ABA Approved Paralegal Studies Program Lone Star College

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1 ABA Approved Paralegal Studies Program Lone Star College

2 To the Prospective Paralegal Student: We have compiled these materials to assist you in your decision to attend Lone Star College-North Harris ABA-Approved Paralegal Studies Program. We have tried to be as complete as humanly possible, but if we have missed something, please give us a call or send us an ! The first thing you want to do is apply to the college for admission. There is no special application for the program itself. Just apply to the college and sign up for classes. Order your transcripts to be sent to Admissions. Get advising to see about testing. DECLARE YOUR PARALEGAL MAJOR! This is vitally important! Sign up for classes Be sure you take 1307 Intro to Law and 1303 Legal Research either FIRST or CONCURRENTLY with other first semester classes. You MUST have these two classes as prerequisites for the other classes in order to succeed. Never try to take 1345 Litigation Procedures without taking the other two classes first. It is certain to cause failure. Ask Prof Delesandri to sign you up on the Paralegal Listserv so you get all the program news We do not know anything about Tuition or Financial Aid in our department. Our college has separate departments for those things. See other materials in this packet for those phone numbers. However, we have compiled some rough tuition information here below that is accurate for 2014: In- District Out of International District or Out of State Certificate $2056 $4506 $5818 AAS $3898 $8098 $9043 The above numbers reflect tuition only. You will also have fees and books to consider. To see if you live in-district, please consult the Lone Star College website at Yes, we have Internships. You must complete 15 hours before being able to sign up for one. An internship may be done in place of one of the electives. Internships are 20 hours a week for an entire long semester (16 weeks) and they are unpaid. Begin the process by filling out an Internship Questionnaire and giving it to Prof. Delesandri. We find you the internship unless you already have one. We do not GUARANTEE placement. However, our graduate placement rate is well over 90%. We will teach you how to look for a job in the Houston area and you will have to do the hard work. There is nothing magical about the paralegal profession as far as getting your first entrylevel job is concerned. It takes the same amount of work and dedication as any other career. But once you have a job in this profession, you are usually set for life! While you are in the program, your paralegal advisor will be Professor Delesandri. I am the one to determine whether other classes may be substituted for a prescribed class, etc. However, if you want transferability advice to go on to a 4 year university, you may want to go to see a college advisor. Students lacking the minimum of an Associates Degree shall enter the Associates Degree Paralegal Studies Program All students should declare appropriate paralegal major and begin with a minimum 1307 Intro to Law and 1303 Legal Research No student should be allowed into 1345 Litigation Procedures without the proper pre-requisite ( 1307 Intro to Law). Without Intro, they will fail.

3 Four classes MUST be taken on campus in a classroom. These classes are 1307, 1303, 2370, and All the other classes are only available online. The Paralegal Studies Program at LSC-NH is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Criminal Justice classes are not the same as Paralegal courses and may not be used for substitution. There is no licensing or regulation of paralegals in the State of Texas. However, most employers will not hire a paralegal who does not have either a degree or certificate in Paralegal Studies. POFL courses are not a part of the Paralegal Studies program and cannot substitute for them. Paralegals must work under the direct supervision of an attorney, and may not deliver legal advice or legal services directly to the public. To do so is crime called Unauthorized Practice of Law. That means they may not open legal document preparation services that service the public. The term legal assistant has evolved to mean an entry-level paralegal, or legal secretary. After completion of either the Associates Degree or Certificate in Paralegal Studies, you will be qualified to enter a job as a paralegal. Only the Director of the Paralegal Studies Program may complete course substitutions for a student. No waivers of any kind will be given for any course. Students are welcomed and encouraged to seek advising from the Paralegal Studies department. Please call Professor Marcy Delesandri at or for an appointment. Or call Assistant Professor Jeff Watts at or We have an articulation agreement with University of Houston Downtown, which also has classes at our Woodlands location. Ask about their Interdisciplinary Degree. They will transfer your paralegal classes. Not all 4 year colleges and universities will do this. I understand that many of you will want to go on to finish your bachelor s and go on to law school. But please don t overlook the paralegal profession as a career. You can make more money than most lawyers, and your career will be just as satisfying. Think about it. Professor Marcy Delesandri Director of Paralegal Studies Lone Star College-North Harris 2700 W W Thorne, A-133 H Houston, TX FAX:

4 ABA Approved Paralegal Program Paralegal Studies AAS Checklist Total Credit Hours for Program: 61 Date Started Program Date Completed Program Course # Course Name Credit Hours FIRST YEAR First Semester Date Started Date Completed Grade BUSI 2301 Business Law 3 MATH 1332 Math for Liberal Arts 3 ENGL 1301 Composition & Rhetoric I 3 ITSC 1401 Introduction to Computers Intro. To Law & Legal Professions 3 Second Semester ACNT 1303 Introduction to Accounting 3 Elective 1 Humanities/Fine Arts 3 Elective 2 General Education 3 GOVT 2305 Federal Government Legal Research 3 1 Humanities course requirement must be selected from this list: ENGL 2332, 2333; HUMA 1301, 1302; PHIL 1304; FREN 2311, 2312; GERM 2311, 2312; SPAN 231, These courses also meet the multicultural requirement. 2 Select from the general education requirements.

5 (Paralegal Studies AAS Checklist, cont.) Course # Course Name Credit Hours SECOND YEAR First Semester Date Started Date Completed Grade KINE Physical activity Legal Ethics & Prof. 2 Responsibility 1345 Civil Litigation Rules of Civil Procedure Torts & Personal Injury Law 3 ITSW 1301 Intro. To Word Processing 3 Second Semester 1171 Preparing for Legal 1 Employment 2305 Interviewing & Investigating Adv. Legal Research & 3 Writing 4 Elective Internship Paralegal OR 3 4 Elective SPCH 1315 Public Speaking 3 3 Capstone course 4 : 1323, 1341, 1343, 1349, 1353, 1355, 1359, 1371, 2301, 2309, 2311, 2313, 2315 (LG: 1/25/13)

6 Paralegal Studies Advanced Technical Certificate Checklist Total Credit Hours for Program: Date Started Program Date Completed Program Course # Course Name Credit Hours FIRST YEAR First Semester ITSW 1301 Introduction to Word Processing Date Started Date Completed Grade OR 3-4 ITSC 1401 Introduction to Computers 1219 Legal Ethics & Prof. Responsibility Legal Research Intro. To Law & Legal Professions Torts & Personal Injury Law Rules of Civil Procedure 3 Second Semester ACNT 1303 Introduction to Accounting Civil Litigation Interviewing & Investigating Adv. Legal Research & Writing 3 2 Elective Internship Paralegal 2 Elective OR 3 1 Capstone course 2 : 1317, 1323, 1341, 1343, 1349, 1353, 1355, 1359, 1371, 2301, 2309, 2311, 2313, 2315 (LG: 1/25/13)

7 COURSE DESCRIPTION: PREPARING FOR LEGAL EMPLOYEMENT LEGAL ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY LEGAL RESEARCH INTRODUCTION TO LAW AND LEGAL PROFESSIONS LAW OFFICE TECHNOLOGY EMPLOYMENT LAW ADMINISTRATIVE LAW 1 CREDIT (1 hr.lec) 2 CREDITS (2hrs.lec) This course prepares the paralegal student in the specific job finding skills necessary for the legal environment. This course covers the moral and legal responsibilities and duties that a member of the legal profession owes to the public, the court, clients, and other professional colleagues. Includes a review of canons, codes and rules of professional responsibility. Law library techniques and computer assisted legal research. This course provides an overview of the law and the legal professions. Topics include legal concepts, systems, and terminology; ethical obligations and regulations; professional trends and issues with particular emphasis on the paralegal. Computer technology and soft-ware applications within the law office. fundamental concepts of, and the paralegal s role in, employment and labor law. Topics include contracts of employment, governmental regulations, discrimination issues, and worker s compensation fundamental concepts of administrative law and course (ENGL1301) OR ; Co-requisite: 2305

8 BANKRUPTCY LAW CIVIL LITIGATION CONSTITUTIONAL LAW WILLS, TRUSTS AND PROBATE ADMINISTRATION FAMILY LAW procedure in governmental agencies at all levels with emphasis on the paralegal s role in the administrative process. Topics include creation of government agencies, operation, rulemaking and adjudication. fundamental concepts of bankruptcy law and procedure with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include individual and business liquidation and reorganization. fundamental concepts and procedures of civil litigation with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include pretrial, trial and post-trial phases of litigation. This course provides an overview of the United States Constitution and its articles, amendments, and judicial interpretations. Topics include separation of powers, check and balances, governmental structures and process, and individual rights in relation to government. fundamental concepts of the law of wills, trust, and probate administration with emphasis on the paralegal s role. fundamental concepts of family law with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include formal and informal marriages, divorce, annulment, marital property, and the parent-child relationship.

9 IMMIGRATION LAW INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ENVIRONMENTAL LAW TORTS AND PERSONAL INJURY LAW INTERVIEWING AND INVESTIGATING REAL PROPERTY fundamental concepts of immigration law with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include substantive and procedural law related to visa applications, deportation, naturalization, and citizenship. Intellectual property is the study of patents, copyrights and trademarks. This course will prepare the paralegal student to assist in the preparation of filing of trademarks, patents and copyrights, as well as the maintenance and research related to this field. fundamental concepts of environmental law with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include terminology, creation of environmental law, and the application of statutes and government regulations to specific fact situations. fundamental concepts of tort law with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include intentional torts, negligence and strict liability. This course is a study of principles, methods, and investigative techniques used to locate, gather, document, and manage information. Emphasis on developing interviewing and investigative skills fundamental concepts of real property law with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include the nature of real property, rights and duties of ownership, land use, voluntary and

10 BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE OIL AND GAS LAW ADVANCED LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITING RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE INTERNSHIP PARALEGAL/LEGAL ASSISTANT (18 hrs.ext) involuntary conveyances, and the recording of and searching for real estate documents. basic concepts of business organizations with emphasis on the paralegal s role. Topics include law of agency, sole proprietorships, forms of partnerships, corporations, and other emerging business entities. This course introduces the criminal justice system including procedures from arrest to final disposition, principles of federal and state law, and the preparation of pleadings and motions. the fundamental concepts of oil and gas law, including relationships between landowners and oil and gas operators, government regulation, and documents used in the industry with an emphasis on the paralegal s role. This course builds upon skills acquired in prior legal research and writing courses including computerized research techniques and preparation of complex legal documents such as briefs, legal office memoranda, and citation forms. An in-depth study of both state and federal rules of civil procedure. Designed to make the paralegal student extremely knowledgeable in locating the proper rules in either jurisdiction. The internship is a workbased learning experience that enables the student to apply specialized Prerequisites: 1303 and completion of 12 credits; ENGL 0305 or ENGL 0365 AND ENGL 0307 or ENGL 0375 OR higher level course (ENGL 1301) OR Prerequisites: 15 credits, Enrollment in paralegal AAS or certificate program,

11 occupational theory, skills and concepts. A learning plan is developed by the college, the student and the employer. approval of instructor; ENGL 0305 or ENGL 0365 AND ENGL 0307 or ENGL 0375 OR higher level course (ENGL 1301) OR

12 LONES STAR COLLEGE-NORTH HARRIS ABA APPROVRD PARALEGAL STUDIES PROGRAM FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What is the difference between a legal assistant and a paralegal? Years ago, there was no difference. The terms were interchangeable and their usage was generally determined by common custom or practice in a geographical area. Now, however, a trend is beginning where the term legal assistant is being used more for assistants to paralegals, or for legal secretaries. Therefore, all the major paralegal associations and educational programs have changed their names to Paralegal. What does a paralegal do? The short answer to this is "anything an attorney does except give legal advice or argue before the bar." Paralegals are trained to assist the attorney in all aspects of the law. The paralegal drafts documents and pleadings, does legal and factual research and investigation, acts as liaison between the firm and the client, analyzes and summarizes documents and compiles reports, attends and assists at depositions, hearings, and trial, organizes, develops, and maintains case management and file systems, and files documents with the court. The role of the paralegal does vary with the individuality of the lawyer who employs the paralegal. A paralegal who works in a small, generalist practice can expect to have more varied duties, including some secretarial responsibilities in many cases. Paralegals who work for larger firms generally specialize in one area of the law and have more specific job descriptions. How much money does a paralegal make annually? This, of course, varies greatly according to geographic areas. In the Greater Houston area, for example, the higher salaries are generally found in the downtown area, which is highly competitive. A beginning paralegal can expect to start upwards of $30,000 a year, but the attorneys in the suburbs generally pay a much lower salary. Once a paralegal begins to gain experience, salaries rise steadily on an annual basis. At the other end of the spectrum, very experienced paralegals in large metropolitan areas can easily earn more than $90,000 annually. Working for a small law firm in a suburban area brings far less in salary. What is the difference between a paralegal and a legal secretary? The biggest difference is in the priority of job responsibilities. Expectedly, a legal secretary's first responsibility is answering the phone of the attorney. The second priority is typing. Both of these jobs make it necessary for the legal secretary to keep regular office hours and stay seated at a desk as much as possible during the day. A paralegal, however, in most cases, has secretarial support, and does work much the

13 same way as an attorney, which often calls for the paralegal to be out of the office or even traveling. How long does your program take? That will depend on you. Our program is made up of college-credit courses. Full time students generally take credit hours per semester. The paralegal certificate program is available to students who have already obtained the equivalency of a two or four year college degree in any subject. The certificate program can be completed in two-full time semesters, or 32 weeks. Students who do not already possess either a two year or four year college degree will enter the two year AAS degree program which will take four full time semesters to complete. Of course, if you are not able to attend classes on a full time basis, the length of time it takes you to complete the program will vary according to how many classes you are able to take each semester. A semester by semester breakdown of the required classes for both the certificate and the AAS degree plan are found on Lone Star College-North Harris website. What time of day are your classes offered? Lone Star College-North Harris offers classes in two formats: There are four classes which MUST be taken in the classroom: 1307 Intro to Law 1303 Legal Research 2370 Rules of Civil Procedure 2331 Advanced Legal Research and Writing The above classes are offered at night every semester and some day classes. Each class meets one night a week for 3 hours. Day classes meet twice a week for 1.1/2 hours each. The rest of our classes are online. Please bear in mind that while 2303 and 1307 are offered at night in the classroom, you may not take other classes without taking these classes first, or concurrently with other courses that ask for these courses as a prerequisite. After I graduate from your program, will I be certified to be a paralegal? Is there a test I take to become licensed? After graduation, you will be either a degreed paralegal or a paralegal, depending on your course of study. Employers, who advertise in the paper for a "certified" legal assistant, are really looking for a "certificated" legal assistant, or one who has graduated from a paralegal program and earned a certificate or degree. There is no licensing or regulation of legal assistants by any government or bar authority in any state or on a national basis at this time. There is considerable discussion among bar associations and legal assistant associations about the inevitability of instituting such regulation. The best way to be prepared for the implementation of licensing or regulation is to graduate from a respected legal assistant program with a degree or certificate, which is certain to be part of the criteria for licensing in the future.

14 I have heard about an exam called the CLA. Will I be qualified to take that exam when I graduate, and what will it mean if I pass the exam? There are several national paralegal associations, one of which is called NALA, which stands for National Association of Legal Assistants. NALA offers a voluntary test called the Certified Legal Assistant exam. Once a paralegal passes this exam, the initials CLA are placed behind the legal assistant's name. As a graduate from our program, you will be qualified to take this exam if you so choose. To do so is strictly voluntary, and the student should be aware that becoming a CLA will not necessarily give that student an edge in employment opportunities or garner a larger salary. Most employers are not entirely familiar with the CLA exam, and many, many qualified and experienced legal assistants have enjoyed extremely successful careers without choosing to take the exam. The CLA exam is a two-day test and costs several hundred dollars. Is your paralegal course ABA approved? Yes, Lone Star College North Harris s Paralegal Studies Program is ABA Approved. I started college classes many years ago, but changed my mind about my major and did not graduate. Can I use any of those classes to fulfill the requirements for the paralegal program? Certainly, as long as those classes were taken at an accredited college and the course content is the same as that which is required under our program. For example, your Psychology 101 class will be accepted here for the Psychology requirement. Many of the classes you took may also be able to be used to fulfill elective requirements. We will be happy to look at your transcripts and help you to develop a degree plan where these courses are applied to your degree. I see that none of the courses for your program are offered at the other campuses in your college district. Why is that? According to the ABA guidelines for paralegal programs, certain types of resources and support must be available to properly teach the courses. The North Harris campus is the only campus in the system which has full time legal professors on faculty and a full law library which meets the ABA standards. We feel that the North Harris College campus offers students their best opportunity for complete resources and support in the paralegal program. Who do I contact for more information on your program? Please call Marcy Delesandri (281) or her at: Or Jeff Watts (281) or him at:

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