Litigation Specialty Online Paralegal Certificate Program


The American Institute for Paralegal Studies Litigation Specialty Online Paralegal Certificate Program is a comprehensive 12 month (6 months accelerated) program that includes all elements of the General Practice curriculum, plus a four course sequence focused on paralegal litigation practice. This program is highly recommended for anyone interested in challenging themselves at the highest level and preparing for advancement in law firms and corporate legal departments. The program is offered 100% distance learning in our collaborative online classrooms.

Online paralegal courses include:


A comprehensive study of the nature of the American judicial system and the paralegal profession. Attention is given to the role of the paralegal in the American legal system, an examination of where law originates and how it is classified, the structure of the federal and state court systems, and legal ethics.

A survey of the general nature of tort law, including intentional torts, negligence, strict liability and damages. Specific attention is given to investigation in personal injury litigation, case management, settlement and negotiation. Attention is also given to alternatives to litigation (ADR).

A thorough examination of the initiation of legal actions, the preparation of pleadings, motions, the discovery process, pre and post-trial activities, trial, and administrative matters important to the legal process.

A-107  FAMILY LAW    
The legal formalities of family law and its impediments are studied, including marriage, annulments, divorce, property rights and distribution, custody and visitation, alimony, separation agreements, adoptions, parent and child law. Students review the documents and pleadings typically seen in family law litigation, e.g. a complaint for divorce and a separation agreement.


The definition and elements of crimes are explained, including crimes against the person and crimes against property. Constitutional safeguards and procedures necessary from arrest through trial, sentencing and punishment are reviewed.

A survey of basic principles of corporation law including their creation and operation as well as a review of partnerships and proprietorships as business entities. Students will be required to prepare the documents necessary for incorporation, amendments, by-laws, and the recording of director’s meetings and minutes, dissolutions and liquidations.

The secondary thrust of the course will concern the law of contracts, their enforcement and regulation according to common law and statutory guidelines.


This course will provide legal assistants with a general understanding of the nature of legal research and its specific techniques and methodologies. Broad-based consideration will be given to the types of legal reference books: the state and national reporter series, legal encyclopedias, form books, and government publications.

Students use Lexis, one of the two major online law libraries, for the Legal Research course. Passwords are provided by the Institute. Current login instructions are posted in the on line American Institute -> Lexis Law Library Conference.

This six unit, self-directed workshop is designed to provide students with the basic skills necessary to perform simple searches using the Lexis-Nexis web interface. Each unit builds on skills learned in previous units and includes a self-test to insure competency in new skills. Students are not required to have completed any course work prior to taking this workshop. After completing the workshop, students should be able to log on to, select the appropriate source(s) and method for their search, retrieve and view those sources, and then print or store their search results. (Pass/Fail)


This is a six unit, self-directed workshop that is designed to provide students with an in-depth review of the law of professional responsibility as it affects paralegals, some tools for identifying and resolving ethical problems, and practical tips to use in everyday practice. It is based on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, but offers general guidance that can be adapted to practice in any jurisdiction. After completing the workshop, students should be familiar with the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA’s Model Guidelines for the Utilization of Legal Assistants, as well as the standards of professional conduct created by the National Association of Legal Assistants and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Students are also encouraged to explore their local rules of professional conduct. (Pass/Fail)

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.


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.


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


This course focuses on the role of the paralegal in preparing a case for trial, with specific emphasis on investigation and evidence. Students will explore the relationship of evidence law to investigation, learn how to plan an investigation, and discuss the types of evidence and the ways evidence can be preserved. Students will then take the next step in the litigation process by drafting complaints, reviewing the initiation of a lawsuit, and drafting responsive pleadings such as motions and answers. Finally, students will follow the steps in trial preparation, learn how paralegals assist at trial, and review the procedures employed after a verdict is rendered.


In this course students focus exclusively on the means and processes of exchanging information, exhibits, and documents between parties in a lawsuit. The course includes a review of the different types of discovery (interrogatories, depositions, production of documents) as well as the Federal Rules of Evidence governing discovery. Students will also be introduced to e-discovery – the discovery of electronically stored information.