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Curriculum

The Paralegal Studies major is approved by the American Bar Association. A paralegal, as defined by the American Bar Association, is "a person qualified by education, training, or work experience, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity, and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." The goal of the program is to prepare students for entry-level paralegal positions in the common areas of law practice. Paralegals are nonlawyers, and therefore, are prohibited from the unauthorized practice of law. This program trains paralegals and is not a program for training lawyers or legal administrators. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies are required to submit a paralegal portfolio at an exit interview with the program coordinator prior to degree conferral.

Program Objectives

The objectives of the B.S. in Paralegal Studies program are to:

  1. Provide students with a broad-based education in both liberal arts and paralegal studies;
  2. Provide paralegal courses that enable students to obtain substantive legal knowledge, develop analytical skills, and apply the knowledge they have learned to tasks routinely performed by paralegals;
  3. Be responsive in course offerings to the needs of paralegals and attorneys;
  4. Ensure that students are familiar with the ethical guidelines for paralegals;
  5. Provide students with the opportunity to utilize software that is used in most offices dealing with law-related issues;
  6. Familiarize students with the paralegal profession and the opportunities that are available to them upon completion of the program.

Learning Outcomes

A successful Paralegal Studies graduate is expected to:

  1. Explain the basic theories, doctrines, concepts, and associated principles that comprise the knowledge base of law, with specific emphasis on torts, contracts, wills and trusts, civil procedure, litigation, family law, business organizations, real estate, and criminal law;
  2. Use legal research and critical thinking skills to categorize, organize, prioritize, and evaluate complex legal issues;
  3. Prepare documents (e.g., memos, case briefs, correspondence, and pleadings) that meet professional legal standards.

Curriculum Requirements

LEGS courses offered online require proctored exams at approved sites.

General Education Requirements (30 credits)

Students are required to complete 30 credit hours as part of the General Education Program.

Paralegal Studies Major Requirements (54 credits)

LEGS 1150 - Introduction to Law and the Legal Profession (3 credits)

Topics will include the structure and decisional processes of the American legal system, sources of law, methods of dispute resolution, the roles of the attorney and the legal assistant, legal analysis, interviewing techniques and ethics for legal assistants. This course is not required for those students who have taken LGST 2500. 

LEGS 2100 - Legal Research and Writing I (3 credits)

Students will study primary and secondary sources of law, obtain legal research and writing skills, learn how to use a law library, and obtain computer-assisted legal research training.

LEGS 2200 - Computer Applications for the Legal Profession (3 credits)

Theory and application of programs for computers that are used in the legal profession. Hands-on experience with microcomputers and specialized software utilized by the legal profession. 

LEGS 3050 - Criminal Law and Procedure (3 credits)

This course covers the study of both substantive criminal law and criminal procedure for the paralegal student. Students will learn the elements of major crimes and defenses. Students also will examine the constitutional aspects of criminal procedure, including searches, seizures and arrests; interrogation; the pretrial process; trial; sentencing; and appeal. Prerequisite: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500. 

LEGS 3260 - Real Estate Practice I (3 credits)

Topics will include interests in real property, contracts, deeds, mortgages and other encumbrances, mortgage foreclosures, title searches, title insurance, and leases. Students will prepare closing documents for a residential real estate transaction. Prerequisite: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500 or MGT 2150.

LEGS 3300 - Torts and Civil Litigation (3 credits)

This course covers tort law, including such topics as intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, products liability, defamation, and defense to torts. Students also will examine the civil litigation process, including evidence, the rules of civil procedure, discovery, jury selection, and pre-trial work. Students will prepare pleadings and pre-trial discovery. Prerequisite: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500. 

LEGS 3360 - Wills, Trusts, and Estates I (3 credits)

Topics will include intestacy, wills, trusts, living wills, will substitutes, probate, estate administration, and estate and gift taxes. Students will prepare wills and estate administration documents. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500. 

LEGS 3400 - Business Relations and Organizations (3 credits)

Topics will include contracts (the essential elements, defenses to enforceability, third party beneficiaries, and assignments), the Uniform Commercial Code, sole proprietorships, general and limited partnerships, and corporations. Prerequisite: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500.

LEGS 3550 - Family Law (3 credits)

Topics will include prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, marriage, dissolution, equitable distribution, alimony, shared parental responsibility, child support, property settlement agreements, adoption, and paternity and juvenile law. Prerequisite: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500. 

LEGS 4110 - Legal Research and Writing II (3 credits)

This course will commence with a review of all basic primary and secondary sources. Florida research tools and special topical reference materials will also be covered. Advanced training in computer-assisted legal research will be provided. Legal writing will be emphasized. There will be a variety of written work ranging from everyday correspondence to memoranda of law. Prerequisites: LEGS 2100 or LGST 4000.

LEGS 4270 - Real Estate Practice II (3 credits)

Topics will generally be chosen from among the following: title problems, mortgage foreclosures, landlord-tenants, commercial real estate transactions, condominiums, construction liens, and environmental matters. Prerequisites: LEGS 3260.

LEGS 4310 - Advanced Litigation (3 credits)

This course will commence with a review of all basic primary and secondary sources. Florida research tools and special topical reference materials will also be covered. The following topics under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure will be covered: pleadings, service of process, parties, default, dismissals, discovery in all of its forms, the trial stage, judgments, and post-judgment relief. Students will work on civil cases in several areas of law, where they will apply many of the procedural rules that they have studied. Prerequisites: LEGS 3300.

LEGS 4370 - Wills, Trusts, and Estates II (3 credits)

Topics will generally be chosen from among the following: probate litigation, mechanisms to transfer property, will and trust drafting, homestead, and federal estate and gift tax system, the Florida estate tax, and preparation of federal estate and gift tax returns. Prerequisites: LEGS 3360. 

LEGS 4410 - Corporate Regulation and Change (3 credits)

Topics will include the following: capitalization, debt and equity financing, federal and state securities regulation, mergers, asset and stock acquisitions, reorganizations, and drafting corporate documents. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500; and LEGS 2100 or LGST 4000; and LEGS 3400.

LEGS 4800 - Advanced Practicum in Paralegal Studies (3 credits)

This advanced practicum simulates a law office environment in which students work for senior and junior law partners in a generalized law practice. This experiential approach is designed to integrate and apply substantive law, procedural application and legal computer application drawing on materials in a variety of legal areas including but not limited to civil litigation, real estate, estate planning, family law, legal research, criminal law, contracts and corporate law. Students take this course in the last semester of their paralegal studies curriculum. Prerequisites: LEGS 2100 and LEGS 3050 and LEGS 3210 or LEGS 2200 and LEGS 3260 and LEGS 3300 and LEGS 3360 and LEGS 3400 and LEGS 3550.

Select 9 credits from the following courses, a maximum of 6 credits of which can be in Special Topics courses, and a maximum of 6 credits of which can be in Internship courses:

LEGS 4050 - Advanced Practices in Criminal Law (3 credits)

This course is designed to expand on the knowledge gained in the student's study of Criminal Law. It will review past landmark cases as well as current criminal cases faced by the courts and counsel. The course will evaluate the criminal cases from an historical and Constitutional background to include the rights and procedures when charging a person with a crime, procedural rights and protections at trial, and post-conviction rights. Students will interpret and justify legal arguments from both the prosecution and defense perspective. The course will also identify a variety of Criminal Law issues including: forensic evidence, sentencing, ethics, the death penalty, and recent case law applied in the criminal justice system. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500; and LEGS 2100 or LGST 4000; and LEGS 3050.

LEGS 4060 - Debtor and Creditor Relations (3 credits)

Topics will include the following: the bankruptcy process and alternative remedies; secured parties under the Uniform Commercial Code; judgment liens; locating debtors' property; enforcement of judgments by way of garnishment, attachment, and replevin; and exempt property. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500. 

LEGS 4470 - Emerging Technologies and the Legal Profession (3 credits)

This course covers emerging technologies and their impact on the legal profession. Topics covered will include an overview of the Internet, conducting legal research on the Internet, electronic filing with government agencies and the courts, "non-legal" Web sites with legal-specific applications, using email in law practice, legal trends on the Internet, ethical issues pertaining to emerging technologies, and law as applied to computers and other technology. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500. 

LEGS 4560 - Elder Law (3 credits)

Topics will include the following: incapacity; types of guardians; guardianship practice and procedure; alternatives to guardianships, such as durable powers of attorney, trusts, health care surrogates, and representatives payers; government benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and housing options such as " reverse mortgages," life care contracts, adult congregate living facilities, and nursing homes. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500; and LEGS 2100 or LGST 4000. 

LEGS 4600 - Pleadings and the Courts (3 credits)

This advanced course focuses on the paralegal?s role in discovery procedure and trial practice as it relates to civil and criminal actions through a transactional approach. The course will focus on state rules of civil and criminal procedures in the drafting of legal pleadings required for each area of the law. Students will be involved in preparing materials for a hypothetical trial. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500; and LEGS 2100 or LGST 4000.

LEGS 4700 - Immigration Law (3 credits)

This course provides students with a foundation in the underlying policies and basics of immigration and nationality law. Topics include immigrant and nonimmigrant visa categories, citizenship and nationality, removal proceedings, and asylee and refugee status. Emphasis is placed on applying legal principles to practical situations by working on hypothetical immigration client files, including preparation of forms to be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 and LEGS 2100. 

LEGS 4900 - Special Topics in Paralegal Studies (3 credits)

The subjects covered by this course will generally be chosen from among the following: administrative law; alternative dispute resolution; employment law; health law; immigration law; insurance law; international law; and patents, trademark, and copyright law. Prerequisites: LEGS 1150 or LGST 2500; and LEGS 2100 or LGST 4000.

LEGS 4950 - Internship in Paralegal Studies (3 credits)

A 20-hour per week work experience for 16 weeks in the student's major area of study at an internship site registered with the paralegal studies program as an approved site. Consult academic division for specific details and requirements. Prerequisites: cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, completion of 36 or more credit hours, and permission of paralegal coordinator. Students may take a maximum of two internships, which must be taken at different internship sites. 

The academic program and curriculum requirements listed on this page are from the NSU Undergraduate Student Catalog. Students are bound by policies and curricula published in the catalog in effect the semester they enter the university, unless an agreement is made with appropriate NSU administration officials allowing them to abide by policies published in a later catalog.

View sample 4-Year Academic Plan

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