Paralegal & Legal Studies

Learn the practical skills needed to successfully perform legal tasks while earning an Associate in Applied Science degree. In our Paralegal and Legal Studies program, you’ll not only learn about wills, lawsuits and other legal situations paralegals are involved with, you’ll actually gain experience doing the tasks that will be expected of you in those situations.

Become competent in your ability to evaluate cases, conduct client and witness interviews, draft court pleadings and motions, perform legal research, prepare legal documents, manage and organize case files and help attorneys prepare for trials and hearings. Through a law-office internship, you’ll gain experience writing wills and drafting lawsuits.

This on-the-job experience along with the advanced coursework ensures that you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed to gain employment in a law firm, insurance company or government agency. Many local employers look to Iowa Lakes in order to fulfill their employment needs. When the time comes, you’ll be fully prepared to thrive as a paralegal.

Faculty Contact

Kayla Evans
Paralegal/Legal Program
712-362-7979 Ext: 7979 | kevans@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details

PROGRAM LENGTH: 5 terms

DEGREE: Associate in Applied Science (70 credits)

CAMPUS: 100% Online

Internship/Practicum

Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $30,401

Average Salary: $46,989

Projected Employment Growth: 2.2%

Online availability 100%

What you'll learn

In the Paralegal & Legal Studies program at Iowa Lakes, you will learn how to:1

  1. Analyze case law and statues to apply legal principles to factual situations.
  2. Communicate effectively through client interviews and telephone and written correspondence with attorneys, clients, witnesses and court personnel.
  3. Execute a research plan by locating both print and electronic sources of case law, statues, administrative regulations and constitutional provisions.
  4. Draft demand letters, pleadings, legal memoranda, and legal forms utilizing appropriate legal theories and applying to factual situations with correct citations.
  5. Ethically perform the duties of a paralegal.
  6. Perform law office management functions, such as billing, docketing systems, conflict checks and e-filing court documents.

1The What You’ll Learn section of our website provides a description of Learning Outcomes for students who successfully complete all requirements for obtaining a Paralegal & Legal Studies Associate in Applied Science degree from Iowa Lakes Community College.

Curriculum

Term 1

Credits: 3

CSC-110 is an introductory course that surveys a variety of topics to include history, hardware, software, terminology, com­munications, computer ethics, and societal impact of computers. In addition to computer literacy, students will complete hands-on modules using operating systems, word processing, database, presentation, and spreadsheet software; such as Microsoft Office programs.


Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy


Credits: 2

An introduction to the legal profession, with special emphasis on the responsibilities of the paralegal. Students will learn the core skills required of paralegals, including verbal and written commu­nication, critical thinking and analytical reasoning, and investiga­tion and case management.


Credits: 2

This course will introduce students to the types of ethical dilem­mas that they will face in the law office setting; generally to the ethical rules developed by the American Bar Association, to the rules adopted by this jurisdiction for the regulation of attorney and paralegal conduct, to the model codes of paralegal associations; and to methods for researching the answers to ethical dilemmas.


Credits: 3

Examination of the more common crimes, criminal defenses and the procedures used to process a criminal case from arrest to final disposition.


Credits: 3

Study of law and procedures relative to marriage, dissolution and adoption.


Term 2

Credits: 3

Continuation of ENG 105 with emphasis on research and docu­mentation as well as literary analysis.

Prerequisites: ENG 105 – Composition I


Credits: 1

This course familiarizes students with law office specific software applications. A representative law office software platform will be utilized to present students with hands-on exercises to further their understanding of the various functions of law office software.


Credits: 4

This course introduces students to various print and electronic le­gal research media, with a heightened focus on state of Iowa and federal statutory and case law. Students will learn how to carry out legal research assignments using both primary and second­ary resources. The methods of updating and expanding research and how to properly cite legal sources in memoranda and other documents will also be presented. Print and electronic methods for finding legal authority will be utilized.

Prerequisites: ENG 105 – Composition I – C or Better


Credits: 3

A study of tort law, including negligent, intentional, and strict li­ability torts. Students will learn how to draft pleadings, discovery requests, and pretrial documents in tort cases.


Credits: 3

This course surveys the basic principles of contract law, including capacity, formation, conditions, enforcement, statute of frauds, performance and breach, remedies, defenses, and third-party rights. Portions of the Uniform Commercial Code relating to contracts for the sale of goods will also be discussed. The role of the paralegal in gathering information, researching, and drafting contract documents is emphasized throughout.


Credits: 3

The fundamentals course develops the basic skills involved in a variety of communication situations, including oral presentations and interpersonal speaking.  Emphasis is placed on organization, audience analysis, vocal and physical delivery, listening, nonverbal communication, critical thinking, and methods of dealing with communication apprehension through class discussion and activities.


Term 3

Credits: 3

Introduces the general theory and procedures pertaining to state and federal taxation. Studies application of laws as they pertain to income of individuals and sole proprietorships, gifts, estates and Social Security.

Prerequisites: ACC 131 – Principles of Accounting I and ACC 132 – Principles of Accounting II


Credits: 3

A study of wills, trusts, probate procedures, estate administration taxes, and testate and intestate succession. Students will learn how to draft basic wills, trusts, and advance health care directives. Students will also learn how to administer a typical estate.


Credits: 4

In this course, students will utilize and apply the research skills developed in Legal Research (LGL 151), to research and draft opinion letters and other types of legal correspondence, an objective interoffice memorandum, and a persuasive motion brief. Appellate briefs will also be introduced. A foundational aspect of the course will be developing students’ legal reasoning skills.

Prerequisites: LGL 154 – Legal Research


Credits: 3

This is a general survey course which includes sets; number systems; elementary algebra; exponents; equations and inequalities; fractions; ratios; proportion and variation; probability and statistics; elementary graphing; consumer mathematics; and an introduction to geometry.

Prerequisites: Appropriate placement score


Choose either BUS 183 or ACC 261
Humanities: 3 credits
Social Science: 3 credits

Term 4

Credits: 3

Fundamental principles of real estate evaluation, brokerage, financing structure, construction and real estate law.


Credits: 3

A study of the American trial process. Students will research, prepare and present a hypothetical case to a judge and jury.


Credits: 3

Study of what law applies to the Employment setting. Introduction to Employment Discrimination, Whisteblower Protection, Wage and Hours laws, Sexual Harassment, Worker’s Compensation, Employer Tort Liability, Unemployment Insurance, and liability is­sues arising under OSHA, ERISA and other Federal Statutes.


Credits: 4

The course examines the accounting methods, principles and terminology needed in the preparation and analysis of financial statements. Included is a study of partnership accounting.


Credits: 3

Introduces the general theory and procedures pertaining to state and federal taxation. Studies application of laws as they pertain to income of individuals and sole proprietorships, gifts, estates and Social Security.

Prerequisites: ACC 131 – Principles of Accounting I and ACC 132 – Principles of Accounting II


Credits: 3

Introduces students to the various practice rules of procedure in the civil court system, and the role of a paralegal at every stage of pre-trial litigation. The rules of civil procedure and evidence at both the state and federal level will be emphasized. Topics cov­ered include initial client contact, interviewing, investigation and identification of claims and issues, initiating and responding to the lawsuit, the discovery process, settlement, trial preparation, and preparation and filing of appropriate litigation documents.


Choose either LGL 200, LGL 205, ACC 131 or ACC 261
Science: 4 credits
Social Science: 3 credits

Term 5

Credits: 2

Supervised work experience in a law office, legal services office, or other law-related agency.


The Practicum can also be completed in Term 4.