Welcome Letter PLGL 209

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Welcome to Technology in the Law Office - PLGL 209, CRN 33077

Paralegal Studies Program, Spring 2023     

Stacey Hunt, CLA, CAS

Welcome to Technology in the Law Office, offered as an online course starting January 17, 2023.  While the legal profession was slow to adopt it, technology is now a part of every office in every type of practice, and its use is growing exponentially.  Some software is generic to all practices, such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and searching on the World Wide Web.  Other types of software are very practice specific such as programs that manage electronically produced documents in litigation or software that calculates child and spousal support in family law.  Rest assured you don’t have to be a computer “geek” to survive in a law office.  Like it or not, however, you will need to have some proficiency in technology and this class will help you with that. Also, computers can get you into ethical dilemmas with the speed of light, so we will cover ways to protect yourself and your firm and clients.

COURSE OVERVIEW AND LEARNING OUTCOMESThis course introduces the student to the use of technology by paralegals in the law office.  The course includes an overview of law office technology and the ethical issues raised by the use of such technology.  We will cover computer applications in the law office including word processing and document assembly, spreadsheets, database management, law office management, case management and litigation support as well as electronic discovery, computer-assisted legal and factual research.  Please be prepared to spend 8-10 hours per week on coursework for this class.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the role of the paralegal in utilizing technology in a legal setting.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of computer technology and the use of computer hardware and software in the law office.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of and the ability to utilize various computer applications in the law office.
  4. Explain the use of and demonstrate the ability to perform computer-assisted legal research.
  5. Discuss the ethical issues surrounding technology in a legal setting.

The syllabus will be available in Canvas and contains important information such as the best ways to contact me and a tentative assignment schedule.

COURSE MEETINGS:  Although this is a fully online course, there will be eight mandatory Zoom meetings on the following Wednesdays:  1/18, 2/1, 2/15, 3/1, 3/15, 3/29, 4/12, 4/26, and 5/10.  Lecture will be from 7:00pm to 8:00 pm on those nights.  The remainder of the course will be taught in Canvas. 

REQUIRED TEXT:   Instead of a textbook you will be purchasing a one-year membership with the National Association of Legal Technology.  The cost is $160, pretty much the same price as a textbook, but you will have access to a wide range of legal technology, and you will get hands-on learning for up to 26 different software.  At the end of the semester, if you complete the required tutorials for class, you will also qualify for a certificate in Legal Technology which you can put on your resume when job hunting.  Here is the link to their web site where you will sign up.  https://legaltechsociety.wildapricot.org/ Links to an external site.  If you are getting student aid and need to use those funds to purchase the membership, the campus bookstore will be able to help you.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS:  You should have a PC or Mac that is five 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.  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.  If you are unfamiliar with canvas, here is a link to information for students:   https://guides.instructure.com/m/4212

Distance learning is not for everyone. Cuesta has a web page full of information about how to learn online, including online learning tutorials.  If this is your first distance education class, I recommend taking a look.  https://www.cuesta.edu/academics/distance/index.html Links to an external site.

ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY:  Please review Cuesta’s Student Code of Conduct and Academic Honesty Agreement.  The provisions of these documents will be followed and enforced in this class.

https://www.cuesta.edu/about/documents/vpss-docs/Student_Conduct_4_27_21/Student_Code_of_Conduct_3.pdf Links to an external site.

https://www.cuesta.edu/about/documents/vpss-docs/Academic_Honesty_Agreement.pdf Links to an external site.


Below are links to information from Cuesta’s web site on how to add classes and drop deadlines.

https://www.cuesta.edu/student/studentservices/admrreg/arpolicies/addcourse.html Links to an external site.

https://www.cuesta.edu/student/studentservices/admrreg/arpolicies/dropcourse.html Links to an external site.

WHEN YOU HAVE QUESTIONS:  If you have any questions prior to the first day of class, or if something isn’t clear to you, don’t hesitate to contact me.  Email me at paralegalsh@gmail.com or Anastasia_hunt@cuesta.edu or telephone or text me at 805.748.4593.  I am here for you so don’t hesitate to reach out.


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