Welcome Letter PLGL 131

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PLGL 131   Current Ethical Issues for Paralegals CRN 72594

Paralegal Studies Program, Fall 2023

Stacey Hunt, CLA, CAS


Welcome to Current Ethical Issues for Paralegals, offered as Course No. PLGL 131 for the paralegal studies program at Cuesta College for the Fall of 2023.  Please carefully review the following information about the class regarding academic matters and class policies.


Examines current ethical issues for paralegals using case law and examples of lawyer and paralegal misconduct.


After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the different sources of ethical rules and guidelines for paralegals.
  2. Identify the general ethical rules regarding the unauthorized practice of law, including attorney supervision requirements.
  3. Relate the general rules regarding the duty of confidentiality and how the rules regarding attorney-client privilege impact the paralegal.
  4. Explain the rules regarding conflicts of interest and identify the types of activities and transactions that could pose a risk of conflict of interest.
  5. Identify work-place situations which could potentially pose ethical issues in order to protect oneself from participation in unethical behaviors in the workplace.

COURSE MEETINGS:  This course is entirely web-based and will take place over three weeks from 8/15/22 through 9/2/22.  New units will be introduced weekly on Monday and all work must be completed by Sunday, unless otherwise indicated.  All lessons will be asynchronous. 

REQUIRED TEXT:   None.  Reading materials will be provided.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS:  You should have a PC or Mac that is three years old or less with a current operating system and browser (i.e., Chrome, Internet Explorer).  You should have access to an Internet connection that is fast enough to view online videos.  You will need a word processing program to create documents and Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded at no cost.  I post my PowerPoints both in native format and as PDFs.  You will need to know how to use Canvas, browse the Internet, and download and upload documents. 

The link to get into Canvas is https://cuesta.instructure.com .  Your login name will match your my.cuesta login name.  Your password will match your my.cuesta password.  Canvas Quick Reference Guide: https://www.cuesta.edu/student/documents/distance_ed_students/Canvas_Quick_Reference_Students.pdfLinks to an external site.

Canvas Technical Support: https://www.cuesta.edu/academics/distance/technical_support.htmlLinks to an external site.

ATTENDANCE:  Regular attendance is as important in web-based classes as it is in a traditional classroom.  Critical thinking and ability to communicate are skills essential to the paralegal profession, and your class participation will provide you with an opportunity to further develop these skills, even online. 

The weekly units follow a regular schedule for submission of work so that you will be able to schedule your time more easily and get assignments turned in on time.  You will be expected to log into the course several times per week to contribute to online class discussions.  Pace yourself each week and don’t save up all the work until the last minute.  As a paralegal, you will constantly have to prioritize and plan to get through your real-life workload, so this will be good preparation for you.

Because we are packing 10 weeks into a three-week course, each week will have two parts to it.  Part 1 will include two chapters of reading, one online post, and one homework assignment, all of which should be completed by Wednesday.  Part 2 will include another chapter of reading, one online post and one homework assignment, all of which should be completed by Sunday.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS:  You will be assigned approximately 4-5 hours per work each week for this 1-unit class.  You will be reading from the assigned text, submitting homework, and discussing your ideas on the discussion boards.  You are responsible for turning assignments in on time.  Assignments turned in late will lose one letter grade for each week they are late. 

The law, and especially ethics, is a dynamic field with lots of gray areas and often there are no clear answers. An issue which at first may seem very straightforward to you can sometimes become very different following class discussion and the expression of varying points of view. The more interaction you have with me and with your classmates via the online forums, the more understanding you will have on all of the little nuances of our judicial system. It will take some work to recreate online the open discussion that occurs naturally in face-to-face classes. Your effort in participating will reap great benefits down the road.

EXAMINATIONS:  There will be one final examination.

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS If you require disabled students services we have excellent facilities at Cuesta. You will find information on the Disabled Students and Program Services web page.Links to an external site.  In addition please let me know it I can assist you in anyway. I am happy to work closely with you and the DSPS to make this as rich a learning experience as possible for all!

Miscellaneous information:

Add policy: https://www.cuesta.edu/student/studentservices/admrreg/arpolicies/addcourse.htmlLinks to an external site.

Drop policy: https://www.cuesta.edu/student/studentservices/admrreg/arpolicies/dropcourse.htmlLinks to an external site.

Code of Conduct: https://www.cuesta.edu/about/documents/vpss-docs/StudentConducttrifold-brochure_2017.pdfLinks to an external site.

Readiness for Online Learning: https://www.cuesta.edu/academics/distance/survey.htmlLinks to an external site.


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