Paralegal Studies - Post Degree Certificate    Click here to request more info

Program Contacts

Instructional Specialist Holly Molina (928) 776-2295
Program Director Michael Davis (928) 717-7938
Instructional Specialist Mitzi Martin (928) 776-2157
Dean Jill Fitzgerald (928) 776-2277

Quick Facts

About the Paralegal Studies - Post Degree Certificate

The Paralegal Studies certificate program is designed to prepare the student who has already earned a baccalaureate degree and is seeking a certificate program in the legal specialty areas required for employment as a paralegal.

Paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney and their work includes preparing legal documents, researching and compiling information, and communicating with clients. Excellent written and oral skills, as well as computer literacy skills, are essential to the paralegal.

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Paralegal Studies - Post Degree  Certificate program, the learner will be able to:


  1. Interview witnesses and interact with clients, conduct investigative work, manage cases, conduct legal research, draft legal pleadings, prepare legal documents and apply legal procedures in areas of real estate, corporate law, probate, mediation, litigation, family law, administrative law, bankruptcy law and criminal law.
  2. Apply written, oral and interpersonal skills in the legal and business settings.
  3. Identify and evaluate technology needs and apply and adapt required skills to the rapidly changing legal and business community.
  4. Proficiently use word processing software and identify and adapt to different types of computer applications.
  5. Identify ethical issues and apply the values of professional responsibility.

Program-Specific Requirements

Course Course Title Hours
LAW100 Intro to Paralegal Studies

LAW 100. Introduction to Paralegal Studies (3). Introduction to the role of the paralegal in the legal system, including the federal and state court systems, ethics, regulation and professional responsibility, legal analysis, research and basic legal concepts. Includes professional development and job search strategies. Three lecture.

1. Introduction to the paralegal profession
a. History
b. Education
c. Skills
2. Careers in the legal community
3. The regulation of legal professionals
4. Ethics and professional responsibility
5. Introduction to law
a. Sources
b. Court system and alternative dispute resolution
c. Fundamental legal concepts
6. Civil and criminal litigation and procedures
7. Legal analysis and writing
8. Legal research

1. Describe the American judicial system and the responsibilities of the various court systems.
2. Distinguish between civil and criminal litigation, and describe the stages of litigation.
3. Describe and explain basic concepts of law.
4. Apply legal analysis to the briefing of cases and problem solving.
5. Define the issues of the paralegal profession, and discuss professional development and job search strategies.
6. Apply principles of ethics and professional responsibility to specific scenarios.

LAW101 Legal Ethics & Prof Respnsblty

LAW 101. Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (1). State and national ethical codes and rules of professional responsibility, ethical dilemmas and methods for researching answers, professionalism, and the unauthorized practice of law. One lecture.

1. Codes of ethics and rules of professional responsibility
2. Regulation of lawyers and non-lawyers
3. Ethical dilemmas
4. Methods for researching answers to ethical dilemmas
5. Professionalism
6. Unauthorized practice of law

1. Identify state and national codes of ethics and rules of professional responsibility.
2 Delineate regulations pertaining to lawyers and non-lawyers.
3. Describe ethical dilemmas.
4. Research answers to ethical dilemmas.
5. Identify best practices representing professionalism.
6. Analyze statutes and rules relating to the unauthorized practice of law.

LAW102 Legal Computer Applications

LAW 102. Legal Computer Applications (3). Introduction to, and advanced application of, computer software applications used in a law office and the business community. Includes computer research tools, e-mail, application of general office management software to the legal environment, ethical considerations, and law office practice concepts, time and billing, calendaring, and docket control, case management, document management, litigation support, computer research tools, and ethical considerations.. Prerequisite: CSA 140. Three lecture.

1. Computer hardware and software; concepts of law office management
2. Software programs for law office management including computer research, e-mail, and application of general office management software to the legal environment
3. WESTLAW and Internet research
4. Complex legal documents
5. The law office and law practice of the 21st century
6. Ethical considerations and basic law office practice concepts
7. Electronic presentation software
8. Software programs for time and billing, calendaring and docket control, case management, document management, litigation support, general office management, and computer research tools, Westlaw, and internet research

1. Explain the use of technology in the practice of law and in the management of the law office. (1-5,7)
2. Identify a variety of computer tools available to assist the legal professional in the performance of daily tasks. (1-3,5,7)
3. Identify, explain and prepare research strategies in the use of WESTLAW and Internet research. (3)
4. Describe the application of general office management software packages to the legal environment (e.g., word processing, database management, spreadsheets, and presentation software) and prepare complex legal documents. (2,4,7)
5. Use legal software applications packages: standard Internet browser to conduct Internet research; WESTLAW and other legal specific software; general office management software. (2-5,7)
6. Find, evaluate and summarize new and emerging software and hardware technologies for the law office. (2,3,5)
7. Identify and explain ethical concerns relating to technology and the practice of law. (6)
8. Design an electronic slideshow using presentation software. (7)
9. Manage information by applying legal software applications packages to law office situations, which may include: Timeslips or Verdict software; Amicus Attorney or Abacus software; Summation Blaze, InData, Trial Director, or DiscoverFY software; PCLaw; and other legal-specific software as appropriate and available. (8)

LAW202 Real Estate Law

LAW 202. Real Estate Law (3). Overview of legal requirements and the documents and forms relating to real property transactions. Real estate purchase and sale, various methods of holding title to real property, mortgages, lease agreements, liens and declarations of homestead. Three lecture.

1. Introduction to law and legal systems
2. Land/property and related concerns
3. Estates in land and ways of holding title
4. Encumbrances
5. Conveyances
6. Legal descriptions
7. Leases
8. Contracts
9. Title defects and resolutions
10. Mortgages and deeds of trust

1. Use the terminology that applies to real estate law. (1,2,6)
2. Describe ways of holding title, encumbrances and conveyances. (3-5)
3. Draft real estate documents for a transfer of real property. (7-10)
4. Identify title defects and resolutions. (9)
5. Develop a real estate notebook to aid in undertaking a real estate transaction. (6-10)
6. Analyze legal concepts and apply them to a real estate transaction. (2,6)
7. Analyze how real estate law impacts other areas of law. (1,2)

OR LAW203 Family Law

LAW 203. Family Law (3). Legal aspects of domestic matters and family relationships. Emphasis on dissolution of marriage, community property, child custody, child support and support calculations, adoptions, guardianships, state involvement in family and parent-child relationships, and statutes relating to families and family relationships. Three lecture.

1. Legal terminology
2. Dissolution of marriage pleadings and procedure
3. Divorce process, statutes and forms applicable to dissolution of marriage
4. Annulment
5. Spousal support
6. Child custody, visitation and parenting time; child support and support calculations
7. Community property settlement
8. Adoption, termination of parent/child relationship, guardianship, conservatorship
9. Family Crimes
10. Family health/welfare issues
11. Children: delinquency and dependency proceedings

1. Define and use legal terminology related to domestic relations and family law. (1)
2. Conduct initial client interviews. (3)
3. Prepare dissolution pleadings from petition through decree. (1-3)
4. Explain the procedural process of a dissolution from filing to judgement. (2)
5. Differentiate between legal separation, dissolution and annulment. (4-6)
6. Distinguish between community property and separate property. (1,7)
7. Draft forms relating to conservatorship, guardianship, adoption and parental terminations, health care and powers of attorney. (1,8,10)
8. Relate the role, activities, and process of state in family and family relationships. (9-11)

LAW215 Legal Research and Writing I

LAW 215. Legal Research & Writing I (4) (Fall). Principles and techniques for conducting legal research. Emphasis on sources of law, utilization of primary and secondary sources, and case briefing. Extensive practice in writing research memoranda. Prerequisite: BSA 105 and (ENG 101 or ENG 103 or ENG 136). Four lecture.

1. Grammar and sentence structure
2. Role of the paralegal in conducting legal research
3. Techniques of legal research
4. Statutes, digests, reporters, legal periodicals, and other sources
5. Facts and issues in legal analysis
6. Blue Book and/or ALWD citation form
7. Legal analysis and writing
8. Writing legal memoranda
9. Ethical concerns in legal research and writing

1. Identify parts of a sentence and use correct grammar in legal writing. (1,8)
2. Describe the role of the paralegal in conducting legal research and in legal writing. (2)
3. Research the law using appropriate legal resources and techniques. (3,4)
4. Locate federal, state and local statutes, ordinances, acts, and cases. (3,4)
5. Summarize, outline and explain the relevant facts and legal issues involved in a legal problem. (5)
6. Cite cases using Blue Book and/or ALWD citation form. (6)
7. Apply legal analysis in the writing process. (7,8)
8. Write legal memoranda. (8)
9. Identify and explain ethical concerns relating to legal research and writing. (9)

LAW216 Legal Research and Writing II

LAW 216. Legal Research and Writing II (4) (Spring). Application of research and writing skills in responding to complex legal issues and preparing complex legal documents. Prerequisite: LAW 215. Four lecture.

1. Legal research
2. Federal, state and local statutes, ordinances, acts, court rules and case law
3. Blue Book and/or ALWD citation form
4. Research analysis and writing strategy
5. Complex legal documents
6. Computer-assisted legal research
7. Ethical concerns relating to legal research and writing

1. Locate and apply federal, state and local statutes, ordinances and acts, court rules, and case law in the preparation of complex legal documents. (1,2,4-6)
2. Summarize and explain relevant facts and legal issues involved in complex legal problems. (4,5)
3. Cite relevant authority using Blue Book and/or ALWD citation form. (3)
4. Apply research analysis and develop strategies in the legal writing process. (1,2,4-6)
5. Draft complex legal documents. (1-6)
6. Use computer-assisted legal research. (6)
7. Identify and explain ethical concerns relating to legal research and writing. (7)

LAW220 Civil Tort Litigation I

LAW 220. Civil Tort Litigation I (3) (Fall). Principles and procedures of civil litigation. Jurisdiction and venue, parties to action, and pleadings. Introduction to drafting of documents required from inception of civil action through the pleading stage, up to trial. Prerequisite: LAW 100. Three lecture.

1. Courts and court systems
2. Jurisdiction and venue
3. Parties to the actions
4. Client and witness interviewing
5. File organization and document control
6. Demand letters and settlement
7. Preparation of pleadings including complaints, summons, certificates, answers and disclosure statements
8. Elements of basic negligence actions including duty, breach, causation, damages, defenses, comparative negligence, and immunities
9. Terminology

1. Outline the litigation process from client interview through the pleading stage. (1-7)
2. Interview clients and witnesses. (4)
3. Draft basic litigation documents. (7)
4. Describe the role of the paralegal in the litigation process. (1-7)
5. Define legal terminology related to personal injury litigation. (9)
6. Describe the key components of Arizona law related to personal injury litigation. (8)

LAW221 Civil Tort Litigation II

LAW 221. Civil Tort Litigation II (3) (Spring). Study of the civil litigation process. Includes trial preparation, trial, evidence, and appeal. Prerequisite: LAW 220. Two lecture. Two lab.

1. Preparation of discovery and pretrial documents including interrogatories, requests for admission and subpoenas
2. Depositions
3. Summary judgments
4. Arbitration
5. Pretrial motions
6. Preparation of witnesses
7. Trial procedures including jury selection, courtroom observations, trial notebooks, note taking, daily trial recapitulation, demonstrative exhibit, and witnesses
8. Post-trial and appellate procedures
9. Torts including abuse of process, product liability, slander/libel, employment torts, malpractice, fraud/misrepresentation, and emotional distress
10. Terminology

1. Outline the litigation process from pleading state through post trial. (1-8, 10)
2. Prepare a trial notebook. (1-8)
3. Apply the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. (1-8)
4. Assist in the process of witness preparation. (6)
5. Draft discovery and trial pleadings. (1)
6. Describe the role of the paralegal in the litigation process. (1-7, 10)
7. Identify elements of different tort causes for action. (9, 10)

LAW296 Internship: Paralegal Studies


LAW 296. Internship: Paralegal Studies (3). Supervised field experience with businesses, corporations, government agencies, schools and community organizations to expand career interests and apply subject knowledge relevant to the workplace. Individualized internship placements to develop personal and professional skills, including professional ethics, leadership, and civic responsibility. Prerequisite: Student must have a GPA of 2.0; have completed specific degree requirements as required by the program; and have completed the internship application process. [Repeatable for a total of 6 credit hours towards degree/certificate requirements.] S/U grading only.


1. Organizational overview of assigned placement
2. Integration of job description and organization's requirements
3. Elements of documentation of experience
4. Planning and time management
5. Professional, legal, and ethical issues
6. Communication, critical thinking, and problem solving
7. Specialized equipment, tools, and software required in the placement

1. Exhibit appropriate workplace behaviors and professional ethics.
2. Apply discipline specific knowledge and skills in the professional workplace.
3. Define and utilize technical terms in written and oral communications.
4. Use critical thinking, problem solving, ethical awareness, and effective writing
5. Interpret written and oral instructions.
6. Initiate and complete assigned responsibilities.
7. Maintain documentation required to comply with government employer or nonprofit agency regulations.
8. Use specialized equipment, software, and tools as required.
9. Analyze and interpret data for specified reports.
10. Identify opportunities for improvement in process and documentation related to the workplace.
11. Articulate job description and position in assigned organization.

1. Record of Student Internship workplace hours.
2. Individual Education Plan (IEP) as approved by supervision faculty.
3. A daily journal, or work log of tasks, including dates, descriptive comments, problems and solutions.
4. A reflective paper or project as specified by the supervision faculty.
5. A minimum of two evaluations by the workplace employer or supervisor.
6. Student's self-evaluation of experience.

Select 4 credit hours from the following courses:
LAW104 Wills, Trusts and Probate

LAW 104. Wills, Trusts and Probate (3). Critical issues, roles, and legal requirements in estate administration and pleadings. Three lecture.

1. Terminology, definitions, and law associated with wills, trusts, estate administration
2. Wills and trusts
3. Estate administration
4. Personal representatives, fiduciaries and trustees
5. Arizona probate law

1. Apply the law regarding will and trust drafting. (1,2)
2. Identify the laws of intestate succession. (3)
3. Identify the basic functions of the participants in estate administration. (3)
4. Prepare the pleadings for an informal probate. (3)
5. Compare the responsibilities and liabilities of personal representatives, fiduciaries and trustees. (4)
6. Identify the required pleadings in a formal probate. (5)

LAW201 Criminal Law and Procedure

LAW 201. Criminal Law and Procedure (2). Fundamentals of criminal law and examination of the criminal court system, criminal investigation and prosecution, rules of evidence, and trial preparation and procedures. Two lecture.

1. Federal and state court system
2. Terminology
3. Constitutional protections
4. Arrest
5. Evidence
6. Confessions and admissions
7. Trial preparation and procedures

1. Outline state and federal criminal court systems, the jurisdiction of courts and of law enforcement agencies. (1)
2. Identify and apply the elements of common law and Arizona crimes. (1,2)
3. Explain criminal trial procedure from grand jury through appeal. (1,2)
4 Describe the roles of the police, prosecutors, defense attorney, judges and paralegals in the criminal justice system. (4-6)
5. Define and use legal terminology related to criminal law. (2,4,5)
6 Explain and define the role of the Bill of Rights in criminal litigation. (3)

LAW206 Contracts

LAW 206. Contracts (2). General principles of the law of contracts, negotiable instruments, and sales. Two lecture.

1. Contract case and statutory law
2. Restatement of contracts
3. Contract terminology
4. Parole evidence rule
5. Statute of frauds
6. Uniform Commercial Code as it relates to sales, negotiable instruments and banking
7. Ethical considerations

1. Explain and apply the basics of contract formation, execution, breach and remedies. (1-6)
2. Define contract terminology. (3)
3. Explain the parole evidence rule and statute of frauds. (1,3-5)
4. Analyze cases in contract law. (1)
5. Describe the functions of the Uniform Commercial Code in the areas of sales, negotiable instruments and banking. (6)
6. Identify and explain ethical concerns relating to contract law. (7)

LAW208 Business Organizations

LAW 208. Business Organizations (2). Legal requirements of corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietorships. Two lecture.

1. Corporate law
2. Partnerships, limited partnerships, LLCs
3. Uniform Partnership Act, Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act
4. Sole proprietorships
5. Agency law
6. Ethical concerns

1. Apply business organization information and legalities. (1-5)
2. Analyze cases, statutes and uniform acts incorporate, partnership, LLC, sole proprietorship, and other business organizational structures. (1-5)
3. Identify concepts of agency law. (5)
4. Identify and explain ethical concerns relating to different business organizational structures. (6)

LAW298 Special Legal Topics

LAW 298. Special Legal Topics (2). Introduction to a special legal topic and the role of the paralegal in the critical issues and requirements of the legal specialty area. Two lecture. [Repeatable for a total of 4 credit hours towards degree/certificate requirements.]

1. Substantive law on the special legal topic
2. Role of paralegal in the specialized legal area
3. Pleadings, correspondence, documents in the specialized legal area
4. Research analysis of critical issues in the specialized legal area

1. Identify the legal sources regarding the special legal topic. (1)
2. Identify the duties required of a paralegal in the specialized legal area. (2)
3. Analyze and apply current case law to the specialized legal area in pleadings and legal memoranda. (3)
4. Conduct legal and factual research in the legal specialty area. (4)


Note:  It is always best to discuss educational and career goals with an academic advisor prior to enrolling in any courses.  Learn more about Academic Advising.