Paralegal Certificate Course

Paralegal Certificate Program

This intensive, nationally acclaimed program is designed for beginning as well as advanced legal workers. Students will be trained to interview witnesses, investigate complex fact patterns, research the law, prepare legal documents, and assist in preparing cases for courtroom litigation. The instruction is practice-oriented and relates to those areas of law in which paralegals are in most demand.

The Paralegal Certificate is 84 hours and provides an overview of the legal system, legal research, legal writing, civil procedure, ethics, criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal evidence, torts and contracts. Student grades are based on completion of weekly tests, online participation forums and writing assignments.

Course Duration
84 hours

Next Schedule
Date: TBA
Time: TBA

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  • Sessions

    "Legal Terminology, Documents, Ethics, and the Litigation Process": This session focuses on the history of American jurisprudence, the theory of law, the legal process, and the nature of litigation. Discussion will cover pre-trial, trial and post-trial procedures as well as an in depth coverage of legal ethics. At the end of the first session of class, students will know how to prepare a Complaint/Petition, Answer, Third Party Complaint/Petition, and Motion for Summary Judgment. 

    "Introduction to the Evidentiary Predicate": This session covers the rules of evidence and civil procedure. Basic interviewing and investigation techniques and the development and use of demonstrative evidence will also be explained. At the end of the second session of class, students will prepare discovery matter such as Interrogatories, Request for Admissions and Request for Production of Documents. 

    "Identifying Relevant Authority": During this session, students will learn how to identify relevant law, determine the differences between primary and secondary authority, and between mandatory and persuasive authority, and learn how to find and apply authority to hypothetical factual situations. 

    "Introduction to Legal Research": Students will learn research techniques for use in legal memoranda, motions, and briefs. Primary and secondary source materials will be discussed, and a concise approach to legal research will be developed. 

    "Legal Research Practice": Legal research skills will be applied this session with emphasis on shepardizing statutes and case law and learning to use computerized legal research terminals. Numerous research assignments will be given, discussed, and critiqued. The West Key Number System® will be learned thoroughly. 

    "Legal Writing and Appellate Procedure": This session will concentrate on the preparation and critique of legal memoranda, including an Interoffice Memorandum of Law and Appellate Brief. Principles of appellate procedure will also be reviewed. Proper citation format will be covered along with a discussion of job hunting techniques and job leads for those seeking their first employment as paralegals.
  • Granting of Certificate

    Upon successful completion of this non-credit certificate, graduates hold the credentials to seek paralegal employment in any state and students who hold a bachelor’s degree in any subject may choose to take the voluntary NALA CLA exam to receive the title of Certified Legal Assistant-Paralegal from the National Association of Legal Assistants or the PCC Exam (Paralegal Core Competency Exam) by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations to receive the title of CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP). 

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, job projections for the paralegal profession continue to show faster-than-average employment growth. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals is expected to grow 28% between 2008 and 2018. Findings show that the demand for paralegals is increasing as employers, in an effort to reduce costs, hire paralegals to perform tasks that have traditionally been carried out by attorneys.
  • Skills and objectives

    After completion of the core requirements of the Paralegal Certificate, participants will demonstrate the following skills through successful completion of all required coursework and assignments:

    1) Locate commonly used legal reference materials;
    2) Explain how the sources of law research materials are used, their hierarchy, and the difference between primary, secondary, and finding tool resources;
    3) Identify and frame a simple legal issue, and identify the facts that relate to it;
    4) Conduct legal research using a computer-assisted legal research tool, such as WESTLAW;
    5) Articulate the parts of a well-written legal opinion and formal legal memorandum and the purpose each serves;
    6) Prepare a formal legal memorandum dealing with a simple legal issue;
    7) Use citations in written legal material;
    8) Articulate the significant differences between an objective memorandum and persuasive writing; and 
    9) Brief a case
    10) Legal terminology, ethics, and the litigation process
    11) The rules of evidence and civil procedure 
    12) Basic interviewing and investigation techniques and the development and use of demonstrative evidence
    13) Preparation of discovery matter, such as Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Requests for Production of Documents.
    14) How to identify relevant law 
    15) Research skills and techniques for use in legal memoranda, motions, and briefs
    16) Preparation of legal documents
    17) Preparation and critique of legal memoranda
  • Course Books

    • Paralegal Certificate Course© Workbook, by Margaret J. Kirk
    • Legal Document Preparation Manual for the Paralegal Certificate Course©
    • Paralegal Career for Dummies, by Scott and Lisa Hatch
    • Introduction to Paralegalism, 8th Edition by William Statsky
    • Federal Civil Rules Booklet, most recent edition
    • A Uniform System of Citation (aka "The Bluebook"), most recent edition
    • WESTLAW online legal research access

Individuals seeking paralegal training and skills necessary for a career as a paralegal and current paralegal wanting to increase their office skills.

No prerequisites required.

It is preferable that participants have 9th or 10th grade level reading and writing skills to be able to benefit the most from this course.

Note: The fee does not include textbooks and material.

To review private loan options for continuing education programs, click below:

Private Loans

Note: If you are applying for the Continuing Education Private Loan to cover the registration fee for a non-credit continuing education program, then please use UTRGV Continuing Education School Code: 00359902. The loan amount you note in the application cannot exceed the open enrollment fee noted on our website. Minimum for the loans must be $500.00. Some service charges may apply.

  • Ms. Christina Conway

    Christina Conway-Navarro is a native of Rio Grande City and currently serves as an Assistant Public Defender for Hidalgo County. She completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and earned her Juris Doctorate from Texas Tech University School of Law. Christina has been licensed to practice law since 2011. She is a member of the Texas Bar Association as well as the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.