Introduction to Paralegal Studies

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PAR 101

       Course Name: Introduction to Paralegal Studies

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Placement into EGL 101, or completion of EGL 101 (or equivalent) with minimum grade of C.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course covers the functions of law; courts and lawyers in modern society; the origin, training and role of the paralegal; professional responsibilities of the lawyer; fields and specializations within the practice of law; and legal research and writing based upon a review of the sources and works of law.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the training and role of the paralegal.
  2. explain the role of the lawyer in modern society.
  3. explain the ethical and professional standards applicable to lawyers and paralegals.
  4. discuss the various fields of law that exist.
  5. explain the federal, state, and local court systems.
  6. demonstrate an understanding of the specializations within which the paralegal may be employed.
  7. demonstrate an understanding of the function and organization of the law library.
  8. use the various legal sources available for legal research.
  9. demonstrate the use of digests, legal encyclopedias, reporter systems, practice manuals, and computer‑assisted legal research

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Functions of the Legal System
    1. Law
    2. Courts
    3. Lawyers
    4. Others
  2. Origin, Training, and Role of the Paralegal
  3. Professional and Ethical Responsibilities of the Lawyer and the Paralegal
  4. Introduction to the Discipline of Law
  5. Fields and Specialization of Law Practice
    1. Corporate
    2. Litigation
    3. General Practice
    4. Family Law
    5. Tax Law
    6. Real Estate
    7. Criminal Law
    8. Other Areas
  6. Sources of Law
    1. Legislative
    2. Judicial
    3. Administrative
  7. Law Library
    1. Facilities and Arrangements
    2. Classification and Identification
      1. Card numbers
      2. Card catalog
      3. Card catalog substitutes
    3. Special Library Sources
  8. Legal Bibliography and Research
    1. Legal Encyclopedias
    2. Digests
    3. Court reporters
    4. Statutes and Relating Materials
    5. Federal Statutes and Legislation
      1. Indexes and guides
    6. Citations
    7. Legal Texts
    8. Court Rules
    9. Administrative Agency Rules
      1. Regulations
      2. Decisions
    10. Loose leaf Services
    11. Periodicals
    12. Restatements, Treatises, Uniform State Laws, and Dictionaries
    13. Form Books and Printed Forms
    14. Law Dictionaries
    15. Computer Assisted Legal Research
  9. Basic Elements of Legal Research

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Field trips
  4. Films
  5. Library problems/worksheets
  6. Legal writing assignments

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading Assignments
  2. Writing Assignments

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Currier, Introduction to Law for Paralegals, Aspen, 3rd ed., 2006.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Examinations
  2. Quizzes
  3. Written case briefs
  4. Written legal memoranda

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.