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PLGL 0100-0101: Paralegal Certificate

Course Description
Topics Highlights
Certificate Requirements
Financial Aid Sources

image of law book and wig

In Partnership with:

The Center for Legal Studies
Achieving Excellence in Legal Education Since 1980


This intensive, nationally acclaimed program is designed for beginning as well as advanced legal workers. Students will be trained to assist trial attorneys, interview witnesses, investigate complex fact patterns, research the law, and assist in preparing cases for courtroom litigation. The instruction is practice-oriented and related to those areas of the law in which legal assistants are most in demand.

Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, as employers try to reduce costs by hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers*

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the Internet at
  • Print registration form (fax or mail)
  • Register online*
  • *Full payment by Visa or MasterCard only required at the time of online registration.

    January 24-March 7, 2015 (Sunday, Saturday)
  • Time: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Location: ARL     Status: Open

  • February 21-May 16, 2015 (Saturday)
  • Time: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Location: PW     Status: Open

  • June 6-July 19, 2015 (Sunday, Saturday)
  • Time: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Location: ARL     Status: Open

  • September 12-October 18, 2015 (Sunday, Saturday)
  • Time: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Location: ARL     Status: Open

  • September 19-December 12, 2015 (Saturday)
  • Time: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Location: PW     Status: Open

  • Please click here for online course dates.


    Each seminar is recommended for:
  • 8.4 CEUs
  • 84 Contact Hours
  • Onsite Opportunity

    This course is also available on a contract basis and can be tailored to suit your organization's needs. Please contact us to discuss your onsite opportunity.

    Contact Info.
    Herndon Training Center at CIT
  • Online contact form
  • Address:
      George Mason University
    Office of Continuing Professional Education
      2214 Rock Hill Road, Suite 400
      Herndon, VA 20170-4213
  • Telephone: 703-993-4800
  • Fax: 703-993-4811

    • A total of 84 hours of instruction in a classroom of your peers.
    • Upon successful completion of the program you will receive a Certificate of Completion from George Mason University.
    • Research can be done at George Mason University's law library in Arlington.
    • This program will help students increase their office's efficiency, productivity, and billable hours as well as learn new marketable job skills.


    Legal Terminology, Documents and the Litigation Process

    The first session focuses on the history of American jurisprudence, the theory of law, the legal process, and the nature of litigation. Discussion will cover pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures. You will learn how to prepare a complaint, answer, third party complaint, and motion for summary judgment.

    Introduction to the Evidentiary Predicate

    During this session we will review the rules of evidence and civil procedure as well as basic interviewing and investigation techniques and the development and use of demonstrative evidence. You will prepare discovery matter such as interrogatories, requests for admissions, and requests for production of documents.

    Identifying Relevant Authority

    Throughout this session you will learn how to identify relevant law and determine the differences between primary, secondary, and mandatory persuasive authority, compared to hypothetical situations.

    Introduction to Legal Research

    During this session you will learn research techniques for use in legal memoranda, motions, and briefs. A concise approach to legal research and the West Key Number System will be discussed.

    Legal Research Practice

    Legal research skill will be reviewed with emphasis on shepardizing statutory and case law and an introduction to computerized legal search terminals. Numerous research assignments will be given, discussed and critiqued.

    Legal Writing and Appellate Procedure

    This session will concentrate on the preparation and critique of legal memoranda, including an interoffice memorandum of law and appellate brief. Principles of appellate procedure will also be reviewed. Proper citation format will be covered along with a discussion of job hunting techniques and job leads for those seeking their first employment as paralegals.


    Completion of the Certificate Program

    • Students will be expected to complete a significant amount of homework for each session.
    • Students must successfully complete and pass all course requirements to be awarded a certificate.
    • To receive a certificate, students must pass six quizzes and successfully complete five legal document-writing assignments. Assignments include, but are not limited to, creating an interoffice memo, preparing a cover and resume for instructor critique, drafting a motion, and preparing an answer to a complaint served to you by a fellow classmate.
    • Students cannot have more than two absences.

    Textbooks–not included in course registration fee. Please visit for more information.

    Westlaw–legal research access–fee not included in course registration. Please contact the Center for Legal Studies at 1-800-522-7737 or for information and Westlaw pricing.


    Please click here for instructor information


    Click here for continuing education financial aid information.


    • “This course was more than I expected. It was well worth the cost of the course.”
    • “This course covered a lot of information. Many of the topics discussed I have been able to apply in my current job.”
    • “Great course for people of any age or professional background.”
    • “A comprehensive overview of law through inquiry and debate that illuminated the subject matter and made for an engaging and rewarding classroom experience.”
    • “Great course- all course materials presented are relevant and I would recommend it to others.”
    • “This course exceeded my expectations. The instructor was very knowledgeable and shared very valuable information.”
    • “[This course] gave me an excellent introduction to the skills and knowledge needed to enter the profession.”
    • “It’s a fantastic way to learn the basics and essentials of paralegal work, especially if you’re not already in the law field but hope to transition that direction.”
    • “Kept interest high and was fair in dealing with students.”
    • “The instructor was interesting, knowledgeable and enjoyable! He showed an interest in all of our work, studies, etc. He is excellent at making this course a worthwhile experience.”




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