Minné Hall, Room 212 (507-457-5400)
Kurt Hohenstein (Program Director)
Kurt Hohenstein, Assistant Professor; B.A., J.D., M.A., University of Nebraska; Ph.D.,University of Virginia, 2005 -
The purpose of the Paralegal Program is to enable students to develop both intellectual and professional skills in the law. The program is designed to meet the needs of students wishing to enter into a career that demands knowledge of and experience with legal systems and institutions. This includes careers working for law firms, government agencies, insurance companies, banking institutions, and nonprofit agencies. It also serves as an excellent preparation for law school.
The program is an interdisciplinary program within the College of Liberal Arts that develops skills in legal research, writing and investigation alongside a deeper understanding of the substance, politics and history of the law. The American Bar Association approves the WSU Paralegal Program.
Note: Graduates of the program may not provide legal services directly to the public except under the supervision of a practicing attorney or as provided by law.
A high school diploma and admission to WSU are required for admission to the program. It is recommended candidates for admission be in the upper half of the class or have a score of at least 20 on the ACT. Students wishing to enter or transfer into the program must seek advising from the Director of the Paralegal Program.
The Paralegal Program has three phases:
Phase I - Interdisciplinary Foundations: These courses address topics related to the U.S. legal system in a variety of academic disciplines, ranging from history and political science to business and accounting.
Phase II - Legal Specialty Courses: These courses concentrate on specific aspects of the legal profession. Legal specialty courses are offered in sequence and typically begin in the fall of the junior year. HIST 370, Legal Research and Writing I, must be taken as the first course in the sequence.
Phase III – Recommended Electives for Specialization and/or Minor: In Phase III, students choose to complete the requirements of the Paralegal Program, including an additional 35 semester hours in a variety of law-related courses from various disciplines. A student may elect to complete a minor of her/his choice in addition to completing the first two phases of the program, which will reduce the law-related electives accordingly.
ADDITIONAL COURSE AND GPA REQUIREMENTS
• Students are required to have substantially completed their University Studies requirements and Phase II requirements before they enroll in the Legal Specialty courses. They also must have the academic advisor’s approval.
• Except for Legal Research, transfer students cannot substitute a 100- or 200-level legal specialty course taken at another school for a similar course at a 300- or 400-level at WSU.
• All students must provide the Paralegal Program Director with a copy of their transcripts with recorded GPAs before enrolling in HIST 370, Legal Research and Writing I.
• Coursework below a grade of “C” in legal specialty courses does not count toward completion of the paralegal major.
For a checklist of the University’s graduation requirements, see page 23.
PASS/NO CREDIT (P/NC) COURSES
Except for the Paralegal Internship and Paralegal Institute, no classes taken on a P/NC basis can be used to satisfy any specific course requirements of the Paralegal Program or coursework in the options.
B.S. MAJOR - PARALEGAL (PLG)
I. INTERDISCIPLINARY FOUNDATIONS (27 S.H.)
History – HIST (12 S.H.)
* 150 U.S. History to 1865 (3)
* 151 U.S. History Since 1865 (3)
# 365 American Legal History (3)** OR
# 488 American Constitutional History** (3)
One of the following – HIST:
220 Introduction to African American History (3)
235 History of the American Indian (3)
# 315 Women in U.S. History (3)
355 European Intellectual and Cultural History (3)
# 398 Topics in History with Oral Communication Emphasis (3)
461 Latin American Social Revolution (3)
468 History of the Andean Nations (3)
469 History of Brazil (3)
# 485 Contemporary America 1945-Present (3)
486 American Intellectual and Cultural History (3)
Political Science – POLS (9 S.H.)
* 120 Intro to American Politics (3)
320 Constitutional Law (3)
420 Administrative Law (3)
** A student may also choose to take both HIST 365 American Legal History and HIST 488 Constitutional History to satisfy this requirement.
II. LEGAL SPECIALTY SEQUENCE # HIST (29 S.H.)
# 370 Legal Research and Writing I (3)
371 Substantive Law and Ethics I (2)
# 372 Legal Research and Writing II (3)
373 Adversary Systems: Civil Procedure (2)
374 Evidentiary Rules (2)
375 Substantive Law & Ethics II (3)
376 Adversary Systems: Criminal Procedure (2)
380 Paralegal Internship (12)
32 S.H. of approved electives, with or without a minor
Courses approved by Paralegal Program Director and academic advisor.
COURSE DESCRIPTIONS (HIST)
370 - Legal Research and Writing I (3 S.H.)
The student will become acquainted with commonly used terminology, the need for precision in meaning, and how courts interpret documents; and techniques of legal research, the process of judicial review, the extent of legal reporting, and methods of researching court decisions. Students will draft legal briefs and legal memoranda. Prerequisites: Admission to the paralegal major and advanced sophomore standing. Grade only. Offered yearly.
371 - Substantive Law and Ethics I (2 S.H.)
Students will learn the basic rules of contract law, real property law, torts, including workers’ compensation, and legal ethics, and will be expected to practice their skills in legal research and writing. Grade only. Offered yearly.
372 - Legal Research and Writing II (3 S.H.)
Students will expand use of research and writing techniques gained in Legal Research and Writing I (HIST 370) by drafting deeds, leases, negotiable instruments, business agreements, corporate minutes and by-laws, wills and researching issues that are relevant to these topics. Students will continue to draft legal briefs and memoranda reflecting their research findings. Prerequisite: HIST 370. Grade only. Offered yearly.
373 - Adversary System: Civil Procedure (2 S.H.)
Basic civil court procedures, such as pleadings; pre-trial discovery; trials and appeals; background of the adversary system; the role of the advocate, judge and jury in the search for justice. Prerequisite: HIST 370. Grade only. Offered yearly.
374 - Evidentiary Rules (2 S.H.)
Acquaints the student with logic of evidentiary rules, value of first-hand evidence, burden of proof, qualification of witnesses, impeachment of witnesses, differentiation between proof and argument, order of proof. Prerequisite: HIST 370. Grade only. Offered yearly.
375 - Substantive Law and Ethics II (3 S.H.)
Students will study the basic elements of probate law, negotiable instruments, bankruptcy, landlord-tenant law with extensive coverage of family law (divorce, separation, and paternity), including the study of motion practice and the Minnesota Rules of Family Court Procedure, pre-trial discovery and conflict resolution techniques as well as ethical issues associated with each. Prerequisite: HIST 372. Grade only. Offered yearly.
376 - Adversary System: Criminal Procedure (2 S.H.)
Supplements HIST 373 (Adversary System: Civil Procedure) and covers criminal pleadings, the grand jury system, criminal pretrial discovery, jury instructions, post-trial sentencing, requirements of a fair hearing, and constitutional legal defenses. Prerequisite: HIST 372. Grade only. Offered yearly.
377 - Practical Legal Investigation Techniques (3 S.H.)
Students will learn the practical techniques used in investigating cases involving traffic, aircraft, personal negligence, employer negligence, product liability, professional malpractice, and criminal investigation. Students also will become acquainted with the technique of working with witnesses. Prerequisite: Admission to the paralegal major. Grade only. Offered yearly.
380 - Paralegal Internship (12 S.H.)
Field placement in a selected organization for the purpose of experience and training as a professional paralegal. Prerequisites: HIST 370, HIST 371, HIST 372, HIST 373, HIST 374, HIST 375, HIST 376, and completion of portfolio. P/NC only.
381 - Paralegal Topics and Issues (3 S.H.)
This course is an approved elective for paralegal majors taken in conjunction with the program-required internship. In addition to selected readings on some aspect of law in contemporary American society, students will engage in a weekly discussion via email with the instructor and fellow students on topics relating to the readings and their internship experience. Students will be evaluated both by the quality of their contribution to these discussions and a final paper that grows out of the readings, internship, and email discussions.
383 - Paralegal Institute (1-3 S.H.)
The Paralegal Institute will cover various specialized topics, which directly relate to areas of the paralegal profession. The specialized institutes will be offered for 1-3 credits and may be repeated to a maximum of 3 credits toward the WSU paralegal degree. P/NC only.