Welcome Letter PLGL 205

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PLGL 205   Civil Procedure and Litigation (CRN 72593)

Paralegal Studies Program, Fall 2023

Stacey Hunt, CLA, CAS                                                                                                                                               

Welcome to Civil Procedure and Litigation, offered as Course No. PLGL 205 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.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONThis course introduces the principles and management of civil litigation in state and federal courts including pretrial, trial and post-trial practice and procedure.  Procedures used in case settlement and in alternative dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration will also be covered.


After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the role and ethical responsibilities of the paralegal on the litigation team and describe the different stages of civil litigation, including the pretrial stage, the trial stage and the post-trial stage.
  2. Relate the basic differences between state and federal civil litigation procedures as well as the differences between local, state and federal forms.
  3. Properly prepare pleadings, forms, motions and other litigation documents as well as other relevant materials utilized as the pretrial, trial and post-trial stages.
  4. Engage in assisting in information and evidence gathering, client and witness interviewing along with discovery and manage case files generated through these activities.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the appropriate legal application software by utilizing the software in the preparation and management of forms and documents relevant to civil litigation.
  6. Describe the considerations and procedures involved in case settlement and alternative dispute resolution and assist in preparing for case settlement and alternative dispute resolution.
  7. Assist at the trial and the post trial stages including managing trial materials and preparing post-trial motions.

This course is a hybrid course.  I have scheduled Zoom meetings every other Wednesday night at 7:00 pm, which will last between 30-60 minutes, depending on the material and the number of questions asked.   There will eight class meetings via Zoom on the following Wednesdays:  8/16, 8/30, 9/13, 9/27, 10/11, 10/25, 11/29, and 12/6.  Please note that the 9/27 meeting is required as there will be a group project.  The remainder of the course will be taught in Canvas.

REQUIRED TEXT:   Litigation by the Numbers by Julie A. Goren, Esq., revised July 2023, and the substantive companion book California Civil Litigation and DiscoveryThe Cuesta bookstore will have a limited supply of the text and companion book for students on financial aid who must purchase the book on campus.  It is best if you order them from directly from the publisher by using this link. and choosing Option 1.

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. 

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS:  You will be assigned approximately 9-10 hours per work each week for this 4-unit class.  You will be reading from the assigned texts, drafting and submitting documents, researching online, and discussing your ideas in class and 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 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 classroom discussion and the expression of varying points of view. The more interaction you have with me and with your classmates in class and via the online forums, the more understanding you will have on all of the little nuances of our judicial system.  Your effort in participating will reap great benefits down the road.

EXAMINATIONS:  There will be one mid-term and one final examination.

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDSIf you require disabled students services we have excellent facilities at Cuesta. You will find information on the Disabled Students and Program Services web pageLinks 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!

WHEN YOU HAVE QUESTIONS:  If you have any questions or if something isn’t clear to you, don’t hesitate to contact me. As a student I hated when I felt I had wasted time on an assignment that had not been fully explained, and I most certainly don’t want to put any of you through that. You are here to learn everything you can about how a paralegal works with attorneys in a civil lawsuit, and I am here to teach you that to the best of my ability. I have been a paralegal for 30 years. I won’t say I’ve seen it all (because that is just no possible in the law!), but if you work hard, you should leave this class with a good grasp of what will be expected of you on the job.

Please feel free to e-mail me at Anastasia_hunt@cuesta.edu or paralegalsh@gmail.com or telephone or text me at 805.748.4593 if you have any questions about this class or the assignments. I am here for you so don’t hesitate to reach out.

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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