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CCOG for PL 104 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
PL 104
Course Title:
Investigation Techniques for Paralegals
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores fundamental techniques of legal investigation from the incident scene to the courtroom. Includes ethics, research techniques, investigative strategies, recordkeeping, information sources, witness location, report writing, subpoenas, physical and demonstrative evidence. Prerequisites: PL 101. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Conduct legal investigation compliant with an investigator's personal and professional ethical responsibilities.
  • Implement a system for maintaining voluminous case materials
  • Prepare reports which effectively summarize the results of an investigation process and create a  record of the case.
  • Use appropriate resources and techniques to identify and locate witnesses to an event and evidence to be used for trial or other purposes.  

Course Activities and Design

Course proceeds through lecture, supplemented as appropriate with guest lecturers, video and computer-based materials, class assignments and simulations, and off-site assignments and other activities determined by faculty.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The class grade and assessment is based on exams; written assignments, special projects. 

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

1.0  Ethics

Instructional Goal: to understand and discuss personal and legal ethical questions with emphasis on analyzing legal ethics issues.

2.0 Identification and Memory

Instructional Goal: to acquaint the student with research bearing on identification procedures and accuracy of memory both for practice in assimilating scientific research and for guidance in developing interviewing techniques.

3.0 Record and file keeping practices

Instructional Goal: to provide a simple model system for keeping an investigation file and assorted supporting files.

4.0 Locating witnesses

Instructional Goal: to provide a simple model system for keeping an investigation file and assorted supporting files.

5.0 Interviewing and report writing

Instructional Goal: to discuss interviewing techniques and introduce the major kinds of reports and memoranda legal investigators produce.

6.0 Evidence

Instructional Goal: to familiarize the student with the kinds of evidence and the important considerations involved in presenting each kind.

7.0 Use of Expert Witnesses

Instructional Goal: to acquaint students with the range and kinds of expert witnesses commonly used in court presentations, and to provide resources for locating and evaluating experts.

8.0 The Art of Negotiation

Instructional Goal: to familiarize the student with the role of negotiation in litigation practice, and the role of investigation in preparing for successful negotiation.