Course Descriptions for Advanced Paralegal Certificates


The Advanced Paralegal Institute (API) provides advanced level continuing legal education courses to legal professionals who wish to enhance their education and training. Continuing education should be an integral part of the careers of all paralegals who want to stay abreast of the trends and developments in their field. It supplements both formal and informal education and training, and helps paralegals keep up with the ever-changing laws and regulations in their particular specialty.

API Advanced & Specialty online paralegal courses are designed for legal professionals who have successfully completed a paralegal course of study with an earned degree or certificate. All courses are considered as Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and no placement assistance is provided. These are not entry level courses.

API  is the Official Provider of the Online Review Course for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). Please visit for details.


Course Descriptions

Advanced Litigation
2 credit hours

This course can be taken separately, or combined with selected courses to earn a Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialty certificate.

This course provides an in depth look at three aspects of civil litigation: (1) Procedures for instituting a civil action; (2) The skills, such as evidence gathering and trial preparation, necessary for a litigation paralegal; and (3) The appellate process. Students will review federal and state court jurisdiction, choice of forum issues, and service of process problems. Pretrial and trial skills to be developed include identifying issues raised through motions, providing supporting documents, having a working knowledge of the Rules of Evidence, investigation techniques, and using a conceptual framework for trial organization. In addition, appellate procedures involving both the trial and appellate courts will be examined.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
2 credit hours

This course presents Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) against the backdrop of traditional litigation. Eight basic methods of ADR, and several hybrids, are explained in detail. In addition, students will explore seven arenas where disputes often arise and how one or more methods of ADR apply. Students will evaluate disputes and disputants to determine the most appropriate method for resolving a matter. Specific topics addressed include negotiation, mediation, arbitration, settlement strategies, the application of ADR to specific disputes in various industries and sections of the bar, sources of ADR services, and the role of the paralegal in ADR.

Advanced Tort Law
2 credit hours

A review of the laws governing torts and personal injury. Special emphasis is placed on investigation, negligence and special negligence actions, defenses to negligence, intentional torts with injuries to persons and property, defenses to intentional torts, strict liability, products liability, special tort actions and tort immunities. This course also discusses the critical role played by paralegals in bringing and defending tort actions.

Advanced Corporate Law
2 credit hours

Advanced Corporate Law is designed for students who understand the basic principles of business organizations and are learning to draft more complicated documents and do research. The goals of the course are to demonstrate the application of the uniform laws, to compare language in sample clauses and forms, and to develop an understanding of the statutory framework for business organizations. Unit discussions include the law of agency, employment and compensation, sole proprietorships, general and limited partnerships, limited liability companies, the business corporation, corporate financial structure, and corporations in foreign jurisdictions.

Business Law
2 credit hours

This course can be taken separately, or combined with selected courses to earn Corporate Law Specialist Certificate.

This course is a survey of the basic principles of business law, including the law of contracts and the creation and operation of business entities. The first part of the course concerns the law of contracts, their enforcement and regulation according to common law and statutory guidelines. Topics include the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), types of contracts and the elements of binding contracts, defenses to valid contracts, how contractual duties are terminated, third party rights, damages, drafting and reviewing contracts. The second half of the course begins with a discussion of agency, and then covers the four main types of business formations: sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability corporations. The course ends with a brief discussion of the ways business organizations change and how companies borrow money.

Contract Law
2 credit hours

This course is a in-depth discussion of the law of contracts and the role of the paralegal in this area of law.  Particular attention is given to the six basic requirements for every valid contract: offer, acceptance, consideration, legality of subject matter, contractual capacity, and contractual intent.  Discussions also center upon the various classifications into which all contracts fall.  Additional topics include the Statute of Frauds, the Uniform Commercial Code, third party contracts, and legal remedies for breach of contract. Students will learn how to draft and interpret different types of contracts, and will analyze case law involving contract disputes.

Bankruptcy Law
2 credit hours

This course is a survey of the entire spectrum of Bankruptcy law, from consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 petitions, to an overview of the complexities of Chapter 11 business bankruptcies. The course will provide the student with a basic but complete analysis of bankruptcy theory and practice based on the United States Bankruptcy Code. Instruction in the activities which are conducted by paralegals in bankruptcy practice is a major focus of the course. Discussion topics include the filing of bankruptcy petitions, motion practice in bankruptcy, the role and powers of the bankruptcy trustee, dischargeability of debts, reorganization cases, and the analysis and preparations of Statements and Schedules.

Foreclosure Law
2 credit hours

Foreclosure is the main remedy that a mortgage holder has against a debtor property owner. In a foreclosure, the real property conveyed in a mortgage is sold and the proceeds of the sale are used to pay the debt. This course reviews the grounds for foreclosure, the types of foreclosure, the effects of a foreclosure sale, and the role of the paralegal in foreclosure proceedings. Remedies other than foreclosure are also discussed.

Debtor/Creditor Law
2 credit hours

Debtor/Creditor Law governs situations where one party is unable to pay a monetary debt to another. In this course, students learn about the types of creditors and the judicial and statutory processes available to them to have debts satisfied. This course also reviews the rights of debtors with regard to truth in lending, credit reporting agencies, debt collection practices, and identity theft.

Estates & Trust Law
2 credit hours

The study of wills, intestate succession, trusts, estate planning, family protection, probate courts, uniform laws, the personal representative, and the process of probating a will and administering an estate. Specific attention is given to the laws of intestate succession; the technical requirements for executing, revoking, and contesting wills; trusts, including special-purpose trusts; estate planning; family protection laws, probate courts, and uniform laws related to estates and trusts; the appointment, duties, and titles of a personal representative; and the techniques used in formal and informal probate proceedings, as well as ancillary administration.

Social Security, Medicare and Government Pensions
2 credit hours

A study of how Social Security and various retirement plans work together. Students will become familiar with benefits available under both systems and the forms and procedures involved. Specific attention is directed to the relationship between Social Security and other available federal, state, and private disability, retirement, and welfare programs. This course also addresses various private and governmental employment-based retirement plans.

Estate Planning
2 credit hours

Estate Planning introduces the paralegal student to the terms, concepts, and practical steps involved in helping clients make decisions about who will own their property after death, and how wealth may be transferred through lifetime transfers, trusts, and wills to achieve maximum tax and personal benefits. The course reviews the significant aspects of estate planning in the context of three fictional families, whose goals, strategies, and results are defined and explained. Students are able to analyze and apply their knowledge of estate planning by comparing the different family backgrounds and different personal and financial goals of these fictional families. Special attention is given to taxation and estate planning, as well as to drafting an estate plan.

Elder Law
2 credit hours

A study of the field of elder care law, including the areas of advance directives, wills and guardianships. Special attention is focused on patients’ rights in health care decision making, Medicare and Medicaid, managed care, long term care insurance, living facilities for the elderly, and financial planning for the elderly. Unit topics include the role of the paralegal as a member of the elder care law team, living wills and advance directives, the law of wills and guardianships, physician assisted suicide, managed care, nursing home and assisted living facilities, and Social Security benefits.

Intellectual Property Law
2 credit hours
A study of the four major disciplines of intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and patents. The goal of this course is to provide a background in intellectual property law and the skills required of an intellectual property paralegal. Discussion topics include: rights granted under copyright, principles of fair use, and the first sale doctrine; issues of ownership; copyright registration; state and federal trademark rights; federal trademark registration; securing Internet domain; trademark disputes; trade secrets; patent registration; and ownership, transfer and administration of patents. Students will work through an infringement lawsuit from cease and desist letter to settlement. In addition, specific emphasis is placed on the use of online research.

Copyright Law
2 credit hours

Copyrights protect original artistic, literary, musical and other works. The course begins with an overview of intellectual property law with the primary emphasis on copyright law. The student will be introduced to basic copyright concepts and types of protectible works. The course targets the differences between derivative works and compilations, and discusses what is not protectible under copyright law. The rights granted under copyright and principles of fair use and the first sale doctrine are also explored. Information is introduced about the rights of musicians, record companies, music broadcasters, and other entities in the music business. The concept of copyright authorship is also explored. Issues of ownership are examined and particular attention is devoted to the concept of works made for hire and the duration of copyrights. How copyrights are transferred is discussed and students will learn how to perform some basic copyright research. Students will also discover how to perform copyright registration. The basics of preparing and filing copyright applications, as well as dealing with copyright notice and correcting and canceling of registrations is explored. Copyright infringement, remedies that may be sought for same, and the common defenses to an infringement allegation will be examined. Lastly, the student will study alternative dispute resolutions and the basics of preparing an infringement litigation case.

Patent Law
2 credit hours

This course is designed for paralegal students who wish to understand the basic principles of Intellectual Property law and who wish to focus and specialize in the area of Patent Law. Intellectual Property overlaps four general fields of law: trademarks (which protect names, logos, symbols, and other devices indicating the quality and source of products and services); copyrights (which protect original works of authorship); patents (which are grants by the federal government that allow their owners to exclude others from making, using, or selling the owner’s invention); and trade secrets (which consist of a commercial information that, if disclosed, would give the competitor an advantage in the marketplace). This course deals exclusively with the law of patents. We will be covering the foundation of patent law, the patent searching process, the patent application process, the ownership rights associated with patents, how patent rights are transferred, the issues, remedies, and defenses involved in patent infringement actions, some of the new developments in patent law, and a general overview of International patent law.

Real Estate Ownership and Transfer
2 credit hours

This course introduces the student to the basics of real property law and then proceeds step-by-step through the essential skills necessary in a real estate practice. Discussion topics include: types of ownership, encumbrances to ownership, contracts, deeds, real estate finance, title examinations and title insurance, and real estate closings. Students will review the substantive issues of a real estate closing as well as the forms and examples of closing documents.

Trademark Law
2 credit hours

This course is designed for paralegal students who with to understand the basic principles of Intellectual Property law and focus on, or specialize in, Trademark Law. Intellectual Property overlaps four general fields of law: trademarks (which protect names, logos, symbols, and other devices indicating the quality and source of products and services); copyrights (which protect original works of authorship); patents (which are grants by the federal government that allow their owners to exclude others from making, using, or selling the owner’s invention); and trade secrets (which consist of any commercial information that, if disclosed, would give the competitor an advantage in the marketplace). This course deals exclusively with the law of trademarks. The course will cover the foundations of Trademark Law, how to select and search for existing trademarks, how to conduct the trademark registration process and post registration procedures, how to maintain a trademark, what is involved in Inter Partes, trademark infringement and dilution proceedings, and an overview of the new developments in Trademark Law and International Trademark Law.



Pace Review Course

API  is the Official Provider of the online review course for the PACE exam.

This course prepares the practicing paralegal to sit for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). If it is your goal to sit for the exam, please be sure you meet the entrance test requirements. This course is based on the PACE Study Manual published by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) and covers the following domains tested in PACE:

(a) Administration of Client Legal Matters,
(b) Development of Client Legal Matters,
(c) Factual and Legal Research,
(d) Factual and Legal Writing, and
(e) Office Administration.

This course also includes a unit devoted to ethics because this topic is covered in each domain. Students will assess their strengths and weaknesses in the various domains and focus on the material covered in these domains. At the end of each unit are sample test questions used to test students’ knowledge of the subject matter and to acquaint them with the types of questions that appear on PACE. There will also be instruction on how to tackle a multiple choice examination and more importantly, on how to take a computerized test. You will also receive an analysis of your weak areas and what domains you need to concentrate on as you conclude your test preparation.

Text: PACE Study Manual /Published by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. ( NFPA).  This book can be ordered through NFPA at

Ethics for Legal Assistants
1 credit

(Co-sponsored by the International Paralegal Management Association)

Paralegals must understand the effects their conduct can have upon their supervising attorney. The consequence for paralegals who do not follow the rules of ethical conduct could include losing their paralegal position with their employer. However, the consequences for the supervising attorney are potentially more severe. The attorney may be reprimanded, suspended, or even disbarred, depending upon the nature of the unethical conduct and state rules. This course focuses on issues of supervision and delegation, professional responsibility, unauthorized practice of law, confidentiality, conflict of interest, advertising, and handling client funds. The professional guidelines, state rules, statutes, and court decisions regarding ethical issues are also reviewed. Unit topics include: An Overview of Ethics; The Unauthorized Practice of Law; Professionalism; Confidentiality; Conflict of Interest; and Other Ethical Issues.

Text: The Legal Assistant’s Practical Guide to Professional Responsibility, by: The American Bar Association (ABA), published by: The American Bar Association.

Books: Included in the tuition and book shipped by AIPS to student.

Legal Writing
2 credit hours

This course is designed to strengthen the student’s writing, analysis, and critical thinking skills. The course looks at crucial issues of writing in the context of the practice of law. By defining an effective writing process, and examining how to write for the appropriate audience, students will learn how to apply principles of plain English, logical analysis and proper planning, organizing, and drafting to a variety of legal documents.

Legal Research and Writing
2 credit hours

This course is designed to provide students with a general understanding of the nature of legal research as well as experience using various techniques and methods for finding, interpreting and updating the law. Specific attention is given to: sources of law; primary and secondary legal materials; the citation system; factual and legal interpretation; statutory sources; administrative materials; legal encyclopedias; annotations and practice materials; government publications; and state and national case reporter series.