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About This Course

This intensive program is designed for both beginning and experienced secretaries who are interested in improving their skills and working more efficiently within the law office. Students will study such topics as: legal terminology; legal process; jurisdiction and venue; ethics; written communications including letters, pleadings, discovery, notices and motions; filing procedures, billing and accounting; time management; records management; an overview of commonly used word and data processing programs; legal research; memoranda preparation, and citation format.

Course Objectives:

Participants will demonstrate the following skills through successful completion of all required coursework and assignments:

  • Discuss the origins and history of the American legal system
  • Define and apply important legal terminology
  • Discuss ethics for the law office
  • List the elements of tort law and contract law
  • Explain the important rules of civil procedure
  • Demonstrate how to conduct a legal interview and maintain good client relations
  • Demonstrate how to use some of the common word processing features specifically for the law office
  • Demonstrate how to prepare legal documents including letters, pleadings, discovery documents, motions and memos
  • Apply the basic rules of citation format
  • Define the elements of law office management


Students will be expected to spend an average of 8 hours per lesson reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that extensions will not be granted for this course. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course.


This course presumes a basic knowledge of word processing and a typing proficiency of at least 50 words per minute. Basic word processing and typing skills will not be covered in this course.

Course Books

Required textbooks for this course:

  • A Uniform System of Citation, most recent edition, is available through The Center for Legal Studies.

Highly Recommended Legal Resources:

  • Oran’s Dictionary of the Law, 4th Edition, by Daniel Oran. Clifton Park: Delmar Cengage Learning
  • Legal Secretary Handbook 2nd Edition, ISBN# 978-0-9637248-3-0, is available from The Center for Legal Studies

For more information, call The Center for Legal Studies at 888-930-4047, or visit our Online Store to order.

Lesson Topics

Lesson One: Introduction to the American Legal System
Lesson Two: The Litigation Process and Legal Ethics
Lesson Three: An Overview of Civil Procedure, Contract Law, and Tort Law
Lesson Four: Computers in the Law Office and Law Office Management
Lesson Five: Legal Writing Style and Citation Format
Lesson Six: Letter Writing and Preparing Common Court Documents


For each lesson’s topic you will submit a 50-point short answer/essay exam covering the topics in that lesson’s reading.

Writing Assignments:

Your writing assignment is to prepare a group of legal documents. The assignment is worth 100 points and is due with your Lesson Six assignments.

Reflection Assignments:

You will also submit your responses to six reflection assignments. These assignments must be submitted with each lesson and make up your class participation grade. All lesson objectives, assignments, and tests can be found in the Lesson Material packet.


Your grade will be based on your completion of six tests and one writing assignment and six reflection assignments.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

  • The six tests are 50 points each and comprise 60% of your grade.
  • The one writing assignment is worth 100 points and comprises 30% of your grade.
  • The six reflection assignments are 10 points each and comprise 10% of your grade.

Refund Policy

  • Students have 30 days from the date they register for the Text-only course to return all course materials and drop the class to receive a refund less a $100 non-refundable administrative fee. Materials, including all printed handouts must be received by CLS in new condition no less then 30 days from the date of purchase. No items will be accepted after 30 days.
  • If students drop after 30 days from their registration date no refund will be issued.

Please NOTE: If you registered for a CLS course directly with the college or university, you are subject to the school’s refund/drop policies.