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Legal Administrative Assistant

Because law offices depend on computers, legal administrative assistants must be competent in the use of technology. Their legal work typically involves spreadsheets, accounting programs, Internet-based filing systems, computerized research databases and word-processing applications.

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Legal Administrative Assistant


Contact Information

Sally Dahlquist
Office Systems Instructor

sdahlqu@inverhills.edu
651-450-3567
B135

Admissions Team

admissions@inverhills.edu
651-450-3000
College Center

Legal administrative assistants, also called legal secretaries, are professional assistants with a significant legal skill set beyond their secretarial duties. Legal tasks delegated by lawyers and paralegals can involve preparing legal documents such as subpoenas, complaints and appeals. Other duties include:

  • Assembling legal information, data and records
  • Maintaining law libraries
  • Organizing case files
  • Filling out legal forms such as courtroom requests
  • Transcribing reports
  • Filing and organizing
  • General office tasks
  • Customer service
  • Assisting lawyers and paralegals

Degrees

This program is designed for students interested in a concentrated program in the legal administrative assistant field. Lawyers must rely on competent, skillful assistants who are flexible, resourceful and responsible. Legal administrative assistants, also known as legal secretaries, are indispensable assets to the legal profession. Students learn the responsibilities of the legal administrative assistant, including a complete introduction to the law, legal procedures and court systems, as well as necessary office and computer skills. Graduates may become employed in private attorneys' offices, corporate legal departments or governmental legal offices.

Coursework   Program Planning Guide
Course Number Title Credits
1 Students must obtain director's written approval one semester in advance of registration for internship.
OSYS 1101 Keyboarding 2 cr
OSYS 1189 Office Systems Internship - Legal Administrative Assistant 1 4 cr
BUS 1112 Business Math 3 cr
ITC 1110 Microsoft Word 3 cr
ITC 1130 Introduction to Microsoft Excel 1 cr
ITC 1135 PowerPoint 1 cr
ITC 1150 Introduction to Microsoft Access 1 cr
PA 1102 Introduction to the Law and Contracts 4 cr
PA 1115 Law Office Procedures and Technology 2 cr
PA 2201 or
PA 2202
Family Law or
Litigation and Trial Practice
3 cr
Electives in ITC (1000 level), PA, or BUS 6 cr
Total Credits: 30

Liberal Arts Curriculum – 30 credits

Course Number Title Credits
ENG 1108 Writing and Research Skills 4 cr
ENG 1111 or
ENG 1114 or
ENG 1130
Research Writing in the Disciplines or
Research Paper or
Writing and Research for the Professions
2-3 cr
COMM 1100, 1110, 2230, or 2240 3 cr
COMM 2240 Intercultural Communication 3 cr
Math or Science with Lab
(See Goal 3 or 4 of MnTC)
3 cr
History/Social Science/Behavioral Science
(See Goal 5 of MnTC)
3 cr
Humanities/Fine Arts/Literature
(See Goal 6 of MnTC)
3 cr
Liberal Arts Electives
(Restricted to MnTC courses)
8-9 cr
Total Credits: 30

Certificates

Legal Administrative Assistant Certificate – 30 Credits

This program is designed for students interested in a concentrated program in the legal administrative assistant field. Lawyers must rely on competent, skillful assistants who are flexible, resourceful, and responsible. Legal administrative assistants, also known as legal secretaries, are indispensable assets to the legal profession. Students learn the responsibilities of the legal administrative assistant, including a complete introduction to the law, legal procedures, and court systems, as well as necessary office and computer skills. Graduates may become employed in private attorneys’ offices, corporate legal departments, or governmental legal offices.

Coursework   Program Planning Guide Gainful Employment Disclosure

Legal Administrative Assistant Curriculum – 30 credits

Course Number Title Credits
OSYS 1101 Keyboarding 2 cr
OSYS 1189 Office Systems Internship-Legal Administrative Assistant1 2 cr
BUS 1112 Business Math 3 cr
ITC 1110 Microsoft Word 3 cr
ITC 1130 Introduction to Excel 1 cr
ITC 1135 PowerPoint 1 cr
ITC 1150 Introduction to Microsoft Access 1 cr
PA 1102 Introduction to the Law and Contracts 4 cr
PA 1115 Law Office Procedures and Technology 2 cr
PA 2201 or
PA 2202
Family Law or
Litigation and Trial Practice
3 cr
ENG 1108 Writing and Research Skills 4 cr
Electives in ITC (1000 Level), PA, or BUS 4 cr
Total Credits: 30
1 Students must obtain the program director's written approval one semester in advance of registration for internship.
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Course Descriptions

PA 1102  Introduction to Law and Contracts   4.0 cr

Introduces the student to state and federal court systems; civil and criminal law, including general contract law, tort law, and constitutional law; legal analysis, and the employment functions of paralegals and its ethical implications. Prerequisites: Placement in ENG 1108 or grade C or better in ENG 0099 and READ 0093/0094. Recommended: Students should enroll in ENG 1108 concurrently with PA 1102.

PA 1103  UCC and Business Organizations   4.0 cr

Introduces the student to the laws of sales, commercial paper, secured transactions, and the Uniform Commercial Code as well as agency and partnership, corporations and other business entities. There is an emphasis on the role of the lawyer and the paralegal in the formation of business entities which includes the preparation of related documents. Prerequisites: Grade C or better in PA 1102.

PA 1105  Criminal Justice System   2.0 cr

Introduces the student to the criminal justice system with special emphasis given to Minnesota law and procedure. Topics covered include: the Minnesota Criminal Code, police, attorneys, judges, constitutional rights, rules of evidence, plea bargaining, trials, and sentencing. Prerequisites: Placement into ENG 1108 or grade C or better in ENG 0099 and READ 0093/0094 or instructor or program director's permission. Recommended: Students should enroll in ENG 1108 concurrently with PA 1105.

PA 1115  Law Office Procedures & Technology   2.0 cr

Examines the general practices of the law office procedures and technology. This course is designed for students who have had no experience working in a legal office. Topics covered include ownership and management patterns in various practices, legal ethics, law office personnel, technology, marketing, long-range planning, finances, and document/case management systems.

PA 2201  Family Law   3.0 cr

Examines family legal issues involved in marriage, separation, dissolution of marriage, cohabitation, child custody, child and spousal support and non-support, property issues, paternity, adoption, and domestic abuse. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102.

PA 2202  Litigation and Trial Practice   3.0 cr

Examines selected aspects of the rules of evidence, principles of investigating and interviewing, practical applications of selected rules of civil procedure, discovery and preparation for trial and rules of professional responsibility. Particular emphasis is placed upon the role of the paralegal in the litigation process. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102.

PA 2204  Probate Law   3.0 cr

Examines wills, trusts, intestate succession, probate proceedings and estate administration under Minnesota Law. Provides an overview of relevant federal and state tax law as it pertains to estates. Provides practical experience in drafting estate, probate and tax documents. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102 or permission of instructor or program director.

PA 2205  Real Estate Law   3.0 cr

Provides the student with a general understanding of real property laws, the common types of real estate, and how to prepare certain routine real estate documents. The topics of mortgage foreclosure, contract for deeds, mechanics liens, title examination, and closings are also covered. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102 or permission of the Paralegal Director or Instructor.

PA 2206  Interviewing and Investigating Techniques for Paralegals   2.0 cr

Examines general techniques of interviewing and investigating with special emphasis placed on the practical aspects of interviewing witnesses and client, and investigating cases. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102 or instructor's permission.

PA 2208  Employment Law   2.0 cr

Provides an overview of the state and federal rules and regulations that govern the employment relationship. The topics of employment at-will shall be addressed, along with exceptions to the at-will doctrine. The course will also address the creation of implied employment contracts, wrongful discharge, employee privacy interests, and wage and hour regulations. Discrimination and sexual harassment will also be discussed with an emphasis on the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Students will study the Federal Title VII Civil Rights Act and its impact on the employment relationship. Recent legislative developments in the employment law arena will also be reviewed. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102 or instructor's permission.

PA 2212  Personal Injury & E-Discovery   2.0 cr

Examines selected major issues and themes in civil litigation involving personal injuries and wrongful death with primary emphasis on negligence and medical malpractice. Significant case law, statutes, rules, procedures, and evidentiary and e-discovery principles will be covered. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102 or instructor's permission.

PA 2218  Computerized Legal Research and the Internet   2.0 cr

Provides the paralegal student with hands-on basic training in the uses of computerized legal research engine(s) and the Internet. This course will include training in web search engines, browsers, searching and indexing tools, and the location of legal materials on the Internet. Also, this class will cover computer query formulation, search and retrieval techniques, citation services, and data base selections. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102 or instructor's permission.

PA 2220  Legal Research   3.0 cr

Provides an understanding of the law library and will assist the student in developing research skills through the use of digests, reporters, statutes, administrative materials and secondary materials. This course includes practice problems requiring legal research. The course also will include an introduction to computerized legal research. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 1102.

PA 2222  Legal Writing And Analysis   3.0 cr

Provides the student with experience in the development of analytical writing skills in the preparation of case and trial briefs, legal memoranda, investigative summaries, and general legal correspondence. Prerequisites: C or better in PA 2220 and ENG 1108. Recommended: Students should complete ENG 1111 or ENG 1114 prior to taking this course PA 2222.

PA 2289  Paralegal Internship   2.0 cr

Gives the preservice student practical work experience in the paralegal area. Provides the student with the opportunity to develop skills and abilities to understand law office's operation, apply the law and legal procedures, conduct legal research, write letters and memorandums, draft documents, contact clients or individuals, and maintain confidentiality and professional ethics. Prerequisites: Written permission of the Paralegal Program Director one semester in advance; C or better in PA 2220.

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Meet the Faculty

Ann Heimerman 651-450-3471 aheimer@inverhills.edu
Dionnedre Moore 651-450-3703 dmoore@inverhills.edu
Justin Bower 651-450-3298 dbower@inverhills.edu
Gerald Swarsensky B22a 651-450-3795 gswarse@inverhills.edu
Gregory Colby gcolby@inverhills.edu
Mary McLaughlin B132 651-450-3542 mmclaug@inverhills.edu
Melissa Houghtaling mhought@inverhills.edu
Phuong-Uyen Campbell 651-450-3290 pcampbe@inverhills.edu
Robert Mills B125a 651-450-3853 rmiller@inverhills.edu
Sally Dahlquist B135 651-450-3567 sdahlqu@inverhills.edu
Sean McCarthy 651-450-3634 smccart@inverhills.edu
Wayne Gilbert 651-450-3470 wgilber@inverhills.edu

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Employment Information

Legal administrative assistants work in organizations of all kinds, but the majority build careers at law firms, corporate legal departments and government agencies. Legal administrative assistants typically work full time; overtime occurs to meet deadlines.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than average for all occupations. Job competition will be vigorous, but college-educated legal assistants with exceptional computer and database management skills will have a distinct edge.

Legal assistants usually receive medical benefits, including dental coverage. Job satisfaction is high in this occupation.

  • Technology skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Writing skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Transcription
  • Attention to detail
  • Familiarity with legal documents and terminology
  • Teamwork
  • Multitasking skills
  • Research skills

Below are just a few examples of possible career paths that can start with earning an A.S. in Legal Administrative Assistant at Inver Hills.

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Why Inver Hills?

Completing your A.S. in Legal Administrative Assistant degree obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. Support attorneys and legal teams by drafting documents and interacting with clients
  2. Utilize advanced software and procedures common to the legal profession
  3. Build skills and networks through professional experiences in the legal community
  4. Receive an outstanding education with one-on-one interactions with Legal Administrative Assistant faculty
  5. Benefit from small class sizes in a program with a statewide reputation for excellence
  6. Save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

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