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Course Descriptions - Paralegal Studies

PARA 2010 Introduction to Paralegal Studies
This course introduces students to the  legal system and the practice of law, focusing upon the role of the paralegal. The course provides an overview of necessary paralegal skills, including terminology and vocabulary, interviewing and investigation, law office administration, legal document drafting, and litigation support.  The course also addresses legal trends and professional ethics, including but not limited to the unauthorized practice of law.  
Pre-requisite:  ENGL 1010
credit hours:
3

PARA 3020 Legal Research
This course introduces students to the law library, Westlaw, and other online and hardcopy resources for research; and teaches students to develop efficient, effective legal research strategies.
credit hours: 3

PARA 3030 Legal Writing
This course builds upon the research and analytical skills developed in PARA 3020 - Legal Research, and teaches students to draft motions, pleadings, correspondence, and other necessary legal documents.
Pre-requisite: PARA 3020. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 3050 Litigation I
This course introduces students to civil litigation in the federal and state court systems.  Topics include terminology and vocabulary, jurisdiction and venue analysis, client interviews, investigations, initial pleadings, motion practice, calendaring, file management, document production, depositions, and other aspects of discovery. Lectures are supplemented with instruction and practical exercises in the drafting of legal documents.
credit hours: 3

PARA 3060 Litigation II
This course explores the state and federal court systems in greater depth, using the theory-of-the-case approach to educate students in the procedural, evidentiary, and substantive rules governing civil litigation.   Students develop skills in legal analysis, critical thinking, formal and informal advocacy, legal writing, rules of evidence, investigative techniques, post-trial rules and procedures. Lectures are supplemented with instruction and practical exercises in the drafting of effective pleadings, motions, memoranda, and discovery documents.
Pre-requisite: PARA 3050.
credit hours:
3

PARA 3070 Computers in the Law Firm
This course introduces students to several of the primary computer applications that many law firms use to facilitate litigation support, legal research, case management, time-keeping, billing, and other law office functions.
Pre-requisites: CPST 1000 - Introduction to Microcomputers or equivalent course or technical skills. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4010 Business and Corporate Practice
This course teaches students the legal aspects of  business organizations and relationships, including sole proprietorships, agencies, partnerships, and corporations; and the role of the paralegal in corporate and business transactions. 
Pre-requisites: PARA  3030, 3060, and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4030 Louisiana Succession Practice
This course provides an overview of Louisiana’s substantive law of successions and donations.  Students learn practical functions, such as drafting simple wills; estate administration, including collection, legal description, and appraisal of assets; drafting  pleadings to probate will, appoint executor, pay estate debts, sell or lease estate property, and transfer possession of inheritance to heirs; preparing documents to transfer estate assets; and preparing and filing Louisiana Inheritance Tax and Federal Estate Tax Returns.
Pre-requisites: PARA, 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4040 Real Property Practice
This course introduces students to substantive law and the role of the paralegal in real estate transactions, including compiling initial information for real estate purchase and sales, performing title searches, preparing preliminary abstracts of title and opinion of title, mortgages and transfer of ownership, requisition of deeds and leases, and other functions associated with real estate negotiations and closings.
Pre-requisites: PARA, 3030, 3060, and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4050 Family Law
This course introduces students to current and projected issues in family law and the role of the paralegal in cases arising from marriage, children, and property.  Students learn to perform client interviews; prepare pleadings for dissolution, support and division of property; prepare cases for trial; supervise case progress; draft property settlements; trace assets; and other tasks.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4070 Immigration Law Practice
This participative asynchronous Internet-based course introduces students to the legal development of provisions addressing immigration in the U.S. Constitution, laws, regulations, and social policies; the social institutions relating to immigration and the role of these institutions in U.S. society; the administration of immigration benefits, including determination of citizenship, naturalization, and others; and the enforcement of immigration laws in U.S. society.
Notes: Satisfies social science requirement for School of Professional Advancement majors.
credit hours: 3

PARA 4080 Criminal Law
The course provides an overview of the practice of criminal law, including criminal procedure and court rules, prosecutorial functions, probation, juvenile courts, mental commitment procedures, bail, and sentencing, with a focus upon the paralegal’s role in investigations, discovery, alternative dispositions,  and trial preparation.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4090 Administrative Law Practice
This course introduces students to governmental agency procedures for making rules and adjudicating enforcement actions, focusing upon the paralegal’s role in identifying and analyzing applicable statutes and rules and performing necessary paralegal functions, such as submitting requests under the Freedom of Information Act. 
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4100 Law Office Management
This course introduces students to the organization and efficient operation of law offices, including  accounting and billing procedures; hiring, scheduling, and managing non-attorney personnel; information storage and retrieval systems; office equipment; law office library management; and fostering client relations.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4120 Admiralty Practice
This course provides an overview of substantive maritime law, as applied  through federal and state regulations.  Specific topics include marine insurance, personal injury rights and liabilities, salvage, ship mortgages, and domestic and foreign towage regulations; and related practical paralegal functions, including the drafting of bills of lading, limitations of liability, and other documents..
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4150 Commercial Law
This course introduces students to the role of the paralegal in the drafting, execution, and enforcement of contracts, mortgages, pledge assignments and other security devices,  with emphasis upon formal requirements, the liabilities of parties, and collection procedures.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4160 Legal Interviewing and Investigation
This course explores the principles, methods, and investigative techniques for locating, gathering, documenting, and disseminating necessary information in the course of civil and criminal actions.  Practical lessons focus upon developing the interviewing and investigative skills necessary to prepare paralegals to communicate effectively and recognize potential ethical pitfalls.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4180 Bankruptcy Practice
This course  provides an overview of the U.S. Bankruptcy system, including the development of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures, the Bankruptcy Court, and the U.S. Trustee system.  Assignments focus upon the practical role of the paralegal in cases arising under Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11 cases, including the drafting of pleadings and use of the electronic filing system. The course also explores ethical issues, such as a debtor’s right to a fresh start versus a creditor’s right to a meaningful distribution.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4190 Legal Ethics in America
This course examines the professional and ethical dilemmas legal professionals face and compares the ethical rules and professional standards developed by the American Bar Association, adopted by Louisiana and presented as guidelines by the two major paralegal associations. The course contrasts the real–life expectations and responses of legal professionals with fictional scenarios portrayed in the media, and explores the impact of movies and television upon public perception. Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4220 Insurance Law Practice
This course examines insurance law in Louisiana and the United States and its application within the practice of law, providing an overview of the insurance claims process and related paralegal functions in litigation, claims, and defense, and case management; and the issues of ethics and professionalism that arise in insurance law practice.  Practical lessons focus upon the specific tasks that paralegals perform within insurance companies and law firms.  Pre-requisites: PARA 2010, 3020, 3030, 3050 and 3060 or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4280 Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice
This course provides an overview of the  tort and insurance laws governing personal injury actions and focuses upon the paralegal’s role in assisting the lawyer in personal injury practice, including performing factual investigations, preparing pleadings and other papers for civil litigation, assisting in settlement negotiations, preparing exhibits for trial, and organizing and maintaining files.  The course also addresses the prosecution and defense of medical malpractice cases under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act, burdens of proof and theories of recovery, defenses, discovery and analysis of medical records, basic medical terminology, selection and preparation of expert witnesses, pre-trial preparation and discovery, medical literature research, and trial.
Pre-requisites: PARA  3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4300 Louisiana Notary Law
This course introduces students to the general duties and powers of the Notary Public in Louisiana, focusing upon the laws governing notaries in matrimonial regimes, adoptions, emancipations, tutorships, curator-ships, interdictions, successions, wills, donations, real estate transactions, mortgages, security interests and the formation of businesses.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4310 Employment Law
This course introduces students to the laws and principles governing the practice of employment law. The course identifies best practices for establishing, maintaining and terminating the employment relationship, with an emphasis upon developing the paralegal’s ability to evaluate employment claims and  identify ethical practices in factual scenarios based upon  real-world employment disputes.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4320 Healthcare Compliance
This course prepares paralegals for employment in law firms, governmental agencies,  healthcare organizations, and other areas of the healthcare industry.  Through lectures and practical exercises, the course addresses insurance, Medicare, physician-patient relationships, medical records, bioethics, privacy and security, and applicable state and federal laws.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070 or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4330 White Collar Crime
This course provides an in-depth study of the law, theory and practice of white collar criminal law and litigation, focusing upon federal laws and the impacts of white collar crime, including economic and sociological costs; and the nature of corporate, federal and state governmental, environmental, and economic crimes.  The course also examines the roles of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and paralegals in the investigation and prosecution of white collar crime.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070 or by approval of Director.
credit hours: 3

PARA 4340 Social Security Disability Law
This course provides students with a working knowledge of social security disability laws, including applications for disability benefits, disability benefits for children, SSI benefits during the application process, proof of disability, the claims evaluation process, work during disability, the duties and responsibilities of Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), the claimant’s right to representation, and the paralegal’s role in these and other aspects of the disability claims process.
Pre-requisites: PARA 3030, 3060 and 3070 or by approval of Director. 
credit hours: 3

PARA 4350 Law in American Society
This participative asynchronous Internet-based course introduces students to the interplay between America's legal system and our social structure and includes a detailed analysis and discussion of the development of social, economic, and political relationships and how the legal system affects and imposes upon those relationships. The students will also study and discuss the functions of the federal and state court systems and their accessibility and availability to citizens of varying socioeconomic means.
Notes: Satisfies social science requirement for School of Professional Advancement majors.
credit hours: 3

PARA 5500 Selected Topics
These upper level  Paralegal Studies courses introduce additional legal specialties to the curriculum on a temporary or permanent basis.  Courses are chosen based upon the levels of legal activity and interest in the practice areas and new trends in law practice. Topics previously presented in this format and recently added to the course inventory include include White Collar Crime and Social Security Disability Practice. 
Pre-requisites: PARA  3030, 3060 and 3070, or by approval of Director.
credit hours: 3

PARA 5900 Paralegal Practicum
Students who are in their final semester of study and have an overall GPA of 2.0 may seek Director approval to register for the Practicum.  This course includes both a classroom component and performance of a 100-hour internship under the supervision of an attorney in a law firm or other legal services office.  In the classroom, students receive instruction regarding internship activities, ethics, professionalism, job search skills, and other aspects of paralegal practice and employment.
Pre-requisites: Approval of director required. 
credit hours: 3