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John Jay College Paralegal Program

John Jay College Paralegal Program - The Paralegal Certificate Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a rigorous educational experience focusing on the practical skills needed to succeed as a paralegal. It includes legal fundamentals and core paralegal skills as well as substantive topics of law, such as torts and criminal law. By completing the program, our certificate holders have passed comprehensive exams covering a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills.

Following is a list of many of the skills and areas of knowledge in which John Jay Paralegal students are trained. No other program offers a more thorough paralegal education that this Paralegal Program offers! We are able to accomplish this because we concentrate on Paralegal skills only! But don't take our word for it.

Review the course subject matter listed, and compare with other paralegal programs. We want you to make an informed decision on your paralegal education. We think you'll find that no other program offers the broad training provided by John Jay College of Criminal Justice!

Introduction to the Legal Field
Students will learn what kind of job opportunities exist and what tasks a paralegal may perform.

Legal Terminology
By presenting an actual legal matter and following it throughout the legal process, students are introduced to most relevant legal terms. The case presented is tracked through both the civil and criminal court procedures.

Tort Law
Students will be taught to identify various causes of action in civil litigation, including intentional and negligent causes of action, as well as potential defenses to those actions

Criminal Law
This class will provide students with a foundation in the criminal process and will emphasize the importance of proper procedure.

Real Property Law
Students will learn the various kinds of transactions involved in real property law, from leases to sales, and will be taught practical skills for use in support of a supervising attorney.

Business Law
The class will discuss various business and corporate entities, including required filings and document preparation.

Contract Law
Students will learn the fundamental structure and elements required to construct valid contracts.

Legal Technology
Cutting edge on line legal research, document storage, document preparation, and electronic filing and discovery will be discussed.

Legal Analysis
It is critical for a paralegal to understand the process and structure of proper legal analysis. Students will develop the skills to analyze both case law and statutory authority.

Legal Memorandum Form
After learning the analytical process, students will analyze provided cases and statutes to prepare internal and external memoranda.

State Specific Instruction
Local and state trial and appellate courts specific to the student's jurisdiction will be discussed. In addition, students will be provided with information related to researching the law within their own state!

Federal Court Structure
Students will be instructed in the basic differences between state and federal jurisdiction, as well the federal jurisdictions for the class.

Stages of Litigation
To fully understand the litigation process, and the role a paralegal plays, it is helpful to understand the three stages of the litigation process, and the functions a paralegal may perform during each stage.

Government Structure
Each branch of government uses various forms of law. It is therefore important for a good paralegal to understand the structure of government and the laws that apply to each branch.

Ethical Considerations
Since a violation of an ethical rule may affect the supervising attorney as well as the paralegal, it is critical that students be familiar with the Rules of Ethics, and be taught to maintain a high ethical standard.

Index Research
The foundation of all legal research is the ability to use indexes. From the concept of “cartwheeling” to the basic “hierarchical structure” of legal indexes, students will learn to efficiently utilize these fundamental research tools.

Court Rules
Court rules are the procedural requirements for trials. Students are not simply taught the most often relied upon court rules, but are taught the skills necessary to finding any rule for specific procedural questions.

Discovery Preparation
Students will be taught form utilization, and will create sets of Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Request for Production and Inspection of Documents. Students will be provided with templates, just as they would within a law firm environment.

Discovery Coordination
The discovery process is one of the most important aspects of a paralegal’s involvement in the litigation process. Discovery is the method of parties disclosing information relevant to the litigation to each other. Students will learn the rules relevant to discovery.

Pleading Preparation
Pleadings are documents filed with the court asking the court to take a specific action. Students will study pleadings, and will prepare a complaint (with a summons) and an answer.

Utilization of Legal Forms
In a real law office environment, a paralegal would almost never prepare document from scratch, but would rely on previously existing forms and templates. In this class, students will learn to manipulate templates and utilize formbooks to become more effective and efficient paralegals.

Preparing for Depositions
A deposition is the oral questioning of a witness under oath, usually outside a courtroom. Students will learn the considerations
for a deposition setup.

Deposition Digesting
Students will be provided with a deposition transcript, and will be taught to summarize that document, and important paralegal skill.

Deposition Indexing
Students will learn what a deposition index is, and will discuss its utilization.

The Arbitration Process
Arbitration is the pretrial process that encourages parties to avoid trial. The class will discuss how the arbitration system works.

Application of Hearsay Rule and Rule Elementization
The Hearsay Rule will be discussed, and students will utilize the developed skill of rule elementization to properly analyze and apply the rule to factual situations.

Interviewing clients
There are specific techniques that should be considered when interviewing a client. Those techniques, as well as general interviewing skills, will be discussed.

Law Office Investigation
Skip tracing involves locating a missing person. Witnesses may be interviewed by the paralegal. Formal or informal statements may be taken of witnesses. All of the above are elements of law office investigation. Students will learn techniques of in-office and out-of-office investigation.

Interviewing witnesses
When interviewing witnesses, a paralegal has an obligation to pursue the client’s interests. This can involve both ethical and strategic minefields. Students will be trained how to handle such situations, and will prepare interview questions for a witness.

Interviewing clients
There are specific techniques that should be considered when interviewing a client. Those techniques, as well as general interviewing skills, will be discussed.

Law Office Investigation
Skip tracing involves locating a missing person. Witnesses may be interviewed by the paralegal. Formal or informal statements may be taken of witnesses. All of the above are elements of law office investigation. Students will learn techniques of in-office and out-of-office investigation.

Interviewing witnesses
When interviewing witnesses, a paralegal has an obligation to pursue the client’s interests. This can involve both ethical and strategic minefields. Students will be trained how to handle such situations, and will prepare interview questions for a witness.

Blue Book Citation Form
A citation is an address to a legal document. “Blue Book” is the most widely accepted form of citation. Paralegals should be thoroughly trained in citation form. It is one of the fundamental skills of a good paralegal.

Informal Advocacy
Advocacy is the process of acting on behalf of another’s interests. As a paralegal, being able to obtain information through informal techniques is an invaluable skill.

Authority Identification
Authority is anything a court can use to reach its decision. There are many kinds of authority. The class will learn to identify primary, secondary, mandatory, persuasive, and non-authority.

Strategies for Employment
Multiple strategies for seeking employment will be discussed, including traditional and non-traditional methods.

Resume Preparation
There are specific, unique considerations to preparing a resume for consideration by a law firm. Students will have the option of preparing a resume for evaluation, and may also post that resume on the website for potential employers to download!

Legal Research Skills
Legal research is the cutting edge for today’s paralegals. No program offers a more comprehensive education in legal research. By using hands-on, interactive training devices, students will learn proper law library Utilization, how to locate primary authority, how to use secondary sources, how to update research sources, and how to utilize specific legal materials, including American Law Reports, American Jurisprudence, 2d, Corpus Juris Secundum, West Digests, Words & Phrases, Am. Jur. Proof of Facts, formbooks, treatise research, legal periodicals, Shepard's, and state and federal statutory research. Students will also be trained in the use of the two most important legal research systems, The Key Number System by West Publishing Company and the Total Client Service Library by Lawyer’s Cooperative Publishing Company.

On Line Legal Research Skills
Due to the relationship between the John Jay Paralegal Studies Program and LexisNexis, enrolled students will be trained in and have access to LexisNexis On Line Legal Research for approximately one year.