What Do Paralegals Study?
One thing that a perspective paralegal needs to know is what they will learn when they go to paralegal school. Most paralegal schools have set classes that everyone will be required to take in order to get the certification or degree, almost all of them require the same topics. So if you are planning to take classes in paralegal studies you will probably take these classes first.
Almost all of the paralegal programs start you out with an introduction to paralegal studies, this class may include an introduction to what paralegals do, where paralegals work, the different vocabulary a paralegal will use and information regarding advanced courses a paralegal may be required to take. This class introduces a paralegal to what will be expected of them and they get the chance to figure out if they have the right stuff for this course.
The next step will probably be a torts class, where you will learn about trespass, defamation, liabilities, and negligence. This course helps you get ready for testing as most certification tests include a large section of tort law.
A big part of a paralegals job is contracts, so this class will ensure that you know what a contract is, what it needs in order to fill it out and what contracts are used for, as well as the law that surrounds the contract laws.
These courses introduce the paralegal to criminal law and how laws and law enforcement as well as the court system come together to try, convict and exonerate defendants in criminal cases. This is one of those subjects that can be a lot of fun for the students, but it is very involved.
Family Law and Juvenile Law
Sometimes family law and Juvenile law will be together as they both are done in family court. However some schools may have them separate. Family law will deal with divorce, child support, and custody. While juvenile law may work primarily with children who have problems such as crimes, failure to attend school and runaways.
Another important part of a paralegals job may deal with Real Estate as there are many different areas of Real Estate that deals with contracts. Real Estate law deals with land, residential, commercial real estate and all the laws associated with it.
This course deals with trials in which some wrong was done to the plaintiff and is not considered to be a criminal offense.
Wills and Trusts
This part of the paralegals job may include helping a live person prepare for their death, this includes creations of wills and trusts to ensure that their families are cared for after the person has passed on.
This course will deal with the constitution and how the law has been created to follow the guidelines originally called for in the constitution.
This course will deal with Corporations and Partnerships, it will deal with business laws that pertain to how these entities are set up, how their contracts are created and many different principles that only pertain to these businesses.
Research and Communications
The most important job for a paralegal is their search techniques as this is their largest job, combined with the ability to communicate those findings to the lawyer you are doing the work for and the court. Courses that cover these subjects give the paralegal the experience to find information quickly and report those findings in an easy to understand way.
Ethics for Paralegals
One thing that paralegals need to concentrate on is working ethically, this means they do what they are supposed to, when they are supposed to. They must remember to keep the private information of clients private, must remember not to “practice law” as this is not their job, they are under the supervision of their lawyers.
When becoming a paralegal, covering the basic education gets the paralegal prepared to work in the legal field. While these classes are required in most programs, they are not the end of the programs. Each state requires continuing education for their paralegals, which means that they may be required to take advanced classes in specific areas of law.