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CCOG for PL 281A Fall 2022

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Course Number:
PL 281A
Course Title:
Paralegal Community Law Clinic
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Provides the opportunity to use the practical skills acquired in the paralegal program in a clinical legal setting, while working toward the goal of increasing access to justice. Facilitates participation in hands-on legal activities under the close supervision of a faculty attorney and/or practicing staff attorney(s) in a legal nonprofit. Requirement: successful completion of at least 12 paralegal credits, unless waived by instructor. Prerequisites: Instructor permission. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Acts as a bridge between the classroom and the legal workforce by providing students the opportunity to develop and use practical legal skills while serving the legal needs of the community, under the supervision of a faculty attorney.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Communicate with clients about their legal needs and assist with projects that serve those needs, which may include but are not limited to expungements, legal name and gender-marker changes, landlord-tenant issues, immigration issues, and court fine and fee waivers.
  • Identify and describe the area(s) of substantive law in which they are working, and identify and appropriately respond to ethical issues that arise.
  • Develop time and project management practices for working in a community law setting.
  • Describe the role of a paralegal in a community law setting and the impact their work has on other people and on the legal system.
  • Collect and organize client information for community-based legal action.

Aspirational Goals

Teaching paralegal students practical legal skills while increasing access to justice for low-income community members. 

Teaching cultural competence in the legal field through readings, in-class training, and participation in legal clinics serving a wide variety of community members from diverse backgrounds.

Course Activities and Design

Flexible dependent upon the needs of student population, the specific areas of legal practice for the term, and the preferred teaching style of instructor, but will include hands-on legal work in a clinic setting such as filling out legal forms and drafting affidavits and declarations under the supervision of an attorney. May also include reading assignments, lectures, guest speakers, and legal drafting assignments. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment will be based, in part on attendance and participation in legal clinics and class activities, and may also include written assignments, individual research and writing, drafting relevant legal documents, and analysis of legal issues.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts & Issues

Providing students the opportunity to develop and use the practical legal skills needed to succeed as legal professionals, while providing free legal services, under the supervision of an attorney, to members of the community. 

Competencies & Skills

1. Critically evaluate legal cases and identify and evaluate an individual's legal options, under the supervision of an attorney.

2. Provide legal services to members of the public, under the supervision of an attorney.

3. Draft enforceable legal documents, under the supervision of an attorney.

4. Engage in culturally-aware, effective communication with clients and colleagues.

5. Prioritize legal projects and manage time effectively.

6. Identify and appropriately respond to ethical issues that arise in a legal setting.

7. Understand and explain the context for a particular type of legal work within the larger legal system.

Approved Texts

Choice of texts is at the discretion of each course instructor, but instructors are encouraged to make this an OER class and use publicly-available resources to give students context for the legal work they are doing.