Research Report Assisting a Client in a Career Choice

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					                            INTRO TO PARALEGALISM - PLA 1003
                             COURSE SYLLABUS, SESSION I, 2008

I.           COURSE NAME AND TITLE
             PLA 1003 Intro To Paralegalism, Sec.# 1151
             Meeting Time:      Mon. 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
             Room#:             Clearwater Campus SS141

II.          INSTRUCTOR
              Name:               Judge James V. Pierce, B.A. Political Science, J.D. Stetson U.
                                   College of Law
             Room #:              SS 141
             Phone#:              464-6460
             E-mail:              Jpierce@jud6.org

             Contacting and Meeting With the Instructor Outside of Class
             The instructor's office hours are: Tues: 6:30pm-8:00pm; If you can't meet me in the
             office, telephone conferences are acceptable during my office hours. (Note: If you have
             any questions, and cannot reach me at the above number, leave a message on the
             phone or by email, DO NOT PANIC and call everyone in the College. As long as I
             know you attempted to contact me, there is no problem).

III.      MATERIAL REQUIRED
         Textbook(s):  West’s Paralegal Today, TheEssentials, 4th
                       Ed. by Miller and Urisko. ISBN#: 1-4180-
                       5032-6


             Assignments:          Assignments and due dates are listed in the Course Calendar below
                                   and may be given during class sessions as well. Students are
                                   responsible for determining class assignments if not present
                                   during class.

       IV.      COURSE DESCRIPTION

             Prerequisite: (ENC 0020 and REA 0002) or EAP 1695 or a satisfactory score on the SPC
             Writing and Reading placement tests. This course is designed to provide a general
             perspective of the legal system and a specific knowledge of the present and potential role
             of the legal paraprofessional within that system. Students will be exposed to the
             operations and structure of the court system, administrative agencies, private law firms,
             public sector law offices, legal ethics in evaluating what tasks, skills and roles are now
             and may in the future be fulfilled by the legal paraprofessional in each legal area.
             Students will be introduced to paralegal skills such as interviewing, investigating, legal
             writing and research. Opportunities will be available for students to begin voluntary
             service with law-related agencies or to add to their occupational skills.


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V.    ATTENDANCE
      Two unexcused absences are permitted. Further absences without good cause may result
      in the lowering of the student's grade or being withdrawn from the class. Good cause
      includes illnesses supported by medical documentation excusing the student from class
      attendance, death of family member, and unforeseeable emergency. Good cause
      determination is within the sole discretion of the instructor. Two tardies or two early
      departures from class will be considered an absence unless excused by instructor.
      (Attention Veterans: The Veteran's Administration has special attendance regulations
      which may exceed the policy in this syllabus. Please see me if you have any questions.)

      Tardiness of the Instructor
      If the instructor is delayed and does not appear prior to the beginning of the class, you
      must wait 20 minutes before leaving.

VI.   GRADING SYSTEM

      Grading will be done on a point system. Passage of this course will require completion
      of the following:
      1.      Two (2) examinations, which includes a mid term exam and comprehensive final
              examination;
      2.      One presentation with written report
      3.      8 Class assignments

      Each examination, including the final exam, will test the student's knowledge of the
      concepts covered since the beginning of the course. All exams may include multiple
      choice questions, true/false and essay.

      PRESENTATIONS & REPORTS

      Each student will prepare one class presentations on a topic we are discussing in class.
      The topics available will be elaborated on further in class and are also listed at the end of
      this syllabus. The presentation will be given by each student who will research the topics
      and make a presentation (length 20 minutes for oral presentation and 10 minutes for
      questions) to the class on their research. Each student will submit a copy of their
      research report at the time of their presentation. The research report shall be between 3-5
      pages in length (one inch margins, typed, double-spaced) in addition to a reference or
      bibliography page. Proper Citation of web related material can be found at:
      http://www.apastyle.org/elecref.html . Each student MUST have a minimum of three
      references in addition to the textbook. The grading of the presentation & reports shall be
      assessed as follows:

      Written Research Report
            Clear presentation and thorough research of the topic (50 pts)
            Quality of the writing (50 pts)




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       Class Presentation
       Professionalism of presentation & Quality of materials for class (50 pts)



       POINT SYSTEM

       There are 1000 points possible to be awarded to any student. The examinations and
       assignments shall each have the following number of possible maximum points:

       Exam I                       250
       Final Exam II                400
       Presentation                 150
       Assignments                  200 (sum is total of 8 assignments)
                             Total: 1000

       The grading scale is based on the total number of points received by the student during
       the course and will based on the following scale:

       Points received        Letter grade
       900 - 1000             A
       800 - 899              B
       700 - 799              C
       600 - 699              D
       below 600              F

       The instructor reserves the right to increase the grade for any student, any individual
       project, examination, class participation, or for the course as a whole and, further, to
       increase the grades of the entire class to effectuate grading on a "curve."


VII.   MAKE-UP EXAMINATIONS AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS
       All make-up examinations will have 20 points deducted if taken after the scheduled
       exam date, and an additional 5 points deducted for each day that has elapsed after the
       scheduled examination date.

       Exception:      If a student establishes good cause as defined above, a make-up
                       examination will be allowed for that student without the above penalties.

       THERE ARE NO MAKE-UPS FOR MISSED ASSIGNMENTS UNLESS GOOD
       CAUSE IF FOUND BY THE INSTRUCTOR.

Federal and State law requires a person designated as a “sexual predator or offender” to
register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The FDLE then is
required to notify the local law enforcement agency where the registrant resides, attends or
is employed by an institution of higher learning. Information regarding sexual predators



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or offenders attending or employed by an institution of higher learning may be obtained
from the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction for the particular campus, by
calling the FDLE hotline (1-888-FL-PREDATOR) or (1-888-357-7332), or by visiting the
FDLE website at http://www3.fdle.state.fl.us/sexual_predators/ If there are questions or
concerns regarding personal safety, please contact the Provost, Associate Provost, Campus
Security Officer or Site Administrator on your campus.



III.    COURSE OBJECTIVES

A.     Course Description:

       Prerequisite: (ENC 0020 and REA 0002) or EAP 1695 or a satisfactory score on the SPC Writing
       and Reading placement tests. This course is designed to provide a general perspective of the legal
       system and a specific knowledge of the present and potential role of the legal paraprofessional
       within that system. Students will be exposed to the operations and structures of the court system,
       administrative agencies, private law firms, public sector law offices, legal ethics in evaluating what
       tasks, skills, and roles are now and may in the future be fulfilled by the legal paraprofessional in
       each legal area. Students will be introduced to paralegal skills such as interviewing, investigating,
       legal research and writing. Opportunities will be available for students to begin voluntary service
       with law-related agencies or to add to their occupational skills. 28 contact hours.


B.     Major Learning Outcomes:

       1. The student will develop understanding of law-related occupations in private and public law
          offices, administrative agencies, financial institutions, real estate and title companies and
          corporations.

       2. The student will develop an understanding of the relationships between law-related
          occupations and the American legal and court systems.

       3. The student will develop understanding of the ethical and occupational guidelines for legal
          assistants and others working in law-related occupations.

       4. The student will gain knowledge and practice of the primary skills needed by legal assistants
          and others working in law-related occupations, such as abstracting, interviewing, reporting and
          legal research.




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C.   Course Objectives Stated in Performance Terms:

     1. The student will develop understanding of law-related occupations in private and public law
        offices, administrative agencies, financial institutions, real estate and title companies and
        corporations by:

        a. explaining the specific functions of a legal assistant.

        b. preparing for specific employment opportunities by drafting a resume and letter of inquiry
           related to one or more law related positions.

        c. selecting and actually or hypothetically applying for a law related position appropriate to
           one's qualifications to begin the student's professional orientation.

     2. The student will develop an understanding of the relationships between law-related
        occupations and the American legal and court systems by explaining the state court systems,
        and typical pretrial and trial procedures.

     3. The student will develop understanding of the ethical and occupational guidelines for legal
        assistants and others working in law-related occupations by:

        a. explaining the ethical limitations and guidelines for legal assistants.

        b. discussing the historical and current trends in the development of legal assistants.

     4. The student will gain knowledge and practice of the primary skills needed by legal assistants
        and others working in law-related occupations, such as abstracting, interviewing, reporting and
        legal research by:

        a. abstracting relevant information from a variety of sources.

        b. writing concise reports and summaries.

        c. using accurate legal terminology.

        d. conducting a simple interview.

        e. obtaining a statement from a witness.

         f. researching and examining the elements of statutes and administrative regulations and
            conducting preliminary legal research in Florida Statutes Annotated, Words and Phrases,
            the Reporter systems, and Shepard's Citations.

        g. cataloging and explaining the major categories of legal documents such as pleadings,
           contracts, wills, etc.

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D.   Criteria Performance Standard:

     Upon successful completion of the course the student will, with a minimum of 80% accuracy,
     demonstrate mastery of each of the above stated objectives through classroom measures developed
     by individual course instructors.

IX. COURSE CALENDAR AT A GLANCE
NOTE:   The "Text Chapter" column indicates that those materials should be read by the
        class date indicated to the left of the column. Important dates are in BOLD.

Week Date           Topics Covered In Class                              Text Chapter

1      9/22/08      Introduction, Course Policies & Overview of Course
                    State and Federal Court System and Law


2      9/29/08      Today’s Professional Paralegal                       Chapter 1
                    Career Opportunities                                 Chapter 2
                    Class Assignment: page 20/21 (25 pts)

3      10/6/08      Ethics and Professional Responsibility              Chapter 3
                    Read: NALA’S CODE OF ETHICS P. 351
                    NALA’S MODEL STANDARDS P.353
                    NALS CODE OF ETHICS P.367
                    Class Assignment Ethical Questions p.51 1-3 (25 pts)
                    P. 103 1-3 (25 pts)

4      10/13/08     The Inner Workings of the Law Office                 Chapter 4
                    Class Assignment: p.137,138 1-10 (25 pts)

5     10/20/08      Review for Exam I
                    Presentations

6      10/27/08     Exam I

7      11/3/08      The American Legal System                            Chapter 5
                    Class Assignment/Presentations

8      11/10/08     The Civil Litigation Process                         Chapter 6
                    Class Assignment –TBA ;Presentations

9      11/17/08     Conducting Interviews/Investigations                 Chapter 7
                    Presentations Class Assignment TBA

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10         11/24/08   Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing              Chapter 8


11         12/1/08    Computer Assisted Research;                       Chapter 9
                      Presentations/ Final Exam Review
                      Class Assignment: Prepare Resume and Cover letter/Presentations

12         12/08/08   Final Exam



                                   PRESENTATION TOPICS

     1.    NALA’S CODE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
     2.    NFPA’S MODE CODE OF ETHICS
     3.    CONDUCTING LEGAL RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET
     4.    CONDUCTING MEDICAL RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET
     5.    GENERAL LEGAL CORRESPONDENCES
     6.    CASE LAW ANALYSIS
     7.    INTERVIEWING A CLIENT
     8.    MANAGING DISCOVERY/EVIDENCE
     9.    PREPARING FOR TRIAL
     10.   THE TRIAL
     11.   DISCOVERY
     12.   INTERVIEWING A WITNESS
     13.   JURISDICTION AND VENUE
     14.   FILING PROCEDURES/PLEADINGS CIVIL
     15.   FILING PROCEDURE/PLEADINGS CRIMINAL
     16.   ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN CRIMINAL LAW
     17.   ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN FAMILY LAW
     18.   ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW
     19.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN EMPLOYMENT & LABOR LAW
     20.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN BANKRUPTCY LAW
     21.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN ESTATE PLANNING AND PROBATE
     22.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN PERSONAL INJURY LAW
     23.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN CONTRACT LAW
     24.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN REAL ESTATE LAW
     25.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN INSURANCE LAW
     26.   THE ROLE OF PARALEGAL IN CORPORATE LAW
     27.   STATE COURT SYSTEM
     28.   FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM
     29.   ROLE OF PARALEGALS IN ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION



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