Online Courses for Aspiring Legal Assistants
Below are a few online courses in legal assisting commonly offered by colleges and universities.
- Introduction to the Legal System and Legal Assistantship Course: This online course provides students with an overview of the American legal system, court structure and litigation process. Legal terminology, evidence rules, interviewing skills and legal analysis are discussed. Students learn about the differences between substantive laws, which apply to the people, and procedural laws that apply to the courts. Law office administration may also be covered.
- Legal Research and Writing Course: Students explore the various types of legal documents and learn to draft them in this online class. Coursework covers pleadings, motions, orders and depositions as well as an overview of court procedures and timing. Students learn to use a variety of online and book-based legal research tools. The course also offers guidance on the analysis of legal precedents and documents.
- Professional and Ethical Responsibility Course: This course discusses the ethical responsibilities and regulations governing paralegals. Students examine confidentiality, attorney-client privilege, advertising, malpractice and conflicts of interest. The course highlights both theoretical and practical applications of ethical and professional responsibilities.
- Contracts Course: In this class, students learn how to form legally binding contracts. They acquire contract drafting, analysis and litigation skills while learning to identify potential contractual issues. Contract performance, consideration, offer and acceptance, remedies and breach are covered. Some courses include the study of laws governing the sale of goods and the Uniform Commercial Code.
- Civil Litigation Course: In this course, students study civil litigation and the legal assistant's responsibilities. Coursework explores the different phases of the discovery process along with legal statutes and courts.
- Family Law Course: In this course, students learn about the fundamentals of family law. They develop the legal drafting and client interviewing skills that they will need as assistants in family law firms or departments.
- Law Office Procedures Course: This course introduces students to the standard operations of private law firms so they know what to expect when they get a job as a legal assistant. Topics of study include personnel responsibilities, management systems, timekeeping and billing procedures, word processing, file organization, accounting systems and case management, among others.
- NALA Exam Preparation Course: This course is intended for students who want to earn professional certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It prepares aspiring paralegals specifically for NALA's Certified Paralegal Examination.
Legal assistant courses train students to work in legal offices assisting lawyers by preparing documents, gathering information and performing other tasks. In addition to general paralegal duties, some courses cover specialty topics, such as real estate, contracts or criminal law. Most online courses lead to a degree in legal assisting or paralegal studies at the associate's or bachelor's level; shorter programs exist at the certificate level for those who already have a degree. Some online courses are also available that provide preparation for voluntary certification exams.
Aspiring legal assistants can get valuable career training through online courses that introduce them to fundamental legal concepts and law firm practices.