Legal Studies

Legal Assisting (LA)

LA 300 Introduction to Law and the American Legal System

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:ENGWR 300 or ESLW 340 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course introduces the American legal system, its history, and function. It provides an overview of several important areas of law such as torts and crimes and the legal assistant's role in the system.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • define the role and functions of the legal assistant
  • use basic legal terminology appropriately
  • analyze a fact pattern
  • research basic information in appropriate legal research sources
  • integrate knowledge of ethical obligations into all aspects of practice

LA 310 Civil Procedures and Litigation

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Corequisite:LA 300
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course is an introduction to the California court system with emphasis on understanding the practical aspects of litigation and the proper procedures required by statutes and rules of court. It covers the phases of California court procedure, including state and Federal constitutional limitations, jurisdiction, venue, pleadings, and motions. It also includes the forms by which matters are submitted to the court system from pre-litigation through appeals.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • identify the practical procedural aspects of litigation, such as proper parties, jurisdiction, venue, claims, pleading, defaults, statutes of limitations, and various other motions.
  • compare and contrast the major duties and responsibilities of paralegals in various civil litigation practices.
  • demonstrate the use of proper methods and forms to submit civil matters to the court system.
  • identify ethical issues that arise in litigation.

LA 312 Torts and Personal Injury

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Corequisite:LA 300
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course is an overview of substantive tort law as it applies to personal injury (PI) cases. It introduces tort concepts, such as negligence, intent, and strict liability, including the elements required to prove liability and defenses available to litigants. This course covers pretrial procedures, such as discovery, settlement offers, and witness and trial preparation.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • define the elements of common tort causes of action.
  • identify the steps a typical personal injury (PI) case follows from identification of the client through trial preparation.
  • evaluate the evidence available in light of a case.
  • apply appropriate defenses to common tort causes of action.
  • categorize the types of torts appropriately.
  • manage information to assist the attorney in successful representation of a client.
  • identify ethical issues that arise in a torts practice.

LA 314 Contract Law

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Corequisite:LA 300
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course covers basic contract principles. Topics include formation, validity, defenses, rights of third parties, performance, breach, remedies, and damages.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • analyze contractual disputes for the required elements of prosecution or defense.
  • apply and interpret standard contract terms.
  • prepare a draft of a valid and enforceable document meeting the client's needs.
  • evaluate a contract as to sufficiency of required elements.
  • draft effective contract clauses to meet client's objectives.
  • describe common defenses to contract causes of action.
  • identify ethical issues arising in a transactional law practice.

LA 320 Legal Research

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Corequisite:LA 300
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course provides the paralegal with the basic tools of legal research in both federal and California law, with emphasis on California materials. It covers the location and use of primary and secondary sources, the elements of a court decision, and how to brief a case.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • classify the various legal research resources.
  • identify appropriate resources for various legal research questions.
  • synthesize the information provided in legal resources into a useful summary for the use by an attorney.
  • plan a research approach to an issue.
  • utilize a variety of computer resources to aid the research process.
  • research California State Bar ethics opinions.
  • analyze California State Bar ethics opinions.

LA 321 Legal Writing

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 320 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course is a continuation of LA 320: Legal Research. It includes the application of research methods to gather information which may be used in a variety of written products. It covers synthesizing information into various documents typically used in the law office. Documents created may include interoffice memoranda, court briefs, and letters to clients.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • prepare points and authorities which accompany motions.
  • compose interoffice memos, motions, points and authorities, and ancillary materials for filing with the court.
  • produce documents which are intended to inform or persuade the recipient such as letters and memos.
  • recognize the intended audience and purpose of a document.
  • integrate computer research into the creation of appropriate documents such as legal research databases and electronic practice guides.

LA 322 Advanced Legal Research and Writing

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 321 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course builds on the research and writing skills covered in LA 320 and LA 321. It focuses on refining legal research, analytical, and writing skills with an emphasis on researching and applying most current codes, rules, and practices pertaining to e-discovery, meta data mining, and other technical issues; it also covers drafting various discovery requests/responses and discovery motions/oppositions and/or other documents filed in Law and Motion departments relative to electronically stored information. Extensive use of computers and the internet is required.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • create a comprehensive and efficient approach to researching and applying current codes, rules, and practices pertaining to e-discovery, meta data mining and other topical technical issues.
  • evaluate and identify facts and supporting evidence for use in drafting discovery requests and responses with a focus on e-discovery, meta data mining, and other topical technical issues.
  • analyze and verify research to be used in drafting discovery motions and oppositions for filing with the court.
  • draft correspondence, legal documents, and pleadings for use by attorney in Law and Motion practice.

LA 330 Family Law and Procedure

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Advisory:LA 320
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course covers California Family Law relating to dissolution procedures, property issues, and non-marital relationships. Legal procedures, and preparation of necessary forms and their significance are emphasized.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • define the role of the paralegal in relation to the family law attorney in litigation of family law cases.
  • apply knowledge of the process to work efficiently and effectively with counsel and court staff.
  • identify the economic effects of dissolution.
  • analyze the client's case to determine proper pleadings and procedures.
  • analyze ethical issues that may arise in a family law practice.

LA 332 Administrative Law and Procedure

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course covers administrative law and procedure. Topics include comparison of administrative law to civil and criminal law, and administrative due process.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • define basic elements of administrative law and procedure.
  • evaluate simple administrative cases.
  • identify the necessary elements of complex administrative law case to assist the attorney.
  • analyze ethical issues that may arise in an administrative law practice.
  • present a simple administrative case.

LA 334 Criminal Law and Procedure

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course provides background in both substantive crimes and criminal procedure. It includes a detailed study of the operation of the criminal justice system, from arrest and filing of charges through trial, conviction and appeal.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • prepare pre-trial writs and motions, and post-trial writs.
  • evaluate common situations in criminal law and the appropriate steps to be taken such as discovery requests, filing motions, etc.
  • identify substantive crimes.
  • recognize procedural rules.
  • identify and analyze ethical issues which arise in a criminal law practice.

LA 336 Immigration Law

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Corequisite:LA 300
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course is an elective in the Paralegal Studies program and is designed to prepare students for work in an immigration law setting. Students will learn about the Justice Department, the Labor Department, and the State Department, and how these agencies administer immigration and naturalization laws.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • identify various paths to immigration and naturalization in the United States.
  • demonstrate requisite skills needed to interview alien clients effectively.
  • identify agencies involved in the immigration and naturalization process in the United States.
  • prepare legal forms and documents related to administrative proceedings.
  • differentiate between criteria for deportation and exclusion.
  • identify various alien and immigrant categories.

LA 340 Techniques of Interview

  • Units:1
  • Hours:18 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course provides general background information about basic communication and relates this information to the skills used by a legal assistant in interviewing clients and witnesses.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • identify interview techniques appropriate to the type of information needed to assist the attorney handling the client's case
  • apply the various interviewing techniques
  • evaluate the source evidence
  • classify evidence as to relevancy

LA 342 Evidence

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Advisory:LA 310
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course covers the rules of evidence in federal and state courts. Topics include Hearsay Rule, Best Evidence Rule, and organizing deposition transcripts.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • evaluate and prepare evidence for trial under the supervision of an attorney.
  • define admissibility of testimony, documents, and other evidence in federal and state courts.
  • apply proper rules and forms to prepare objections and other responses to discovery requests.
  • analyze ethical issues in evidence.

LA 350 Law Office Management

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Corequisite:LA 300
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course covers aspects of the paralegal's role in a law office. Law office technology, accounting, time and records management, and communication skills are examined.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • differentiate between the role of the law office manager and the legal assistant.
  • apply basic principles of time and records management.
  • assess ethical requirements in various law office situations.
  • evaluate the various associations for professional development.
  • identify appropriate methods of communication in the law office setting.
  • demonstrate an understanding of computer technology applications used in the practice of law.

LA 360 Corporations Law

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course covers corporation terminology and legal requirements governing corporations. Topics include formation, dissolution and liquidation of a corporation.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • identify and apply the legal requirements for forming, operating, merging, and dissolving a corporation.
  • identify the necessity for and write a board resolution.
  • apply requirements to create corporate documents.
  • maintain an orderly minute book.
  • identify corporate equity, debt securities, and tax considerations.
  • identify corporate distribution issues.
  • identify the appropriate government agencies for filings.
  • identify ethical issues that arise in a corporate law practice.

LA 362 Estate Planning and Probate Procedure

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 and 320 with grades of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course covers estate planning, including the manner in which property may be held and ways it can be transferred. Testate and intestate probate procedures are included.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • analyze cases in order to assist the attorney in meeting the immediate needs of the client.
  • prepare and file appropriate forms and documents to transfer property.
  • identify the need for additional professional assistance in such areas as taxes and accounting.
  • identify and analyze ethical issues that arise in an Estates and Probate practice.

LA 364 Landlord Tenant Law

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course focuses on the most common types of landlord-tenant disputes. It covers litigation and non-litigation matters. Topics also include the different types of tenancy, what constitutes habitability, and tenant's rights and obligations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • identify the law that governs landlord-tenant relations.
  • select and complete the appropriate forms required by California law.
  • create a plan to accommodate the various stages of the landlord-tenant relationship.
  • analyze the facts to determine an appropriate course of action.
  • analyze ethical issues that arise in a landlord-tenant law practice.

LA 365 Legal Clinic

  • Units:3
  • Hours:36 hours LEC; 54 hours LAB
  • Prerequisite:LA 300, 310, 320, and 321 with grades of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course is a study of the activities of a legal clinic, including conducting client interviews, participating in legal consultations, performing legal research, and carrying out tasks needed in clinic operations, all under the direct supervision of clinic attorneys. This course also covers research, examinations, and conduct according to the Professional Rules of Responsibility and Ethics.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • identify, describe, and discuss the ethical rules of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Rules of Professional Responsibility for lawyers in California.
  • compare and contrast the authorized work of lawyers with the authorized work of non-lawyers.
  • describe the Duty of Confidentiality, including its length and the way it is affected by technology.
  • explain how conflicts of interest arise and how paralegals can avoid such conflicts when changing jobs.
  • demonstrate a satisfactory level of expertise for interviewing legal clinic clients and meeting with attorneys during consultation.
  • identify, analyze, and research legal issues presented by clients.
  • demonstrate appropriate use of forms for interviewing clients, fact gathering, and reporting.
  • demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of how paralegals are utilized in a professional setting.
  • understand and demonstrate knowledge of a case lifecycle such as initial client contact, interview, representation, and case closure.
  • draft appropriate documents needed to assist a clinic client with his or her legal matter.
  • synthesize essential facts of a case and communicate findings to attorney supervisor.
  • analyze legal issues and perform legal research accordingly.

LA 366 Basic Bankruptcy Law

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course is an introduction to the practical aspects of representing debtors or creditors within the bankruptcy system. Topics include voluntary and involuntary bankruptcy, preparation of statements, and schedules for filing.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • identify fundamental aspects of bankruptcy.
  • define the role of the legal assistant in a bankruptcy practice.
  • manage document production for a typical bankruptcy filing.
  • evaluate research needs and appropriate litigation support for potential bankruptcy action.
  • identify ethical issues which may arise in a bankruptcy practice.

LA 368 Workers' Compensation Law

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:LA 300 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course provides an overview of the Workers' Compensation Law in California. It focuses on the procedural aspects of handling a Workers' Compensation claim from both the applicant perspective and the defense perspective.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • analyze the fundamentals of Workers' Compensation Law in relation to the legal assistant's role in the process.
  • research California case law.
  • formulate a discovery plan.
  • analyze ethical considerations.
  • prepare basic documents for a Workers' Compensation claim.

LA 495 Independent Studies in Legal Assisting

  • Units:1 - 3
  • Hours:54 - 162 hours LAB
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Transferable:CSU
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

Independent Study is an opportunity for the student to extend classroom experience in this subject, while working independently of a formal classroom situation. Independent study is an extension of work offered in a specific class in the college catalog. To be eligible for independent study, students must have completed the basic regular catalog course at American River College. They must also discuss the study with a professor in this subject and secure approval. Only one independent study for each catalog course will be allowed.


LA 498 Work Experience in Legal Assisting

  • Units:1 - 4
  • Hours:60 - 300 hours LAB
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Enrollment Limitation:Students must be in a paid or unpaid internship, volunteer position, or job related to legal assisting with a cooperating site supervisor. Students are advised to consult with the Legal Assisting Department faculty to review specific certificate and degree work experience requirements.
  • Advisory:Eligible for ENGRD 310 or ENGRD 312 AND ENGWR 300; OR ESLR 340 AND ESLW 340.
  • Transferable:CSU
  • General Education:AA/AS Area III(b)
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2019

This course provides students with opportunities to develop marketable skills in preparation for employment or advancement within the field of legal assisting. It is designed for students interested in work experience and/or internships in transfer-level degree occupational programs. Course content includes understanding the application of education to the workforce, completion of Title 5 required forms which document the student's progress and hours spent at the work site, and developing workplace skills and competencies.

During the semester, the student is required to complete 75 hours of related paid work experience, or 60 hours of related unpaid work experience for one unit. An additional 75 or 60 hours of related work experience is required for each additional unit. All students are required to attend the first class meeting, a mid-semester meeting, and a final meeting. Additionally, students who have not already successfully completed a Work Experience course will be required to attend weekly orientations while returning participants may meet individually with the instructor as needed. Students may take up to 16 units total across all Work Experience course offerings. This course may be taken up to four times when there are new or expanded learning objectives. Only one Work Experience course may be taken per semester.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate application of industry knowledge and theoretical concepts in the field of legal assisting related to a transfer degree level career as written in the minimum three (3) learning objectives created by the student and his/her employer or work site supervisor at the start of the course
  • make effective decisions, use workforce information, and manage his/her personal career plans.
  • behave professionally, ethically, and legally at work, consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and organizational norms.
  • behave responsibly at work, exhibiting initiative and self-management in situations where it is needed.
  • apply effective leadership styles at work, with consideration to group dynamics, team and individual decision making, and workforce diversity.
  • communicate in oral, written, and other formats, as needed, in a variety of contexts at work.
  • locate, organize, evaluate, and reference information at work.
  • demonstrate originality and inventiveness at work by combining ideas or information in new ways, making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, and reshaping goals in ways that reveal new possibilities using critical and creative thinking skills such as logical reasoning, analytical thinking, and problem-solving.