The University at Buffalo - Millard Fillmore College
offers the following professional studies program...
The Paralegal Studies Program provides students with the unique opportunity to earn a certificate of completion in paralegal studies. Students have a choice to enroll as a noncredit student or to earn academic credit. Designed with a practical orientation, and with assignments that are applicable to real life work situations, the program challenges students to apply knowledge as it pertains to different in fact situations. Paralegal studies is an intensive program designed for working adults who are looking to upgrade their skills to make career changes. The paralegal studies program is an excellent opportunity to prepare for quick entry into the marketplace for one of the fastest-growing careers in the country.
Who Should Consider This Program
Currently employed paralegals and law firm employs will learn the skills necessary to increase billable hours and productivity. This is an excellent choice for individuals interested in becoming paralegals who will become proficient at legal terminology, analytical research, and writing. Pre-law students find these courses to be excellent preparation prior to enrolling in law school.
Faculty selected to teach these courses bring years of experience to the classroom as practicing legal professionals. Faculty are New York State Bar certified and currently practicing their professional area of expertise.
Program Requirements to earn a certificate of completion
The paralegal studies program consists of two courses, MFC 332 Paralegal Principles and Procedures. and MFC 334 Legal Research and Writing. Students may enhance the program by taking elective courses designed to expand their knowledge and upgrade their skills. Electives and suggested courses that complement the Paralegal Studies certificate of completion are listed below.
PLS 332 / MFC 332 Paralegal Principles and Procedures (4 cr.) About the course
This course covers legal analytical research and writing using legal terminology, professional legal writing of inner office memos, civil pleadings, and discovery motions. Other topics are evidence preservation, interviewing and investigation, introduction to torts, contracts, criminal law, rules of civil and appellate procedures, and rules of ethics for paralegals. MFC 332 Syllabus
PLS 334 / MFC 334 Legal Writing and Research (3 cr.) About the course
Students will learn loll library research and will draft memorandums of law all in a variety of legal issues. The focus will be on proficient legal analytical research and writing. MFC 334 Syllabus
PLS 205 / MFC 205 Law School Prep for Success (3 cr.) About the course
Students take this course because they have decided to apply to law school, or because they are thinking about doing so. If you are considering law school because you are a college student who does not know what to do with yourself after graduation, or in light of a bad economy and a poor job market, going on to law school might seem like a good strategy. But is law school worth the time and cost? Is it really what you want to do? You must do a solemn cost-benefit analysis of what you will give up to earn a law degree, and you must be certain that you are up to the challenges that await anyone endeavoring to become an attorney. If you plan to apply for law school or if you are considering law school, this course will be invaluable to prepare you for your decision.
PLS 336 / MFC 336 Bankruptcy Law (3 cr.)
Students will learn the basics of bankruptcy law as an introductory bankruptcy manual for legal assistance. The scope of the course ranges from detailed procedural aspects of common bankruptcy litigation practice to the policy and history behind the bankruptcy law.
PLS 339 / MFC 333 Wills, Estates and Trusts (3 cr.) About the Course
In this course student learns about wills, trusts and laws relating to estate planning. The laws of succession are also examined, and students will learn about standards of ethical conduct related to estate planning. This course will help paralegal students to assist attorneys as they plan estates, draft wills, set up trusts and probate wills. MFC 339 Syllabus
PLS 365 / MFC 365 Basic Real Estate Law (3 cr.)
Students will learn the basics of real estate Law, with emphasis on New York State real estate Law, and the practice and custom of real estate Law in western New York. Students will learn the key issues in representing the parties to a real estate transaction: the buyer, seller, and the bank. The course provides a practical approach to understanding real estate transactions.
PLS 481 / MFC 481 Introduction to Environmental Law (3 cr.)
Environmental law is a general term describing statutes, regulations, and common law or national/international legislation designed and originated to regulate the interaction between humans and the natural environment, to reduce the negative and long-term impacts of careless human activity.
Environmental law as a topic may be divided into two major subjects: (1) pollution control / remediation, and (2) resource conservation. The limitations and expenses that environmental protection laws impose on business and commerce, and the sometimes unquantifiable benefit of environmental protection, have generated much controversy. Because of the very broad scope of environmental law, no definitive list of environmental laws is possible. The following course is an introduction to the vast area of law that falls within the "environmental" topic.
This course provides an introductory survey of the major state and federal laws pertaining to the protection of the environment including land, air and water. It covers relevant environmental protection acts and case law. The course also covers related government enforcement authorities and environmental justice issues. We will review the foundations of environmental law and consider environmental law as it applies to the global community. A wide range of contemporary environmental issues will be explored, including (but not limited to) climate change, biodiversity loss, and ozone depletion. MFC 481 Syllabus
PLS 482 / MFC 482 Introduction to Contract and Tort Law (3 cr.) About the course
In this course students will learn how to form effective legal contracts, how contracts are performed and how to remedy for breach of contract. Contracts are involved in virtually every field of law, and paralegals are often involved in contract disputes. From a dispute over a repair bill to a major commercial transaction, lawyers rely on paralegals to assist them in protecting the contractual interests of the client. To be effective, a paralegal must understand the basic principles that apply in this area of the law. Tort law is one of the most important bodies of law because it governs everyday human interaction, and it is one of the most important fields of paralegal employment. This course will provide students with a general understanding of the laws dealing with civil wrongs and remedies for such wrongs, including intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, defamation, invasion of privacy and the factors that affect the right of a plaintiff to bring suit against a defendant. Because tort law arises from everyday life, it is one of the most interesting and relevant areas of law. MFC 482 Syllabus
PLS 483 / MFC 483 Introduction to Criminal Law (3 cr.) About the course
This course deals with what is called substantive criminal law, i.e., crimes. Numerous crimes such as homicide and rape are examined, and defenses such as self-defense and insanity are scrutinized. A primary focus of the course is the utilization and interpretation of criminal statutes.
This course begins with an examination of theories of punishment and constitutional principles of criminal justice. The course then examines the substantive law of crimes, including the sources of law, inchoate crimes, accessorial conduct, elements of major crimes, defenses to criminal responsibility, and issues of prosecutorial discretion. This course also covers topics in substantive criminal law: principles underlying the definition of crime such as the requirements of actus reus and mens rea and general doctrines such as ignorance of fact and ignorance of law, causation, attempt, complicity and conspiracy. Principles of justification and excuse are examined with particular attention to the doctrines of necessity, intoxication, insanity, diminished capacity and automatism. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the basic theory of the criminal law and the relationship between doctrines and the various justifications for imposition of punishment.
Procedure explores part of the interface between the criminal justice system
and the United States Constitution. It introduces students to constitutional
analysis by examining key provisions of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and
Fourteenth Amendments as they apply to police investigation and interrogation
as well as to the circumstances under which indigent defendants are guaranteed
the assistance of counsel. This course
examines the common assumption that criminal wrongs and moral wrongs are
closely related and that state punishment should track morals in some
meaningful way. The course asks whether morals should have a place in our
understanding of criminal law at all, and what shape morals assume and should
assume when fashioned as the core of a state institution. These questions will
be examined through a study of various theoretical issues, such as
justification of punishment, criminalization, self-defense, necessity, and
malum prohibitum. MFC 483 Syllabus
PLS 484 / MFC 484 Liability Issues in Public Education (3 cr.) About the course
This course covers the basic premises of compulsory education; issues concerning exclusion of students; school control of student behavior and curriculum; teacher employment problems; and issues of funding, minority rights, and school liability.
Education law courses examine the laws and policies that govern the K-12 and higher education systems. Federal, state, and especially local authorities have a stake in the delivery of educational services. Issues that come up include equal educational opportunity, segregation and desegregation, gender discrimination, school finance, No Child Left Behind, special education, vouchers, charter schools, and school disciplinary processes. Education lawyers, policymakers and advocates must possess a variety of skills including the ability to draft legislation, negotiate with multiple stakeholders, litigate, organize educational outreach campaigns, and design and update policies.
Education law is governed by state and federal statutes and agencies responsible for its administration. The U.S Department of Education is the executive department of the federal government responsible for advising on educational plans and policies and administration of the department, which provides assistance for education and carries out educational research. Within the Dept. of Education are offices of elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education and rehabilitative services, bilingual education and minority languages, vocational and adult education, civil rights, and educational research and improvement. The public school system is administered locally through the state department of education. The states, therefore, have primary responsibility for the maintenance and operation of public schools. Each state is required by its state constitution to provide a school system to educate its children. Many state legislatures delegate power over the school system to a state board of education. For children with disabilities the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. ?? 1400) establishes a process for evaluating a child's special needs and for providing an individualized education program.
Academic Credit or Noncredit
Students may choose to enroll in the Paralegal Studies program to earn academic credit or elect to enroll as a noncredit student without earning academic credit. In either case, the Paralegal Studies Certificate of Completion will be awarded to students successfully completing the program.
Academic credit students: MFC courses are offered for university academic credit and may be applied as electives to meet degree requiements. Certifiates will be awarded to students who complete all required courses with a combined grade average of "C" or better.
Noncredit students: Paralegal Certificate courses are also available as noncredit courses to those individuals not interested in earning academic credit but wish to earn a Certiifcate of Completion from the University at Buffalo. Noncredit courses are designated with the course prefix of PLS.
NOTE: Students declare their intent to earn academic credit or fore-go academic credit through the registration process. Students may not change their enrollment status after class begins.
Registration Procedures and Schedule of Classes
Register to earn ACADEMIC CREDIT (MFC courses only) Students must follow these steps: 1) Fill-in Information and submit Nonmatriculated Student Data Form on-line; 2) Complete and submit Exception Registration Form. You will be notified within 24 hours by email to confirm your registration. Please be sure to check your email for confirmation of your registration. You are not required to pay tuition and fees at this time. You will be billed later in the term.
Register as NONCREDIT STUDENT (You do not want to earn academic credit): (PLS courses only) Registration and payment... go to the following link and select your choices of courses in (click here). Please have your credit card available to complete the registration process on-line. We accept the following credit cards:
Tuition, Fees and Refund Policies
Credit: All students registering for academic credit will pay the current UB tuition rate + fees. Fees will vary depending on your enrollment status with UB. New students enrolled in ONLY MFC courses will pay the MFC student fees (part-time or full-time) as listed on the following page (click here). All students are bound by UB policies and regulations as described at the following website (click here). Students registering for MFC credit courses will be billed rather than having to pay at the time of registration.
Noncredit: Course fees are listed with each course found in noncredit course schedule. Students registered for noncredit courses may receive a full refund if our office is notified in writing prior to the first day of class. Noncredit course fees will not be refunded starting with the first day of class.