Education: Paralegals Learn The Workings Of Civil Litigation


Paralegals can perform nearly the same duties as an attorney, from preparing important court documents, interviewing clients, to developing the best practices for docket techniques. Consequently, it is essential that whether or not they are assigned to a litigation team or a transactional team, they must know and thoroughly understand the litigation process. This is why civil litigation is one of the required courses for a paralegal degree program.
Paralegals need to be thoroughly familiar with civil litigation because there are many steps in between an initial filing of a case and the final judgment. Paralegals assist the attorneys in completing every step of the civil procedure process including conducting research, preparing briefs, writing motions, and collecting discovery during this process. Consequently, they must be as knowledgeable as the attorney they work for when it comes to understanding the civil process.
This course is usually taught as two classes. The first one might cover all of the events before the actual trial. Civil litigation begins with what is known as the "triggering event." This is when there is a specific event that results in personal or property damage, and the plaintiff seeks monetary retribution. Students learn that the triggering event leads to the pleading of a case; this involves two actions. The first is the filing of a written complaint by the plaintiff in which the document recommends jurisdiction, sets the facts of why compensation is sought, and presents the actual amount demanded.
The second action to pleading a case is based on the complaint itself. The defendant is served with a writ of summons. The writ of summons informs the defendant of the ensuing action. If the defendant does not respond to the complaint, the award of judgment will be awarded as a default. Summons must be served according to state guidelines and enough time must be given so that the defendant can organize his or her own legal defense.
From classroom instruction on the various motions, paralegal students learn which side can request what motion and what constitutes a dismissal. Motion to dismiss is generally made at the bequest of the defendant. This gives the defendant an opportunity to have the trial dismissed due to legal insufficient matters. This can be requested due to incomprehensible allegations, incorrect venue, or inappropriate serving of the summons.
Either party can request a motion for summary judgment. This motion clears up controversies when no genuine issues of material fact exist. Affidavits and depositions are required to prove that there is no need for a trial because there is no factual dispute between parties. Motion for summary judgments can be granted, but they are frowned upon because it deprives one of the parties an opportunity to make a case at trial.
The course teaches paralegal students the importance of discovery and how to review discovery content in order to utilize it for maximum effect. Each party is granted equal access to relevant facts concerning the case. Tools of discovery exist in the form of depositions, written interrogatories, production documents, medical examinations, and requests for admissions.
Part one of this subject of study walks the paralegal student through the first part of the civil procedure process. The insight paralegal students gain and the processes they learn are central to understanding the various steps, filings, and motions involved with civil law. It is important for those who are interested in this field to obtain a paralegal studies degree, which may be earned by taking online college courses.



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