Paralegal Certificate

The Paralegal Certificate Program provides students with an understanding of the basic areas of law. Many students entering this program are changing careers and returning as non-traditional students. As such, they may not be able to maintain a full-time course load, nor do they need to complete a full degree in Paralegal Studies to obtain a job in a law office. This program also meets the needs of students who are already practicing as paralegals, but their employers would like them to expand their knowledge base. This program will enable paralegal students to earn a certificate in the area of paralegal studies. Students will be required to complete 15 credit hours (5 courses).  Students can who complete this Certificate can continue their studies with an Advanced Civil Practice or Advanced Criminal Practice Certificate.

Required Courses
PL 100Intro to Legal Studies3
PL 205Legal Research and Writing3
Choose One of the Following3
Business Law I
Real Estate Law
Choose One of the Following3
Civil Litigation
Criminal Law
Choose One of the Following3
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Legal Ethics
Total Hours15

Candidates for a Certificate Paralegal Studies are required to complete a minimum of 15 semester credit hours maintaining a 2.0 overall cumulative grade point average.

Courses

PL 100. Intro to Legal Studies. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to educate students in the American legal system focusing on the origins and history of the American legal system, the meaning and application of important legal terminology, and attorney and paralegal ethics.

PL 200. Criminal Law. 3 Hours.

The substantive goal of this course is to cover the basic principles of criminal law, including the common law of crimes as well as the Maine Criminal Code and the Model Penal Code. The methodological role of the course is that of statutory construction - the techniques of applying legislative enactments to varying fact situations in light of text, history, purpose and structural context. All of this will proceed with the underlying assumption that it is always necessary to judge rules of law according to their effectiveness and desirability.

PL 201. Real Estate Law. 3 Hours.

This course presents a systematic study of the basic principles of real property law through explanation, discussion and problem-solving techniques. The course provides a decision-oriented approach to legal concepts, featuring student completion of a complete abstract of title at the Penobscot County Registry of Deeds; real estate forms; and comprehension of relevant Maine statutes.

PL 203. Civil Litigation. 3 Hours.

A survey of civil litigation issues covering the concepts and procedural rules designed to proceed from the initial client interview through trial. The student will gain a basic understanding of federal and Maine procedural rules and substantive law. In addition, the student will learn about the following: types of litigation, negligence cases, collection cases, commercial litigation, preparation of pleadings, discovery and settlements.

PL 204. Introduction to Wills, Estates, and Trusts. 3 Hours.

This course examines the general theory and procedures, legal and administrative, employed in the preparation and handling of wills, trusts, and estates. This course will prepare students to understand the basic concepts in the field and be able to apply these concepts to perform the tasks of a probate paralegal.

PL 205. Legal Research and Writing. 3 Hours.

This course introduces manual legal research including understanding legal citations, primary and secondary authorities, federal and state reporters, Shepardizing, and other research tools. Use of the Penobscot County Law Library is mandatory. Finally, students will explore the basic of legal writing including legal correspondence and legal memoranda. Prerequisite(s): PL 100 or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 299. Topic/. 3 Hours.

This course is intended to provide the opportunity to offer introductory courses in paralegal studies that would not normally be a part of the Husson curriculum. As such the topics will depend upon the interests of students and faculty.

PL 301. Torts. 3 Hours.

Topics may vary from year to year, but will generally include a detailed treatment of defamation and privacy, and the torts relating to the intentional infliction of purely economic loss. Contemporary issues in the law of negligence (i.e. liability in negligence for purely economic loss; actions for wrongful birth and wrongful life); and new applications of the law of trespass, with implications for civil liberties and privacy; for regulating non-consensual medical procedures; and for intervening in abusive domestic relationships. Prerequisite(s): PL 205.

PL 302. Family Law. 3 Hours.

Family law covers all major subjects from marriage, divorce, child procreation and support, and child abuse and neglect. Our study includes a look at the economics of marriage and divorce, as well as some of the most cutting edge social and even scientific issues in the news. The main purpose of this course is to introduce major terms, topics, and issues. Prerequisite(s): PL 205 or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 303. Alternative Dispute Resolution. 3 Hours.

This course is designed in response to an area of the law that is growing, and offers students practical instruction to assist in their future job placements. The course treats the full range of modern dispute resolution from inaction through mediation, arbitration, litigation and private judging. Looking at the full range of conflict resolution options, class inquiry will focus on the selection of the appropriate resolution process for a given case. Class discussions and problem solving will follow a concept-example, concept problem, and concept example-problem format. Prerequisite(s): PL 100 or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 304. Alternative Dispute Resolution II. 3 Hours.

This course is a continuation of PL 303 which is designed in response to an area of the law that is growing, and offers students practical instruction to assist in their future job placements. The course explores in more depth the full range of modern dispute resolution with a focus on conflict resolution skills, including mediation. Class discussions and problem solving will follow a concept-example, concept problem, and concept examples-problem format. Prerequisite(s): PL 303.

PL 305. Legal Ethics. 3 Hours.

This course will cover the nature of the ethical responsibilities of a paralegal working in a law office, as well as the limits on independent practice. It will cover the Maine Code of Professional Responsibility as well as the ABA Model Rules and Code. Prerequisite(s): PL 100 or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 309. Constitutional Law. 3 Hours.

This course will explore the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution through reading of case law and real life examples. Students will understand the arguments that exist for persons involved in civil and criminal matters from the Constitution. Prerequisite(s): PL 200.

PL 400. Evidence. 3 Hours.

This course will present the basic principles of the law of evidence as expressed in the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Maine Rules of Evidence. The student will develop the ability to read and apply a rule of evidence to specific information and circumstances. An emphasis will be placed on learning how the Federal & Maine Rules of Evidence effect trial preparation, negotiation, and trial. Participatory role play and discussion of hypothetical situations will constitute a significant part of the learning experience. Prerequisite(s): Major=AS Paralegal or Major=BS Paralegal or Major=AS Criminal Justice or Major=BS Criminal Justice or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 401. Domestic Violence Law. 3 Hours.

This course introduces domestic violence law from an interdisciplinary perspective and offers a contemporary view of the criminal justice and paralegal experience with diverse forms of violence and populations. Comprehensive inclusion of violence perpetrated in a variety of gender and age relationships; dating violence; sibling abuse; rape and incest; child and elder abuse and neglect; male battering; lesbian and gay violence; and violence against women. Prerequisite(s): CJ 101 or PL 100 or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 403. Advanced Legal Writing. 3 Hours.

Cultivating analytical research and writing skills through problem-based learning is the aim of this course. Actual factual situations will be used to hone skills such as : identification of legal issues; research strategy and methodology formulation; use of relevant secondary sources; integration of print sources with non-print sources (electronic databases, CD-ROMs and the Internet); analyzing and synthesizing primary sources that are applicable; critical thinking applications; and writing clearly, concisely, logically and effectively. Skill development in these areas will assist students in their academic course work and prepare them for their professional careers. Prerequisite(s): PL 205 or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 404. Civil Litigation II. 3 Hours.

The objective of the course is to familiarize the student with Discovery and Trial preparation, identifying legal elements of a case, Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Evidence, interviewing witnesses, obtaining evidence, Interrogatories, depositions, medical records and organizing evidence for trial, all with an emphasis on Maine Law. Prerequisite(s): PL 203.

PL 405. Workers Compensation. 3 Hours.

Study of the nature, development and exclusive nature of worker compensation and concepts. Topics include: arising out of employment, personal injury by accident, disease, employment status, specific inclusions or exemptions, benefits, employee and employer misconduct, third party action, adjective law, conflict of laws, insurance, and relation to other kinds of wage-loss protection. Prerequisite(s): PL 205 and PL 203.

PL 407. Legal Studies Capstone. 3 Hours.

This capstone course provides students with an opportunity to engage in advanced analysis, research and writing projects, integrating prior course work and further developing paralegal skills. Students will prepare a portfolio of documents, essays and projects that demonstrate core competencies. Job search strategies and continuing education opportunities will be discussed. Students will prepare for and complete a comprehensive, substantive assessment after review of various content areas. Prerequisite(s): (PL 100 or Major=BS English - Prelaw) and PL 203 and PL 205.

PL 498. Paralegal Internship. 3-9 Hours.

This course will require a student to serve as an intern with a professional in a work setting that requires and develops both legal knowledge and approaches to problem identification, analysis, and critical thinking. The student will be evaluated by both the internship supervisor and the professional from the work setting. The student is required to be in the work setting for at least 120 hours during the semester. This internship provides students with a unique way to gain real life experience in the legal arena in combination with acquiring course credit. Prerequisite(s): ((PL 100 and PL 200 and PL 203 and PL 204 and PL 205) and ( College Level=Junior or College Level=Senior)) or Major=BS English - Prelaw.

PL 499. Topic/. 3 Hours.

This course is intended to provide the opportunity to offer advanced courses in paralegal studies that would not normally be a part of the Husson curriculum. As such the topics will depend upon the interests of students and faculty.