News Release| Extended Studies-Legal Technology; Cal State L.A.

Cal State L.A. announces Paralegal Studies Certificate Program

New Legal Technology Track launched this fall 2011

Los Angeles, CA  --- Cal State L.A.’s College of Extended Studies and International Programs has announced, that beginning this Fall Quarter, the Paralegal Studies Program is offering courses in a new Legal Technology track, with curriculum recently approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Paralegals. 

The Legal Technology track was developed to address the dramatic impact technology has had on legal practice.  Its goal is to equip students to understand and use the most popular types of software and legal programs currently employed by law firms, including training in electronic filing of pleadings; in database design to store and retrieve documents received in “e-discovery”; in the use of data-mining techniques employed in high-tech computer investigations; and in the use of graphics and visual presentation methods that bring technical innovation into the courtroom.   

Developments in cyberlaw—including the criminal activities of hacking and computer mischief, and issues of e-commerce—are also covered in this innovative track, which may be useful to experienced paralegals, or students in other tracks, on a single-course basis as well as to students taking a series of courses to attain the specialty designation.

Legal Technology Course Descriptions and Anticipated Quarter Offerings:

The following list includes the elective courses of the new Legal Technology track, following the description of the “core” technology course currently required of all paralegal certificate students (the anticipated quarters reflect current scheduling, but are subject to change).

PLS 755  “Law Office Technology” (offered fall 2011), now required in all tracks, provides a general introduction to computer hardware and software used in the law office, including application of the Microsoft Office suite of programs to legal practice.  Coverage is also given to timekeeping and billing programs and to calendaring programs beyond the capabilities of Microsoft Outlook.

PLS 764  “Applied Legal Technology” (offered winter 2012) begins with a review of basic computer uses in the law office, including e-filing of pleadings, and moves to coverage of the popular legal database Concordance, which is used for e-discovery and for specialized software for litigation support, including CaseMap, TimeMap, and Visionary.

PLS  765  “Computer Forensics” (offered winter 2012) covers computer investigation, or data mining, of electronic sources to recover and preserve evidence for trial.  Recovery of email trails, archived and deleted material, and cell phone information are examples of areas covered in this introduction to the methods of conducting high-tech investigations. 

PLS 771  “Trial Technology” (offered spring 2012) covers software available for visual presentations at trial, including graphics, text enhancement, and video clips.  The course introduces students to the use of such programs as Power Point, Visionary, and Sanction.

PLS 772  “Database Design, and e-Discovery” (offered summer 2012) introduces students to the creation of databases for litigation support, including techniques of imaging, storing, and retrieving documents received in the discovery process.  Coverage includes concepts of bibliographic document coding and abstract versus full-text databases.

PLS 773  “Principles of Cyberlaw” (offered fall 2012) provides background on crimes in cyberspace, including regulation of pornography and cyber stalking, hacking and computer mischief, and international conventions on cybercrime. (2 units)

PLS 769  “Online Dispute Resolution” (offered fall 2012 or winter 2013) provides an overview of the resolving of disputes in electronic commerce, including domain name dispute, trends in using online capabilities as a form of mediation, and online dispute resolution versus alternate dispute resolution. (2 units)

Course Fees:

The cost for each Paralegal Studies course, covering 10 weeks of instruction plus a finals week, is $600 plus a required Westlaw research fee of $41 per quarter.  The price of textbooks is not included in this course fee, but such textbooks may be purchased or in many cases rented, at a source of the student’s choice.  Course fees are subject to a discount of 10 percent for members of the CSULA Alumni Association or the L.A. Paralegal Association (LAPA). 


All Paralegal Studies courses are taught by adjunct faculty, who are practicing attorneys, practicing paralegals, or paralegal supervisors.  All faculty members have experience in working with, or practicing as, paralegals, and are familiar with the requirements and laws of California pertaining to the training and practice of paralegals. 

For more information on the requirements for the Legal Technology specialty track, or to enroll in a course, please visit and click on the Paralegal Studies tab. 

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