George Mason’s Paralegal Certificate is offered in collaboration with The Center for Legal Studies.
Employment for paralegals is projected to grow much faster than average, as employers try to reduce costs by hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants.
This intensive, nationally acclaimed program is designed for beginning as well as advanced legal workers. Students will be trained to assist trial attorneys, interview witnesses, investigate complex fact patterns, research the law, and assist in preparing cases for courtroom litigation. The instruction is practice-oriented and related to those areas of the law in which legal assistants are most in demand.
Legal Terminology, Documents, Ethics, and the Litigation Process
This session focuses on the history of American jurisprudence, the theory of law, the legal process, and the nature of litigation. Discussion will cover pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures, as well as an in depth coverage of legal ethics. At the end of the first session of class, student will know how to prepare Complaint and Petition, Answer Third Party Complaint and Petition, and Motion for Summary Judgment.
Introduction to the Evidentiary Predicate
This session covers the rules of evidence and civil procedure. Basic interviewing and investigation techniques and the development and use of demonstrative evidence will also be explained. At the end of the second session, students will prepare discovery matter such as Interrogatories, Requests for Admission, and Requests for Production of Documents.
Identifying Relevant Authority
During this session students will learn how to identify relevant law and determine the differences between primary and secondary authority, and between mandatory and persuasive authority, and learn how to find and apply authority to hypothetical factual situations.
Introduction to Legal Research
Students will learn research techniques for use in legal memoranda, motions, and briefs. Primary and secondary source materials will be discussed, and a concise approach to legal research will be developed.
Legal Research Practice
Legal research skill will be applied in this session with emphasis on shepardizing statutory and case law and learning to use computerized legal search terminals. Numerous research assignments will be given, discussed, and critiqued. The West Key Number System® will be learned thoroughly.
Legal Writing and Appellate Procedure
This session will concentrate on the preparation and critique of legal memoranda, including an Interoffice Memorandum of Law and Appellate Brief. Principles of appellate procedure will also be reviewed. Proper citation format will be covered along with a discussion of job hunting techniques and job leads for those seeking their first employment as paralegals. Please visit http://www.legalstudies.com/syllabi/paralegal_live.html for the course syllabi.
Textbooks: not included in course registration fee. Please visit http://execed.gmu.edu/new_forms/paralegal_textbooks.pdf for more information.
Westlaw: legal research access–fee not included in course registration. Please contact the Center for Legal Studies at 1-800-522-7737 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information and Westlaw pricing.