Legal Office Professional

School of Business and Technology

Dean: Mink Stavenga, DBA

Department Chair: Elisabeth Shapiro, Esq. J.D., M.A.L.D.

Office: 470K, (619) 482-6582

School/Department Location: www.swccd.edu/cvlocation

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/C4E3PnKsdU92

General Description

The legal secretary assists attorneys with a wide variety of responsibilities including performing clerical duties; maintaining office files; working closely with attorneys to meet deadlines for court calendars; preparing summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas; and filing documents with the courts. In some law offices, legal secretaries review legal reference books, other legal publications or electronic media to identify court decisions pertinent to pending cases.

Southwestern College offers two excellent programs: Legal Office Professional and Legal Office Professional - Bilingual (English/Spanish). These programs provide students with strong legal secretarial skills and focus on developing excellent human relations skills with an awareness of the growing multicultural community in San Diego County. An added feature is that students have an option of working toward a certificate or degree emphasizing one or more legal specialties, including family law; civil litigation; criminal law; business law; international business law; immigration law; and wills, trusts, and probate. Students that possesses a legal specialty and/or knowledge of a frequently used foreign language will have the greatest opportunities for employment.

Career Options

Below is a sample of the career options available for the legal secretary or the legal secretary major. A few of these require a certificate of achievement and most require an associate in science degree: claims examiner, compensation and benefits manager, corporate legal secretary, court clerk, customs agent, forms and procedures specialist, freelance legal secretary, legal aide, legal technician, title examiner, and entry-level paralegal.

Degree/Certificate Options Major Code
Associate in Science: Career/Technical
Legal Office Professional B2155
Certificates of Achievement
Legal Office Professional: Business Law Specialty A2252
Civil Litigation Specialty A2253
Criminal Law Specialty A2254
Family Law Specialty A2256
Immigration Law Specialty A2257
International Business Law Specialty A2258
Wills, Trusts, and Estates Specialty A2259
Certificate of Proficiency
Legal Office Professional - Basic C2355

Consult with a counselor to develop a Student Education Plan (SEP), which lists the courses necessary to achieve your academic goal.

Faculty

Emily Morissette, Esq J.D.
emorissette@swccd.edu

LEGL 223

LEGAL OFFICE PROCEDURES

2.5 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: BUS 182 or equivalent; RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 2 hours

Offered: FALL

Provides training for students who desire to work as legal office clerks, secretaries, or executive assistants to gain an understanding of legal terminology, legal procedures, the court system, preparation of court documents, and the concepts of civil procedures in various areas of the law operative in California. [D; CSU] (Formerly: BUS 223)

LEGL 225

LAW OFFICE MANAGEMENT

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 1 hour

Offered: ALL

Provides students with an overview of the structure and organization of law firms and function of the legal team. Emphasizes effective law office management techniques and systems, including those for billing, calendaring, case management, file and library management, technology management, attorney-client relations, and ethical concerns. [D; CSU]

LEGL 228

LEGAL TERMINOLOGY

2 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 1 hour

Offered: ALL

Prepares students to work in a legal office, agency, or court setting. Reviews legal terminology commonly used in civil, probate, family, and criminal law pleadings and documentation. [D; CSU] (Formerly: BUS 228)

LEGL 255

INTRODUCTION TO LAW AND LEGAL TERMINOLOGY

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Overview of the American system of government as it relates to our system of law; concepts and terminology in procedures, estates, business, contracts, property, and criminal law; and basic introduction to legal case analysis and the law library. [D; CSU]

LEGL 256

INTERNATIONAL LAW FOR BUSINESS

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: BUS 140 or LEGL 255 or equivalent; RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Provides a basic explanation of the laws governing international trade, licensing, intellectual property, importing, exporting, investment, and economic integration. Emphasizes and analyzes the legal, political, business, and ethical issues regarding international business and litigation. [D; CSU]

LEGL 258

LEGAL COMMUNICATIONS

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 260 or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Preparation of legal reports, client correspondence, motions, case briefs, legal memoranda, and oral communications utilized in a variety of legal contexts. [D; CSU]

LEGL 259

LEGAL ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

1 UNIT

Grade Only

Lecture 1 hour

Offered: ALL

Provides in-depth coverage of all the major areas of legal ethics, placing special emphasis on how the rules affect paralegals. [D; CSU]

LEGL 260

LEGAL RESEARCH

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 255 and 261, or equivalent; BUS 211 or ENGL 114 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College English Assessment or equivalent; RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 1 hour

Offered: ALL

Prepares students in legal research techniques, primarily focusing on traditional text-based techniques with an introduction to online legal database and Internet research. Provides students instruction on how to identify sources of law, to discuss their interrelationships, to define and find primary and secondary authority, to learn how to employ finding tools to analyze information, to formulate legal issues, and to draw conclusions regarding the possible outcomes of legal situations. Introduces the legal writing process. [D; CSU] (Formerly: BUS 260)

LEGL 261

CIVIL LITIGATION I

3 UNITS

Grade Only

Fee: $2

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 228 or LEGL 255 and LEGL 259 or equivalent; RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Introduces civil litigation, starting with parties and jurisdiction. Covers pre-trial, trial, and appeals. Requires students to draft pleadings, motions, and discovery. [D; CSU] (Formerly: BUS 261)

LEGL 262

IMMIGRATION LAW AND PROCEDURE

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 228 or 255 or equivalent; RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Provides an overview on immigration law and procedure, starting with the Immigration Act of 1990 and the Code of Federal Regulations. Summarizes citizenship, admissibility, deportability, admission, and removal processes. Requires students to draft immigration forms. [D; CSU] (Formerly: BUS 262)

LEGL 263

FAMILY LAW

3 UNITS

Grade Only

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 228 or LEGL 255 or equivalent; RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Covers domestic relations, domestic violence, marital dissolution, child custody, child and spousal support, and visitation. Requires students to prepare family court documents. [D; CSU] (Formerly: BUS 263)

LEGL 264

WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ESTATES

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 255 or equivalent; RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Trains paralegals and other legal personnel in the laws and legal procedures for wills, trusts, and probate, as well as the concepts and methodology of estate planning and estate administration. [D;CSU] (Formerly: BUS 264)

LEGL 266

MEDIATION, NEGOTIATION, AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

2 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: RDG 158 or the equivalent skill level as determined by the Southwestern College Reading Assessment or equivalent.

Lecture 2 hours

Offered: ALL

Provides a hands-on introduction to the practice of mediation, negotiation, arbitration, and interest-based conflict resolution. Reviews the formal mediation process and related skills in communication and negotiation for important workplace competencies. [D; CSU]

LEGL 267

INTERVIEWING AND INVESTIGATION FOR PARALEGALS

2 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 255 or 261 or equivalent.

Lecture 2 hours

Offered: ALL

Discusses rules of procedure, evidence, and ethics as a framework for investigating client and case facts, organizing and working with evidence and conducting a professional interview. Includes mock interviews with children and individuals from some of the varied cultures represented in our community. [D; CSU]

LEGL 268

COMPUTER ASSISTED LEGAL RESEARCH (CALR)

2 UNITS

Grade Only

Fee: $3

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 260 or equivalent.

Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 1 hour

Offered: ALL

Trains students to find primary and secondary authority in legal research and to verify accuracy and currency of information by utilizing electronic resources through Lexis Advance and the Internet. Provides practice in locating legal materials, developing online query techniques, and verifying research. [D; CSU]

LEGL 269

CIVIL LITIGATION PROCEDURES

3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 261 or equivalent; knowledge of keyboard and ability to type 25 wpm.

Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 1 hour

Offered: SPRING

Provides an in-depth review of the litigation process at the state and federal levels including pre-trial, trial, and post-trial proceedings. Includes topics on how to fill out forms, draft pleadings and correspondences, and organize files and evidence for trials and appeals. [D; CSU]

LEGL 270

COMPUTER SKILLS FOR LEGAL PROFESSIONALS

2.5 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Fee: $2

Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 2 hours

Offered: SPRING

Helps students in paralegal or related careers. Allows students to gain skills in developing both court and non-court documents on the computer. Reviews word processing skills and preparation of common legal forms and documents including correspondence, pleadings, discovery documents, legal spreadsheets and databases, time and billing, proper emailing, and trial presentation. [D; CSU]

LEGL 271

INTRODUCTION TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

2 UNITS

Grade Only

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 255 and LEGL 259 or equivalent.

Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 1 hour

Offered: ALL

Introduces trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Produces trademarks, copyrights, and parts of a patent. Reviews both domestic and international procedures involved in registration of intellectual property, duration of rights, and protection from infringement. [D; CSU]

LEGL 272

BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

2 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Recommended Preparation: LEGL 255 or BUS 140 or equivalent.

Lecture 2 hours

Offered: ALL

Covers the law and practice of business entities, including sole proprietorships, general and limited partnerships, the limited liability companies, and various types of corporations. Emphasizes the principles of agency, formation and structure of a corporation, and the preparation of documents necessary to form and operate business organizations. [D; CSU]

LEGL 290

LEGAL COOPERATIVE WORK EXPERIENCE I

1-3 UNITS

Grade Only

Recommended Concurrent Enrollment: Enrollment in one other class directly related to the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major in order to apply learned theory in a practical hands-on setting through an internship class.

Corequisite: LEGL 225 (may be taken previously).

Limitation on Enrollment: Declared Paralegal studies or Legal Office Professional major.

Laboratory 16 hours

Offered: ALL

Introduces principles and skills acquired in the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major to on-the-job assignments. One unit of credit is granted for each 60 hours of volunteer or 75 hours of paid work activity. Credit may be accrued at the rate of 1 to 3 units per semester for a total of twelve units. The job supervisor and instructor will evaluate each student's job performance. [D; CSU]

LEGL 291

LEGAL COOPERATIVE WORK EXPERIENCE II

1-3 UNITS

Grade Only

Recommended Concurrent Enrollment: Enrollment in one other class directly related to the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major in order to apply learned theory in a practical hands-on setting through an internship class.

Prerequisite: LEGL 290 or equivalent.

Limitation on Enrollment: Declared Paralegal studies or Legal Office Professional major.

Laboratory 16 hours

Offered: ALL

Applies beginning-level principles and skills acquired in the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major to on-the-job assignments. One unit of credit is granted for each 60 hours of volunteer or 75 hours of paid work activity. Credit may be accrued at the rate of 1 to 3 units per semester for a total of twelve units. The job supervisor and instructor will evaluate each student's job performance. [D; CSU]

LEGL 292

LEGAL COOPERATIVE WORK EXPERIENCE III

1-3 UNITS

Grade Only

Recommended Concurrent Enrollment: Enrollment in one other class directly related to the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major in order to apply learned theory in a practical hands-on setting through an internship class.

Prerequisite: LEGL 291 or equivalent.

Limitation on Enrollment: Declared Paralegal studies or Legal Office Professional major.

Laboratory 16 hours

Offered: ALL

Provides intermediate-level principles and skills acquired in the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major to on-the-job assignments. One unit of credit is granted for each 60 hours of volunteer or 75 hours of paid work activity. Credit may be accrued at the rate of 1 to 3 units per semester for a total of twelve units. The job supervisor and instructor will evaluate each student's job performance. [D; CSU]

LEGL 293

LEGAL COOPERATIVE WORK EXPERIENCE IV

1-3 UNITS

Grade Only

Recommended Concurrent Enrollment: Enrollment in one other class directly related to the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major in order to apply learned theory in a practical hands-on setting through an internship class.

Prerequisite: LEGL 292 or equivalent.

Limitation on Enrollment: Declared Paralegal studies or Legal Office Professional major.

Laboratory 16 hours

Offered: ALL

Covers advanced-level principles and skills acquired in the Paralegal Studies or Legal Office Professional major to on-the-job assignments. One unit of credit is granted for each 60 hours of volunteer or 75 hours of paid work activity. Credit may be accrued at the rate of 1 to 3 units per semester for a total of twelve units. The job supervisor and instructor will evaluate each student's job performance. [D; CSU]

LEGL 299

INDEPENDENT STUDY

1-3 UNITS

Pass/No Pass or Grade is Allowed

Limitation on Enrollment: Eligibility for independent study.

Lecture 3 hours

Offered: ALL

Individual study or research in some area of legal assistant of particular interest to the student and not included in regular courses of the college. [D; CSU]