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CCOG for PL 107 Winter 2022

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Course Number:
PL 107
Course Title:
Interviewing and Investigating
Credit Hours:
3
Lecture Hours:
30
Lecture/Lab Hours:
0
Lab Hours:
0

Course Description

Introduces the legal context for factual investigation and develops skills in investigation planning, fact gathering and analysis, and communicating facts found. Emphasizes client and witness interviewing techniques. Includes simulated interviews. Prerequisites: WR 121. Prerequisites/concurrent: PL 101. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Designed for students early in their Paralegal curriculum, introduces legal context of fact investigation, including ethical issues. This course provides students with the opportunity to practice factual analysis, planning, interpersonal communication skills, and written communication skills.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Plan and conduct client and witness interviews.
  2. Use effective communication techniques and styles to enhance the interview process.
  3. Apply fundamental legal ethics concepts that arise in client and witness contacts.
  4. Utilize professional resources for paralegals in planning and conducting interviews.
  5. Record and communicate results of investigations and interviews.

Course Activities and Design

Flexible dependent on needs of student population and preferred teaching style of instructor, but may include reading assignments; videos; lectures; guest speakers; small group projects and discussions; tests; and simulations.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include: written assignments; small group projects; observations of student interviews; examinations; and other projects.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts & Issues

The primacy of facts in the US legal system.

The relationship between law and facts.

Factual analysis as a process.

Ethics, professional responsibility and liability related to client and witness contact.

Pre-litigation investigation.

Formal discovery.

Rules of evidence.

Sources of information in legal investigation.

Written, verbal and non-verbal communication.

Traits of effective investigators.

Planning for investigation.

Locating witnesses.

Competencies & Skills

  1. Plan and prepare for client and witness interviews.
  2. Use effective communication techniques and styles to enhance the interview process.
  3. Apply fundamental legal ethics concepts that arise in client and witness contacts.
  4. Utilize professional resources for paralegals in planning and conducting interviews.
  5. Record and communicate results of investigations and interviews.

Approved Texts

Choice of texts is at the discretion of each course instructor, but instructors are encouraged to reduce or eliminate textbook costs.

Related Instruction

Communication
Hours: 10

  • Plan and conduct client and witness interviews
  • Use effective communication and psychological techniques and styles to enhance interview process
  • Apply and communicate fundamental legal ethical concepts that arise in client and witness contacts
  • Utilize professional resources for paralegals in planning and conducting interviews
  • Record and communicate results of investigations and interviews

Activities and work includes:

  • Drafting office memorandum;
  • drafting business letter;
  • drafting and revising an investigation plan;
  • drafting interview outlines;
  • role playing;
  • mock interview of clients;
  • mock interviews of witnesses;
  • observing student interviews and providing feedback;
  • assigned readings and discussion of textbook readings and problems.

Human Relations
Hours: 20

  • Plan and conduct client and witness interviews
  • Use effective communication techniques and styles to enhance interview process
  • Apply fundamental legal ethical concepts that arise in client and witness contacts, particularly involving unauthorized practice of law
  • Utilize professional resources for paralegals in planning and conducting interviews
  • Record and communicate results of investigations and interviews

Activities and work include:

  • classroom presentations and discussion of state and ABA rules relating to ethical use of non-lawyers in the interviewing and investigation process;
  • review of state and federal discovery rules;
  • application of professional rules to hypothetical and common legal fact situations;
  • discussion of textbook case studies and problems.