I'm a former College and High School teacher who has worked for over 20 years in the legal profession as a litigation paralegal. Having taught law at various business and community colleges, it has been my experience that the schools try to hard to emulate law schools in what material they teach. I'm a graduate of law school and almost but not quite a licensed attorney so that qualifies me a someone who has first hand knowledge what should be done to make legal assistants immediately more effective and valuable in law firm environments. For example, I taught legal research and writing in two different business colleges. The difference between them represents my point. In the first college, the focus was on writing summaries of facts and using legal resource materials, how to use Shepard's Citation, Blue Books, finding legal authorities. In the second college, students were required to draft legal arguments in the form of trial and appellate briefs. This, I believe is a huge waste and mistake since it does not reflect what skills a law firm looks for when it hires a legal assistant. Most law school students don't know this stuff until the first year of law school. A legal assistant working in the litigation area needs to be able to identity proper courts, parties and pleadings in both federal and state court practice. For example, you may have the same case name identifying parties in lawsuits filed in several different jurisdictions, i.e., federal question (bankruptcy, diversity jurisdiction i.e., parties are in federal court merely b/c they are reside in different states or a state action. The paralegal college I attended long before law school focused on civil procedure and local rules of court. Your training should focus on the same and more.
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