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Required Courses and Overall Curriculum (including Specialty tracks)
The program for students seeking the Paralegal Studies certificate consists of: (a) required "core" courses - these are the 3 courses required in all specialty tracks and the general track; (b) courses required for a particular legal specialty; and (c) elective courses, including a semester of internship experience eligible for 3 units of credit.

The courses of the core curriculum are: (1) PLS 7501 "Introduction to Paralegal Studies;" (2) PLS 7502 "Legal Research for Paralegals;" and  (3) PLS 7503 "Civil Procedure (the Lifecycle of a Civil Action)," which all students will take.  Required courses for a legal specialty track are specified in the following table:  

Legal SpecialtyRequired Specialty course
General trackPLS 7601 Legal Writing for Paralegals
Litigation track

PLS 7602 Advanced Civil Procedure (Discovery; Law and Motion)

Corporate track

PLS 7603  Business Organizations

Legal Technology

PLS 7604  Applied Legal Technology

Course Descriptions
Required "Core" Courses

PLS 7501  Introduction to the Paralegal Profession
Course covers the role and functions of the paralegal in the modern law office. Includes introduction to the court system, sources of law, legal procedures, law office technology, and issues of ethics and professional responsibility.

PLS 7502  Legal Research for Paralegals 
Introduces students to sources, tools, and techniques of modern legal research, including on-line research, and the use of research databases such Westlaw, WestlawNext, and Lexis-Nexis.

PLS 7503  Civil Procedure (The Lifecycle of a Civil Action) 
Introduces students to the California civil law system by following the "lifecycle" of a civil action. Following an overview of the court system, coverage includes pleading and practice from the initiating of a lawsuit, filing and answering a complaint; venue and subject-matter jurisdiction of the California courts, and process of obtaining personal jurisdiction over a party. Consideration of the discovery process and pre-trial motions; and trial setting conferences. Motions at and after trial, and the appellate process.

B.  Specialty Track Requirements

PLS 7601  Legal Writing for Paralegals (required in General track)
Helps students develop a clear prose style for the variety of writing tasks paralegals will be assigned, including, preparing pleadings; summarizing research in briefs and memoranda; drafting documents; and composing correspondence. Students receive systematic critique of their writing.

PLS 7602  Advanced Civil Procedure (required in Litigation track) 
Explores discovery procedures, including review of the California Code of Civil Procedure and practical application of discovery tools, in the preparation of a case for trial. Provides an in-depth examination of pre-trial, and post-trial motions and procedures, including appeals, and covers the role of paralegal in the satisfaction of a judgment.

PLS 7603   Business Organizations (required in Corporate track)

Considers choice of business entity, and covers basic concepts of agency law, business forms of sole proprietorship, general and limited partnerships, and limited liabilities companies, as well as corporations. Introduces the procedures to form and maintain a California, for-profit corporation, and introduces students to corporate governance and the relationship among shareholders, directors, and employees. 

PLS 7604  Applied Legal Technology (required in the Legal Technology track)
Reviews basic computer uses in the law office, moving to an introduction to database management systems, such as Concordance ®, that support electronic discovery. Introduces the concept of the paperless office, exposure to office management software, case organization and management software, litigation support, presentation and trial graphics, and the electronic courthouse. Introduction to common software programs such as CaseMap, TimeMap and Visionary.®

C.  Elective Courses

PLS 7701    Practicum: Public Or Private Sector Internship
Prerequisite: Completion of core courses, PLS 7501, 7502, and 7503. Allows students to participate in an internship, of 100 hours of practical training in a corporate, law firm or public entity setting. Is available each quarter, but students must contact Lisa Rauhauser, the program’s external coordinator, one quarter ahead of the quarter in which they plan to take the Practicum. This enables us to place the student with a law firm or public agency.  

PLS 7702  Family Law
Course introduces basic concepts of family law, with special reference to California law, including the obligations of Parent and Child; forms and validity of marriage; marital property rights and nature of Community Property; and issues incident to dissolution of marriage.

PLS 7703  Real Estate Law
Course covers the role and function of the paralegal in real property transactions. Examines basic concepts and procedures of real estate law, including interests and conveyances in real property, escrow and title insurance, and property taxes, and forms of ownership.

PLS 7704  Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property
A survey of the contractual and intellectual property issues relating to compensation of entertainers, athletes, and artists.  Issues of licensing and residual rights; and contracts for production of television and film projects are covered. Coverage of Copyright law; patents and trademarks, and the paralegal’s role in initial registration and subsequent protection of these rights of authorship, scientific and technological research, and creative processes.

PLS 7705 Computer Forensics and E-Discovery
An offering in the Legal Technology specialty track, the course covers computer investigations, or ‘data mining’ of electronic sources to recover, preserve, and retrieve evidence for trial. Recovery of email trails, archived and deleted material, and cell phone information are examples of areas covered in this introduction to “high-tech” investigations. Also, covers the portions of the “Electronic Discovery Reference Model” (EDRM) relating to preservation, analysis, and retrieval of materials received in the discovery process. Database design facilitates sorting electronic discovery items for relevance to a particular issue in a case, and provides for efficient retrieval of information in litigation support.  Hands-on introduction to leading database software used in litigation support.

PLS 7706  Advanced Corporate and Securities Law 
Offers more advanced coverage of corporate legal issues, especially those involving corporate management and the relations between shareholders, directors, officers, and creditors. Focuses on the rights of corporate investors and the duties of corporate officers and managers.  Introduces corporate financing through issuance of stock or debt-based securities; and covers state and federal securities laws, especially the role of the S.E.C. and regulation to curtail insider-trading and other securities fraud.

PLS 7707  Criminal Law 
A course in the substantive and procedural criminal law of California. Emphasis on the role and functions of the paralegal in the criminal law office, but conceptual framework on the elements of a crime, sentencing requirements and guidelines; and the Juvenile Justice system.

PLS 7708  Employment and Workers' Compensation Law  
Coverage of significant areas of employment law, include wage and hours laws; employment discrimination; and workplace treatment. Coverage then focuses on the Workers’ Compensation system and the paralegal's role in practice, including an understanding of typical on-the-job injuries and methods of compensation of victims. Coverage of the Administrative Law process and procedures.

PLS 7709  Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law
Surveys the paralegal's role in the estate planning and probate practice, including drafting of Wills, Trusts, and Durable Powers of Attorney; and the basic practice and procedures for settling a decedent’s estate through the court process of probate. Coverage of incapacity planning for elderly clients; and handling issues of elder abuse; role of Executor or estate representative in estate administration, and the settling of disputes as to a decedent’s property.

PLS 7710  Torts and Personal Injury Practice  
Overviews the law of torts, with an emphasis on the concepts of Negligence and duties of care; and applies these to claims in a typical personal injury practice.  Coverage of pleadings and discovery in a personal injury case, including the gathering of medical records and the deposition of medical experts. Measures of damages, and insurance coverage issues.

PLS 7711  Law of the Internet
Explores the range of legal issues related to both commercial and non-commercial uses of the Internet, including the law’s role in e-commerce and social media.  Examines the rights and duties of those who use the internet, including rights of privacy and Constitutional rights of free expression.  Includes coverage of cyber crimes and cyber mischief. Qualifies as an elective in the Legal Technology and the Corporate specialty track or as an independent elective. 

PLS 7712  Immigration Law
Provides the student with the content of substantive immigration law, including the Visa system, process of naturalization, and the practicalities of dealing with the INS and Dept. of Homeland Security. Qualifies as a business elective in the Corporate specialty track.

PLS 7713  Bankruptcy Law 
Provides an introduction to the Federal Bankruptcy law, with an emphasis on the role of the paralegal in the bankruptcy process.  Includes coverage of laws governing the creditor and debtor relationship. Qualifies as a business elective in the Corporate specialty track.  

PLS 7714 Contract Law
Introduces students to the basic principles contract formation including offer and acceptance, consideration, and legality and capacity. Considers elements of contract drafting and remedies for breach of contract - including in the context of modern e-commerce. Recommended business elective in the Corporate specialty track.


Kerry Ayazi, J.D., is a member of the California Bar and the chief compliance officer for a large, non-profit health agency.

Amy Cohen, Esq. is a member of the California Bar. Ms. Cohen specializes in business and probate litigation and her teaching interests include Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law, in addition to Civil Procedure.

Todd Frankel, M.S., is a paralegal supervisor with the Los Angeles office of a global law firm; his background is in litigation support for the employment law division of his firm. He uses legal technology extensively in his practice.

Myla Friedman, M.S., received her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from CSULA. She is a senior paralegal in the mitigation unit of the L.A. County Public Defender’s office.

Cheryl Garner, ACP,  is a senior paralegal specializing in litigation support with a large Los Angeles law firm. She is a certified instructor in CaseMap(R) and Sanction(R), and member of the the Litigation Committee of the Los Angeles Paralegal Association (LAPA).

Peter Hong, Esq., is a member of the California Bar, specializing in defense of workers’ compensation and employment discrimination claims. He has broad legal interests, and also teaches Family Law and Legal Writing in our program.

Merdaud Jafarnia, Esq., is a member of the California Bar currently practicing bankruptcy law with a regional California law firm.

Torrence Al Gay has extensive experience in litigation support and as a senior litigation technology specialist.  A graduate of Emory University, Al was a member of the academic bowl team as well as the track and field team.

Bowe Kurowski was formerly manager of the practice support department of a large Los Angeles law firm, and currently works with a major vendor of litigation support software. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Paralegal Studies Program.

Tamara Loveland is a litigation support specialist with experience in e-discovery issues arising out of complex litigation.  She is a board member of LAPA, and a member of its Downtown LA section, as well as member of Women in E-Discovery.

Nicole Lucy, J.D., Attorney and Member of the State Bar of California, currently directs the Paralegal training program at College of the Canyons, Valencia, CA., and is a lead instructor in Legal Research.

Courtney Medina, J.D., a member of the California Bar, practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, and general litigation. Ms. Medina also has experience in Family Law and corporate practice.

Gayane Mkrttchian is an experienced, certificated paralegal who also holds a Master's Degree in Sociology. She has experience in areas of complex litigation and intellectual property.  She currently teaches in the Civil Procedure sequence of courses.

Viken Mouradian, J.D., Member of the State Bar of California (inactive status). Mr. Mouradian, a graduate of USC Law School, has extensive experience in real estate practice, and teaches the course in Real Property.

Victoria Newmark, J.D., practices primarily in the area of Bankruptcy law, and has published a text through the American Bankruptcy Institute on "First Day Motions: A Guide to the Critical First Days of a Bankruptcy Case" (3rd ed., 2012). She teachers courses in Legal Writing and Bankruptcy practice.

Libby Pace is an experienced paralegal with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s office.  She frequently teaches the Role of Paralegal course, with an emphasis on critical thinking skills.

Rene Ramos, J.D., Criminal Law Attorney with 26 years in private practice, Member of the State Bar of California, the Mexican American Bar Association, and the California Public Defenders Associates.

Lisa Rauhauser, is a certificated paralegal in real estate and corporate practice. Lisa has extensive professional background in legal recruitment and placement.

Bobby Rimas, a senior paralegal in corporate practice, teaches courses in Intellectual Property; Immigration Law; and Legal Research.  He is a former president of the Los Angeles Paralegal Association

Donald Scoggins, Esq., is a member of the State Bar of California, and a sole practitioner in Los Angeles emphasizing the practice areas of estate planning and probate.

David Wiggins, Esq., is a member of the State Bars of California and of Hawaii and holder of an active secondary California teaching credential. Mr. Wiggins has more than 21 years experience in litigation practice.

Ida Zaghi, J.D., is a graduate of the Benjamin Cardozo Law School in New York City, where she was a member of the national moot court team, and a research assistant to several professors. She is a member of both the New York and California State Bars.