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On April 30, 2014, The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) granted accreditation to the NALA Certified Paralegal program for demonstrating compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The NCCA Standards were created to ensure certification programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry.  The NALA Certified Paralegal program joins an elite group of more than 120 organizations representing over 270 certification programs that have received and maintained NCCA accreditation. More information on the NCCA is available online at www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCA

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certification for paralegals!

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Trial Practice

This page summarizes the Advanced Paralegal Certification course in Trial Practice. Use the links below to review the items, register or login to the course. If you have not already registered as a user on the NALA APC web site, click "Register for the Course." If you have already registered for this or another APC course, you have already created a user account, click "Login."

Paralegals who are not seeking the Advanced Paralegal Certification credential are welcome to register and take any APC courses as advanced continuing education programs. CLE credit is available upon completion of the courses from NALA for Certified Paralegals, and from various state CLE programs.

Prerequisite Knowledge Learning Contract Register for the course
Fee:   $250 Members; $300 Non Members

Course Description

This course provides a broad picture of how a case proceeds through the courts, from trial court to appellate courts to the Supreme Court. The course reviews:

  • how local rules, state rules, and federal rules work together
  • what goes on in a courtroom, from the paralegal's point of view and from the viewpoint of the courts, judges, lawyers, and juries
  • the technology hardware and software used in producing a trial
  • legal thinking, research, and writing, using formats and styles from across the country

The Trial Practice APC course relies heavily on student participation through case studies, writing exercises, and research on the internet. Upon completion of the course, paralegals will have completed exercises involving:

  • Document Management – Drafting indexes, document filing options
  • Scheduling
  • Deposition summaries – types and working with summaries
  • Electronic trial presentation
  • Calendaring software
  • Preparing motions, jury instructions
  • Preparing trial notebook
  • Drafting motions, bill of costs
  • Judgments
  • Calculating appeal dates
  • Briefs – identifying required information
  • Planning research
  • Locating pending rule changes

Reading exercises include review and analysis of current articles on:

  • Electronic trial preparation
  • Juries and jury behavior
  • Trial timelines
  • Ethical guidelines
  • Comparison of state rules and federal rules
  • Working with case through appeal
  • Brief writing
Prerequisite Knowledge

This course is written based on the assumption that paralegals taking and seeking to complete the Advanced Paralegal Certification course on Trial Practice have a general understanding of the following:

General Litigation Knowledge:
Federal Rules
Litigation/trial terminology

(There is an APC course which focuses solely on  Discovery):
Discovery tools
Depositions and witnesses

Types of evidence
Exclusion of evidence
Best evidence

Course Modules

The Advanced Paralegal Certification course on Trial Practice consists of successful completion of 10 modules of text, assessments, and assignments.  The modules and their subjects are as follows:

1. Methods of Document Management
Law office practices in handling and organizing documents used in civil cases; online case management; electronic filing; documents needed to prepare for trial; discussion of the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
2. Witness Preparation
Pretrial practices; trial schedules; creating summaries of depositions; trial subpoenas; preparing witnesses, both expert and non-expert; and the Daubert standard
3. Electronic Presentations
Preparing electronic presentations; assessing needs and styles; choosing a format; PowerPoint tips; video; integrating programs
4. Scheduling Orders, Motions, Voir Dire
Methods to keep all on track: scheduling orders and calendaring; and pretrial motions; motions in limine; jury instructions; and the jury selection process
5. Trial Notebooks
Creating a trial notebook, including what to include and different organization schemes
6. Trial Procedure
Duties of paralegals during trial; transcripts; ethical considerations; working with witnesses; motions during trial; types of trials; daily recap and prep meetings
7. Verdicts and Judgments
Enforcing judgments, judgment creditors and judgment debtors, bill of costs, taxation of costs
8. Appeals
Federal and state appellate processes; U.S. Supreme Court; appeals; oral arguments 
9. Writing Briefs
Legal writing, citation systems, memoranda and briefs, IRAC
10. Upcoming Issues
A look ahead to changes in the law, legal business, and technology that may affect paralegals working in trial practice; information sources