and contemporary issues. Aspects of these topics are also included in subsequent courses. This course also introduces students to sources of American law, the court system, and alternative dispute resolution. Emphasis is on the paralegal's participation on the legal team.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Define the role of a paralegal and the vocabulary attached thereto; understand the history of the profession and the skills and attributes required to succeed in this area. 2. Describe the areas in which paralegals are functioning and the range of compensation. 3. Explain the various paralegal regulation options. 4. Describe the ethical considerations specific to the legal profession and paralegals in particular. 5. Explain how law firms are organized and how they structure their business including the lines of authority, typical employment policies, work appraisals, efficient billing and filing. 6. Describe the uses for computers in the legal field today. 7. Define the sources of American law including the common law tradition, constitutional law, statutory law, administrative law and case law. 8. Describe the American system of justice including federal, state, and local court systems,and alternative dispute resolution.
Provides paralegal students with the basic theory of contract law, sample contracts from a variety of specialized practice areas, supplemental cases, and the opportunity to draft simple contracts. Included in the course are the basic contract requirements, contract provisions in selected specialized practice areas, the Statute of Frauds, and the Uniform Commercial Code. Students learn key contract terms, sample clauses, perform exercises, draft simple contracts, and conduct case analysis. Since the substantive area of contract law underlies many other specialty areas it is important that the well trained paralegal can analyze the needs of the client both short term and long range. This class will also explore how paralegals can apply the elements of reasoning and thereby increase the effectiveness of the legal entity. In this area this course will draw on concepts from the domains of critical thinking and analysis, total quality management and closely allied philosophy of continuing quality improvement, communications which build trust, conflict management and resolution, and decision making.
Prerequisite: PLS 260
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Describe the necessary elements of any contract. 2. Draft simple contracts. 3. Define key contract terms.
This course introduces students to a rapidly expanding area of law. Students learn how and why administrative agencies are created, how they establish rules, and how they investigate and enforce those rules. Students will also learn how to assist clients to obtain benefits under some administrative agencies, how to fill out administrative agencies' forms, and how to challenge administrative agencies' decisions. Some administrative agencies, Social Security Administration, for one, permits paralegals to represent clients. Federal and New York administrative agencies are covered.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Explain how and why administrative agencies are created. 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the powers exercised by administrative agencies and some limitations on those powers. 3. Describe the government functions performed by administrative agencies. 4. Explain how administrative agencies establish and enforce rules. 5. Explain the primary responsibilities of paralegals in performing administrative agencies’ tasks. 6. Predict what to anticipate as a paralegal when working with administrative agencies. 7. Identify opportunities for paralegals in the area of administrative law, federal and state agencies. 8. Define the differences in function and procedure among trial courts, appellate courts, and administrative hearings.
Provides students with strategies for fact-finding and investigation. Included in the courses are interviewing techniques for gathering information from clients, witnesses and agencies. Also included are investigative techniques for determining what information is needed and finding, organizing, verifying and documenting the information. Fact-finding research is an important aspect of paralegal responsibility. Students will learn to develop critical thinking skills, communicate effectively while in pursuit of information, and apply good judgement and common sense when encountering ethical problems.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Explain the ethical considerations and responsibilities of the lawyer and paralegal in interviewing and investigating. 2. Identify the objectives of investigation, concentrate on the evidence reflecting those objectives and recognize affirmative and rebuttal evidence. 3. Demonstrate ability to gather facts from clients, witnesses, and agencies. 4. Develop strategies for determining what information is needed and finding, organizing, verifying and documenting the information. 5. Apply critical thinking skills to analyze sets of facts relating to legal dispute to determine what further information is required to prepare for resolution of the dispute and where this information can be obtained. 6. Demonstrate an understanding of how to prepare for and conduct an interview with a client and/or witness in preparation for the dispute resolution process. 7. Draft interview checklists, forms and other materials relevant to the interviewing and investigating process. 8. Succinctly summarize information discovered during fact-finding research. 9. Demonstrate how to identify witnesses or potential parties to a suit,and conduct an effective interview and record appropriate, accurate statements. 10. Prepare releases and requests to gain access to medical and corporate records.
Students develop legal research and analysis strategies through lecture, library exercises, and computerized research. Understanding the structure of the sources of law and utilizing critical thinking skills equip students to undertake legal research systematically. Students use federal and New York State CD-ROM and law books consisting of substantive and procedural documents, digests, reporters, statutes, rules and regulations of administrative agencies, and the Internet to research databases and communicate with others. Writing exercises involve analyzing, summarizing, and synthesizing research in a clear, concise, accurate and timely manner based upon the procedural requirements of the law.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 260, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Locate, recognize, read selections from, and explain the sources of law, 2. Identify, read, and define citations, 3. Gather and analyze facts and identify and organize legal issues, 4. Define terminology used in legal research and specific documents, 5. Determine “key” search words prior to conducting research 6. Use legal research tools, both manually and electronically, 7. Use CD-ROM and the internet. 8. Take notes on facts and principles surrounding issues in specific cases, 9. Summarize, analyze, and synthesize findings 10. Write drafts in timely manner,
Provides students with the knowledge, skills and practice performing the duties of the litigation paralegal. Through the use of case simulations, students learn to gather, review, index and summarize documents, and to work with the lawyer and legal secretary to manage case files through pretrial, trial and post-trial stages. Guided by federal and New York State procedural laws, and rules and regulations of New York and local court rules, students learn to draft common litigation correspondence, notices and legal documents. These include summons, complaints, answers, motions, affidavits, subpoena, discovery documents, and orders. Students are introduced to the tools used in litigation: manual and computer-based document control systems, deposition exhibitions cross-reference mechanisms, trial notebook categories, trial witness coordinating forms, and trial exhibits tracking forms. Litigation tasks in this course form the foundation for paralegal litigation responsibilities in family law, real estate, debtor/creditor law, criminal law, and personal injury law. Also introduced in this course are automated litigation support systems and an overview of the potential areas for paralegal participation on document production.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 260.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the law office setting and procedures, the role of the paralegal on the litigation team, courts and jurisdiction, and the stages in the civil litigation process. 2. Explain the ethical and professional responsibilities of the lawyer and the paralegal in civil litigation. 3. Integrate substantive and procedural law in the litigation context. 4. Explain federal and state rules of evidence and civil procedure and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of those rules. 5. Draft forms, checklists, pleadings, documents, motions and other materials relevant to the litigation process. 6. Explain the procedures involved in interviewing clients and witnesses, filing court documents, assisting in discovery, serving papers, assisting at trial and other litigation processes.
Students learn the basic principles of personal injury law, the application of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) to personal injury cases, New York automobile insurance law, worker's compensation, and procedures for suing municipalities and the State of New York. Students learn to manage document production and organization, including investigating, researching, and drafting the most commonly used forms in personal injury resulting from negligence, vehicular negligence, medical malpractice, strict liability, and product liability.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 266, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Explain the basic substantive law of torts. 2. Analyze client fact situations and propose application of the appropriate tort law. 3. Discuss the concepts of burdens of proof and presumptions in law. 4. Propose appropriate remedies for a given wrong to persons or their property. 5. Explain the defendant’s use of affirmative defenses. 6. Discuss the ideas of comparative and contributory negligence, as well as joint and several liability. 7. Formulate definitive legal positions to give direction to the litigation attorney and to focus the direction of the legal research in a specific tort action.
Introduces students to the paralegal responsibilities in family law practice including New York Domestic Relations Law and the Family Court Act as they govern family situations. Students will draft a complaint and answer for a contested matrimonial action, and other documents related to contemporary family matters.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 266 and 267, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Calculate child support pursuant to New York State’s Child Support Standards Act. 2. Prepare pleadings for a divorce action. 3. Calculate maintenance pursuant to Domestic Relations Law.
This course will introduce students to bankruptcy law and the application of legal procedures in bankruptcy. Students will learn about jurisdiction; the cast of characters and their roles in bankruptcy; key terminology; sources of bankruptcy law; the various bankruptcy chapters under U.S. Code: Title 11; the different types of bankruptcy case filings, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 9, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13; how to conduct a client interview; how to evaluate bankruptcy options for clients; the initial case filing documentation; the automatic stay; discharge; conversion; dismissal; voidable transfers; and how to diagram a Chapter 7 case from beginning to end. Students will learn to draft a complete Chapter 7 petition under the supervision of an attorney. Students will also learn about the paralegal’s role in bankruptcy practice and how to formulate a Chapter 13 plan
Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of PLS 260- Introduction to Paralegal Studies and PLS 266- Legal Research and Writing, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Demonstrate ability to recognize which bodies of substantive and procedural law relate to bankruptcy. 2. Demonstrate ability to distinguish amongst various parties in relation to bankruptcy cases and the roles they play. 3. Prepare a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition under the supervision of an attorney.
Introduces students to corporate law and the formation, operation, dissolution, and buying and selling various kinds of business organizations. Subjects include sole proprietorships, corporations, partnerships, professional associations, franchises, and the law of agency and employment agreements. Also included in this course is a section on business closings. The role of the paralegal in a corporate law department or in the corporate section of a law firm is to implement the decisions of the attorneys and clients. Once the business evaluation has occurred, the paralegal is responsible for the details of drafting, filing and assembling the relevant documents and making the deal happen on a predetermined timetable.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 266 and PLS 267, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Differentiate between the various types of business entities and the advantages and disadvantages of each. 2. Explain the basic government and judicial structures which form the basis for the business and corporate areas of law. 3. Demonstrate an ability to recognize the interrelationship between law and business/corporate structure systems and how one influences another. 4. Explain the ramifications when a partnership or corporation is invalidly formed. 5. Examine how the law of agency is interrelated to business and corporate law. 6. Explain the tax implications for partnerships and corporations. 7. Define sexual harassment in the corporations/business/work environments. 8. Prepare a partnership agreement.
Introduces students to real estate law and practice. Topics of study include: property rights, principles of land ownership, sale, financing and conveyance, contracts, mortgage loans, mortgages, deeds, recording, settlement concepts, condominiums, leasing, landlord/tenant summary proceedings, and other property concepts. Students focus on managing multiple participant relationships, and opening, controlling, and closing the real estate file. Emphasis on the law regarding, and performing selected tasks and responsibilities listed in the "MCC's Survey Results for Paralegal Competency Expectations" in the specialized practice area of real estate under the supervision of an attorney.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 260 and PLS 266, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Explain basic real estate law concepts. 2. Prepare real estate transactions for an attorney. 3. Articulate the use and function of each major real estate document.
Introduces students to the concepts and forms necessary for estate planning and estate and trust administration. Students learn to assist the attorney with a variety of tasks, from opening the estate and appointment of a fiduciary to filing of final account and distribution of assets. Forms, checklists, and deadlines for Federal and New York income, estate, and gift taxation laws and regulations are emphasized. Probate practice is an important area of employability of paralegals. A basic foundation in New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law, Uniform Court Rules, and the procedures and forms used in Surrogate's Court Practice will increase a paralegal's value to the firm.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 260 and PLS 266, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Evaluate fact patterns involving wills, estates, and trusts. 2. Explain the procedures for filing a voluntary administration of small estates. 3. Explain the filing procedures for the probate of an estate. 4. Explain the procedures for filing estate taxes.
Builds upon ethical situations and professional responsibilities. Students are provided with additional frameworks with which to undertake ethical analysis. Students will study paralegals as an emerging professional and efforts directed toward paralegal credentialing and regulation. Included are discussions concerning conclusions reached in the final report of the NYS Bar Association on Non-Lawyer Practice, and recommendations contained in the final report of the American Bar Association Non-Lawyer Activity in Law-Related Situations. Other areas covered include employment discrimination, substance abuse and continuing education requirements.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of PLS 260, or permission of program director.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Establish a framework from which to undertake an analysis of ethical problems. 2. Apply critical thinking techniques to view ethical dilemmas from the perspective of the involved players – supervising attorney, adversary, paralegal, client and the court. 3. Describe the ethical rules governing lawyers and paralegals in New York State and the grievance procedures available to the public. 4. Demonstrate ethical practical skills of:(a) Recognizing potential conflicts (b) Articulate procedures required to establish a screen against violating client confidentiality in a conflict situation (c) Demonstrate awareness of the need to be ever cognizant of behavior that may infringe upon laws prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law.
Designed to give students the opportunity to apply their formal education to actual work situations. The student intern will work either under the direct supervision of a practicing attorney or under the direct supervision of a practicing paralegal while under the overall supervision of a practicing attorney. Students must work a minimum of 75 hours in a law office or other legal entity and 7.5 of these hours must be for a not-for-profit legal entity. Additionally the students must meet with the internship faculty member 15 hours to receive three semester credit hours. The significance of student interns adhering to flawless ethical standards, maintaining confidentiality, being meticulous and reliable cannot be overemphasized.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of 6 credit hours in the PLS program.
Course Learning Outcomes 1. Employ the knowledge gained in Introduction to Paralegal Studies and Paralegal Communication Skills to obtain an intern position in an appropriate legal entity. 2. Apply paralegal skills and be able to identify the role and responsibilities of the legal assistant in the work place through the 75 hour internship. 3. Demonstrate paralegal competencies that enhance the resume/portfolio to improve employability upon graduation from the program.