Paralegal

Program Details

Approved by the American Bar Association since 1978, the Inver Hills Paralegal program offers quality, practical online coursework. Plus, students will participate in a paralegal internship.

The program delivers two academic options:

1) For students seeking a college degree: 60-credit Paralegal Associate of Science (A.S.) with a two-year curriculum

2) For students with a college degree: 30-credit Paralegal certificate with an 18-month curriculum

Click each item below to see content

Mission, Vision, and Goals

Mission

Offer quality, practical coursework in a synchronous online format, which includes a paralegal internship.

Vision

  • Embrace and support intercultural competency by encouraging all people to enroll, learn, and teach in our program;
  • Offer access and flexibility for all learners through hands-on, practical teaching methods, mentorship, and alternative course delivery methods; and
  • Gain up-to-date advice and collaboration with our paralegal advisory board, faculty, legal professionals and community.

Goals

  • Provide a quality paralegal program that will enhance occupational competence;
  • Recruit paralegal students and faculty from diverse cultures and backgrounds; and
  • Encourage all our students to complete the program.

Transfer Information

Be sure to work with an Inver Hills counselor to create a transfer plan.

Current articulation agreements:

Outcomes and Objectives

Our graduates are trained in the following skill areas:

  1. Apply and interpret the law and legal procedures in rendering direct assistance to lawyers.
  2. Conduct competent legal research, writing, and communication.
  3. Prepare legal documents.
  4. Analyze procedural and substantive legal problems.
  5. Interview clients and witnesses.
  6. Investigate and manage cases.
  7. Demonstrate technological skills and familiarity with computerized databases.

Paralegals and program graduates do not practice law or give legal advice unless permitted by law.

American Bar Association (ABA) approved

The Inver Hills Paralegal program has received American Bar Association (ABA) approval since 1978. Our ABA approval is very important to us! Out of approximately 1,200 paralegal programs across the U.S., less than 300 are approved by the ABA.

Attorneys, paralegals, legal administrators, employers, and recruiters all respect the ABA and its stringent guidelines for competent paralegal education, and look to our program to fill their employment needs for paralegals and legal support professionals.

Note: Students must take at least nine (9)︎ semester credits of legal specialty courses through traditional live classroom instruction under American Bar Association Guidelines.

Program Completion

Paralegal students who complete the required curriculum qualify for an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree or a Postgraduate Paralegal certificate (prior college degree required for the latter).

As s student in our program, you’ll receive an ABA-approved educational program and assistance with preparation for your job search, including a secure job website.

This program provides the education needed to work in the following occupations:

  • Paralegal or legal specialist, judicial assistants, legal or case assistant, case manager
  • Contract administrator or manager
  • Litigation specialist
  • Contract specialist or analyst
  • Conflict information specialist
  • Case clerk
  • Legal researcher
  • Lien clerk
  • Title researcher
  • Other law-related employee

Criminal Offense Notice

If you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of any criminal offense, you should investigate the impact that the arrest, charge, or conviction may have on your chances of employment in the field you intend to study or on your chances to obtain federal, state, and other higher education financial aid.

Paralegal Internship

The paralegal internship program is designed to provide the student with on-the-job experience in the paralegal profession. The goal is to help our students find an opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to today’s working world.

Although the internship must be flexible to meet the needs of the student intern and the practice of the supervising lawyer, the following are the broad objectives of the internship:

Overview

The student participates in 180 hours of nonpaying, or in some cases paying, work experience in a supervised legal environment for which the student receives two (2) credits. After attending an informational session and submitting a cover letter and resume to the paralegal intern faculty for approval.   Working with the internship faculty, the student locates an internship site based on the individual student’s interest.  The student applies for an internship, submitting a cover letter and resume to the potential internship site and waits for an interview.

The work schedule is arranged between the supervisor and the student. The supervisor’s evaluation determines  a portion of the student’s grade in addition to other required coursework.  The final grade for the internship will be given by the Paralegal program coordinator once the student completes the internship hours and assignments, and submits all required documents.

The internship should be devised and administered so as to provide the intern with eight broad opportunities:

  1. Familiarity with law office procedures, including:
    1. Competent and comprehensive note-taking
    2. Filing organization and document management
    3. Computerized calendaring including court deadlines, depositions, and scheduling orders
    4. Conflict of interest checks
    5. Time records and billing practices
    6. Trust account procedures
  1. Legal research on one or more matters that the lawyer is currently handling, and legal writing in the form of a memorandum or short brief as a result of the research.
  1. Letter writing and/or email writing
  1. Document drafting
  1. Client contact, for example:
    1. Conduct an initial phone contact
    2. Participate in or assist the attorney in preparation for an interview of a client
    3. Participate in or assist the attorney during an interview, meeting or deposition of a client
    4. Sit in on an interview between attorney and client, take notes, and write a summary

This area might also include contact with and interviews of persons other than clients.

  1. Familiarity with the functions and procedures of one or more courts, agencies or other organizations with which the supervising lawyer regularly engages. This might involve filing or e-filing or recording papers, obtaining information from court or agency files, dealing with clerks of court, attending court hearings, and the like.  The emphasis should be on giving the intern an opportunity to become familiar with the court, agency or organization by actually using its facilities and procedures.
  1. Encourage exposing the student intern to computer applications such as case management systems, word processing and spreadsheet applications, and presentation, billing and accounting software including e-filing and e-discovery processes.
  1. To see at least one legal transaction from start to finish; for example, to participate in a real estate sale from the initial interview through the post-closing procedures, or see case(s) or matter(s) at the beginning, middle and end to learn the entire process. If the internship will expire before the matter is completed, it is recommended that the lawyer explain to the intern the steps or procedures which will follow, or allow the student to stay on to see the conclusion.

It is understood that each legal internship site may have different opportunities for the student intern. Therefore, the Paralegal program coordinator will confirm with the internship supervisor how the above opportunities will be met, which may include the use of hypothetical assignments to accomplish the objective.

Internship sites

Please attend an internship meeting or contact the Paralegal program coordinator. Paralegal interns have found placement in a large number of sites in the following legal areas: 

  • Litigation
  • Criminal
  • Family
  • Probate
  • Intellectual property
  • Immigration
  • Corporate
  • Real estate
  • Bankruptcy
  • Workers compensation
  • Court system
  • County attorney offices
  • Public defender office

For more information contact the Paralegal program coordinator.

Online courses, synchronous & asynchronous

Introduction

Welcome to the Paralegal program online courses brought to you by the hard work and dedication of the paralegal program faculty, coordinator, and staff at Inver Hills Community College. Our online initiative was funded by an E-Learning Curriculum Grant from the Minnesota State colleges and universities. A big thank you goes to Minnesota State!

With our online Paralegal program, you can experience the excellent, quality learning that was only found in our traditional classroom-based education and now is delivered over the internet to you. All of  the paralegal courses are offered through a hybrid, online, synchronous or asynchronous  format, making your education planning more convenient and flexible.

Course formats
  • An online synchronous course meets at specific times.
  • An online asynchronous course primarily does not meet at specific times; lectures and material can be reviewed at any time.
  • A hybrid course has online and in-person components.

Most of our courses are synchronous, normally meeting via Zoom, an online meeting platform, once every other week. Asynchronous courses may require you to meet via Zoom several times during the semester.

Students must take at least nine semester credits of legal specialty courses through synchronous instruction.

All communication is conducted over D2L Brightspace, a learning management system, through the Inver Hills website.

American Bar Association approved

Our online Paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), North Central Association, and the Minnesota State college and universities system.

The online paralegal classes in our program are the same as the traditional courses and appear as such on your transcript. These courses are part of the required curriculum and count toward the Associate in Science (A.S.) degree or Paralegal certificate.

Coursework is not self-paced

The online paralegal courses are not self-paced. You will need to attend classes, read texts, prepare and submit assignments and projects, engage in group discussions, and take exams at regularly scheduled due dates and times. It is fine to work ahead, but be mindful of deadlines and group discussion requirements.

Some students come to an online class with preconceived notions that the class can be taken at their own speed in their own time frame. The online Paralegal program classes meet at a set time every week for lectures, activities, or discussions.

Time commitment

Online classes in the Paralegal program are intense, college-level courses.

For each credit, expect to spend:

  • 1 hour minimum per week working online for class time
  • 2-3 hours minimum per week for homework

As an example, for each 3-credit class, expect to spend:

  • 3 hours minimum per week online for lectures, participation, and classwork
  • 6-9 hours minimum per week for homework
Timeliness

Plan ahead and turn your work in on time. This is the number one problem for an online student! Review the course syllabus and create a calendar with highlighted due dates and intense workload days.

English and grammar skills

Students must assess into ENG 1108 to take PA 1102 – Introduction to Law and Contracts, and complete ENG 1108 to take PA 2222 – Legal Writing and Analysis.

Keyboarding skills

We strongly recommend that you have basic keyboarding skills to be successful in our online/hybrid paralegal program courses. You should be able to type at least 45 words per minute, and understand how to use the internet, compose an email, and create a Word document. You will earn the National Society of Legal Technology Certificate through the paralegal internship coursework.

Grades

Each instructor determines the weight and makeup of the course grade. The syllabus will explain the grading system. Most assignments require original responses and group discussions as well as participation, and timeliness in submission. You will be given instructions by your teacher on how, when, and where to take your exams.

Your instructor will give you directions on how and when to access your grades. Final grades will be submitted to the Records Office and will be posted two (2) to three (3) weeks after the end of the semester or summer session.

Required texts

Any required texts or materials will be listed on the course syllabus and can be ordered through the college bookstore. Go to the Inver Hills Bookstore for books for your courses. Find the semester, Paralegal program (PA), and the number of the course, i.e., PA 1102.

A list of the required and optional textbooks, course packs, and materials will be available through the Inver Hills Bookstore located on the first floor of the College Center. Hours vary so call ahead to be sure the bookstore is open at 651-450-3533.

Orientation and tutorial

Orientation for the paralegal course are offered live, in-person or online via Zoom. Part of the orientation process to the online course will include taking a tutorial that will familiarize you with D2L Brightspace, our course management system.

Instructor assistance

Instructors are available by email, phone, or during office hours either on campus or via Zoom. Instructors will give out their information at the orientation, first class session or on the syllabus.

Technical support

Technical support is available through the Inver Hills – Online Course Information link. Request technical help with your D2L Brightspace class.

Course sequence for starting Fall, Spring, or Summer

The order in which you take courses depends on what semester you start.

A.S. Degree course sequence

Paralegal Certificate course sequence

Paralegal Course (Legal Specialty Credit) Award/Transfer Policy

Inver Hills Community College – Paralegal Program Legal Specialty Credit Award & Transfer Policy

Inver Hills Community College – Paralegal Program requires the following for transfer of Paralegal course work from other institutions to our program.

Students must complete a minimum of 20 semester credits at Inver Hills Community College of paralegal (legal specialty) curriculum course work. (No more than 10 paralegal (legal specialty) curriculum semester credits can be transferred into the paralegal program from an outside institution.)

In order for credits to transfer, they must have been earned at a school accredited by a regionally and/or nationally accrediting agency. However, the paralegal program may decide not to accept nationally accredited credits towards the requirements. Courses with a grade of “D” or lower will not transfer to Inver Hills if the cumulative grade-point average from that institution is lower than 2.00 or may not be accepted by the paralegal program depending upon how long ago the credits were taken. Only accepted credits will be recorded on the official Inver Hills Community College transcript.

The Paralegal Program has specific credit transfer requirements for paralegal courses. Students must prepare a petition for transfer of paralegal credits that shall be reviewed and approved by the Director of the Paralegal Program unless the Paralegal Program has documented prior approval of the paralegal course transfer.

The following paralegal transfer credits are reviewed and approved as follows:

ABA approved college legal/paralegal specialty credits are transferable if they meet substantially the IHCC Paralegal Program curriculum credits.

Paralegal/legal courses for possible transfer must be substantially the same courses in content and application focus as the paralegal courses at Inver Hills. The Paralegal Director reviews and compares the prior college course descriptions, outlines, and/or syllabi supplied by students and the paralegal courses at Inver Hills to determine if the course to be transferred meets the transfer criteria. The Director awards final approval of the paralegal student’s petition.

Paralegal/legal courses from specialty areas from technical colleges are not transferable for legal specialty credits in the paralegal program (i.e. – real estate course for real estate law for paralegals).

Business Law is not transferable for Introduction to Law and Contracts or UCC and Business Organizations. Business Law is a general informational business law course whereas Introduction to Law and Contracts or UCC and Business Organizations are courses that review applied aspects of business law for paralegals.

Student must provide documentation that will show what format the intended paralegal transfer course was taken such as traditional (face-to-face), online, hybrid, accelerated, compressed or other. If documentation cannot be provided, the Program Director has the discretion to not accept the potential transfer of paralegal credits.

Also, students must take at least nine (9) semester credits of legal specialty courses through synchronous instruction under American Bar Association Guidelines. The Director of Paralegal Program has the right to decline transfer of paralegal course credits if the student is unable to meet the minimum required credits of traditional classroom instruction.

Inver Hills Community College – Paralegal Program does not award legal specialty credit by examination or portfolio to ensure that the quality and integrity of the program are maintained.

Feel free to contact the Program Director with any questions at chyara.stopp@inverhills.edu.

Legal Links

Library

Inver Hills Library
Your access to the Inver Hills Library catalog. Go to the Inver Hills Library to obtain your Inver Hills library card.
 

Courts & law

American Bar Association Minnesota Association of Law Libraries (MALL)
Great site for an all-inclusive guide to legal information in Minnesota
FindLaw
Excellent general legal researching site without a fee
The State of Minnesota Law Library
Search Minnesota court decisions–1996, municipal ordinances, case law
Minnesota Municipal Ordinances
Minnesota towns, cities and counties have made some or all of their local laws available
LawMoose
Great Minnesota and Wisconsin legal site
The State of Minnesota Law Library: Legal Topics
Directory of Minnesota law libraries

Supreme Court of the United States
Explore the United States Supreme Court, the justices and their caseload at this valuable site
Minnesota State Legislature
Guide to Minnesota law containing the Minnesota Constitution, Minnesota statutes and session laws, legislation and bill tracking, Minnesota rules, Minnesota Attorney General opinions, Minnesota Appellate Court opinions, Minnesota Court rules and more
The Office of the Revisor of Statutes
Search a statute section
Minnesota.gov
Minnesota Department of Commerce

Minnesota Judicial Branch
Minnesota Appellate decisions–current, Minnesota Court rules, Minnesota court forms, extensive subject list for non-attorneys
The Office of the Minnesota Attorney General
Constitutions, Statutes, and Codes—Cornell University Law School
United States Code—Office of the Law Revision Counsel
Congress.gov
Federal legislation
Guide to Administrative Law—Library of Congress
Code of Federal Regulations—U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO)
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
United States District Court District of Minnesota

Paralegal & Bar Associations

Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA)
Fantastic link to your local paralegal career and a great association to join at a reduced rate as a paralegal student. Wonderful networking, legal mentoring, job bank, and special event calendar to enhance your paralegal opportunities
American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE)
Get in touch with the AAfPE through this fabulous website
National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
Excellent link to the NFPA
National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
Introduction to the paralegal scene nationwide
Paralegal Today (Incorporating Legal Assistant Today)
Independent magazine serving the paralegal community
American Bar Association (ABA)
Informative site on the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals with wonderful articles and resources to enhance your paralegal education
Minnesota Bar Association (MSBA)
Features Paralegal Section; excellent organization to join at reduced rates; exciting paralegal seminars and events sponsored throughout the year
American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.
Minnesota Continuing Legal Education
Great place to find legal seminars or materials for a given area of law; attorneys use this site extensively to maintain their continuing legal education requirements
Minnesota State Bar Association Find a Lawyer Directory
National Paralegal College (NPC)

Pro bono resources

ProJusticeMN
Links to Pro Bono opportunities; requires joining
Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA)
Contact: Pro Bono Opportunities
National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.
(NFPA)
Pro Bono category in main horizontal header
“How to Utilize Legal Assistants on Pro Bono Publico Programs”
By the American Bar Association (ABA)
Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Children’s Law Center of Minnesota

Ramsey and Hennepin counties direct representation of foster care children; statewide policy and supreme reform
Civil Society — LawHelpMN
Farmers’ Legal Action Group
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota
Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services
(SMRLS)
Housing Justice Center
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Central Minnesota Area Legal Services
Washington County, Minnesota Legal Aid & Pro Bono Services
— Justia Lawyers
Legal Assistance of Dakota County, Ltd.
Judicare of Anoka County, Inc.
Legal Services State Support
Battered Women’s Justice Project

Tubman
Hennepin County District Court
Hennepin County Attorney
Hennepin County Public Defender
Ramsey County Attorney
Ramsey County Family Court Self-Help Service Center
— LawHelpMN
Ramsey County District Court
Indian Child Welfare Law Center
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
Clinics at the University of Minnesota Law School
Legal Services Clinic at the University of St. Thomas School of Law
Minnesota Aids Project
Minnesota Disability Law Center
— LawHelpMN
Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN)
Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Board
The Advocates for Human Rights: Minnesota

Legal Diversity resources

 

Minnesota Minority Bar Association

Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL)
Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA)
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)

Minnesota Law Library Links to Legal Diversity

Minnesota State Law Library: Diversity

Minnesota Women Lawyers

Minnesota Women Lawyers, Inc.

Other resources

Women of Color Toolkit— American Bar Association (ABA)

“Early Exits”
Good article from the ABA Journal about women in the profession
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” —Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
“Charting Our Progress: The Status of Women in the Profession Today”
ABA report on the status of women in the legal profession