Course Descriptions


The Advanced Paralegal Institute (API) provides advanced level continuing legal education courses to legal professionals who wish to enhance their education and training. Continuing education should be an integral part of the careers of all paralegals who want to stay abreast of the trends and developments in their field. It supplements both formal and informal education and training, and helps paralegals keep up with the ever-changing laws and regulations in their particular specialty.


API Advanced & Specialty courses are designed for legal professionals who have successfully completed a paralegal course of study with an earned degree or certificate. All courses are considered as Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and no placement assistance is provided.  These are not entry level courses.


API  is the Official Provider of the Online Review Course for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) and the Paralegal Core Competency Review Course. Please visit for details.



Course Descriptions


Advanced Corporate Law


Advanced Corporate Law is designed for students who understand the basic principles of business organizations and are learning to draft more complicated documents and do research. The goals of the course are to demonstrate the application of the uniform laws, to compare language in sample clauses and forms, and to develop an understanding of the statutory framework for business organizations. Unit discussions include the law of agency, employment and compensation, sole proprietorships, general and limited partnerships, limited liability companies, the business corporation, corporate financial structure, and corporations in foreign jurisdictions.


Advanced Litigation


This course can be taken separately, or combined with selected courses to earn a Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialty certificate.


This course provides an in depth look at three aspects of civil litigation: (1) Procedures for instituting a civil action; (2) The skills, such as evidence gathering and trial preparation, necessary for a litigation paralegal; and (3) The appellate process. Students will review federal and state court jurisdiction, choice of forum issues, and service of process problems. Pretrial and trial skills to be developed include identifying issues raised through motions, providing supporting documents, having a working knowledge of the Rules of Evidence, investigation techniques, and using a conceptual framework for trial organization. In addition, appellate procedures involving both the trial and appellate courts will be examined.


Advanced Tort Law


A review of the laws governing torts and personal injury. Special emphasis is placed on investigation, negligence and special negligence actions, defenses to negligence, intentional torts with injuries to persons and property, defenses to intentional torts, strict liability, products liability, special tort actions and tort immunities. This course also discusses the critical role played by paralegals in bringing and defending tort actions.


Alternative Dispute Resolution


This course presents Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) against the backdrop of traditional litigation. Eight basic methods of ADR, and several hybrids, are explained in detail. In addition, students will explore seven arenas where disputes often arise and how one or more methods of ADR apply. Students will evaluate disputes and disputants to determine the most appropriate method for resolving a matter. Specific topics addressed include negotiation, mediation, arbitration, settlement strategies, the application of ADR to specific disputes in various industries and sections of the bar, sources of ADR services, and the role of the paralegal in ADR.

Business Law



This course is a survey of the basic principles of business law and the creation and operation of business entitites. The course begins with a

discussion of agency, and then covers the four main types of business formations: sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability corporations,

and corporations. 


Civil Litigation


This course is a prerequisite to the Advanced Litigation course and is an overview of the civil litigation process and the role played by paralegals in that process. Students are taken through each stage of the litigation process from the initial fact-finding stage through trial and appeal. Emphasis is placed on the procedural rules governing the litigation process as well as the skills necessary to draft litigation documents such as pleadings, discovery requests, and motions. Civil litigation involves the resolution of disputes through the court system. Litigation has been characterized by some as civilized warfare – a no-holds barred, knock down, drag out fight. To others, litigation is an honorable search for the truth. A few claim litigation is a sign of human failure – a last resort signifying the inability of people to resolve problems without court intervention. Whatever your opinion, litigation is an adversarial process with Plaintiffs vs. Defendants advocating their claims, and it follows a uniquely devised series of procedural steps.


Contract Law


This course is a in-depth discussion of the law of contracts and the role of the paralegal in this area of law.  Particular attention is given to the six basic requirements for every valid contract: offer, acceptance, consideration, legality of subject matter, contractual capacity, and contractual intent.  Discussions also center upon the various classifications into which all contracts fall.  Additional topics include the Statute of Frauds, the Uniform Commercial Code, third party contracts, and legal remedies for breach of contract. Students will learn how to draft and interpret different types of contracts, and will analyze case law involving contract disputes.


Copyright Law


Copyrights protect original artistic, literary, musical and other works. The course begins with an overview of intellectual property law with the primary emphasis on copyright law. The student will be introduced to basic copyright concepts and types of protectible works. The course targets the differences between derivative works and compilations, and discusses what is not protectible under copyright law. The rights granted under copyright and principles of fair use and the first sale doctrine are also explored. Information is introduced about the rights of musicians, record companies, music broadcasters, and other entities in the music business. The concept of copyright authorship is also explored. Issues of ownership are examined and particular attention is devoted to the concept of works made for hire and the duration of copyrights. How copyrights are transferred is discussed and students will learn how to perform some basic copyright research. Students will also discover how to perform copyright registration. The basics of preparing and filing copyright applications, as well as dealing with copyright notice and correcting and canceling of registrations is explored. Copyright infringement, remedies that may be sought for same, and the common defenses to an infringement allegation will be examined. Lastly, the student will study alternative dispute resolutions and the basics of preparing an infringement litigation case.

Elder Law


This course is an introduction to the emerging field of elder care law. Unlike estate planning, which emphasizes what happens to an individual’s property after death, elder law typically addresses issues of life planning before death. Those issues - and the topics in this course - include the preparation of wills and trusts, advance directives for health and property, guardianships, housing options for elders, grandparenting issues, funeral planning, elder abuse, and how cohabitation, marriage, and divorce affect seniors.

Estates and Trusts


This course is a study of wills, intestate succession, trusts, estate planning, family protection, probate courts, uniform laws, the personal representative, and the process of probating a will and administering an estate.

Estate Planning 


Estate Planning introduces the paralegal student to the terms, concepts, and practical steps involved in helping clients make decisions about who will own their property after death, and about how wealth may be transferred through lifetime transfers, trusts, and Wills, to achieve maximum tax and personal benefits. The course provides an overview of the history, laws, documents, and procedures involved in the process.

Intellectual Property Law


A study of the four major disciplines of intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and patents. The goal of this course is to provide a background in intellectual property law and the skills required of an intellectual property paralegal. Discussion topics include: rights granted under copyright, principles of fair use, and the first sale doctrine; issues of ownership; copyright registration; state and federal trademark rights; federal trademark registration; securing Internet domain; trademark disputes; trade secrets; patent registration; and ownership, transfer and administration of patents. Students will work through an infringement lawsuit from cease and desist letter to settlement. In addition, specific emphasis is placed on the use of on-line research.


Patent Law


This course is designed for paralegal students who wish to understand the basic principles of Intellectual Property law and who wish to focus and specialize in the area of Patent Law. Intellectual Property overlaps four general fields of law: trademarks (which protect names, logos, symbols, and other devices indicating the quality and source of products and services); copyrights (which protect original works of authorship); patents (which are grants by the federal government that allow their owners to exclude others from making, using, or selling the owner’s invention); and trade secrets (which consist of a commercial information that, if disclosed, would give the competitor an advantage in the marketplace). This course deals exclusively with the law of patents. We will be covering the foundation of patent law, the patent searching process, the patent application process, the ownership rights associated with patents, how patent rights are transferred, the issues, remedies, and defenses involved in patent infringement actions, some of the new developments in patent law, and a general overview of International patent law.


Real Estate Ownership and Transfer


This course introduces the student to the basics of real property law and then proceeds step-by-step through the essential skills necessary in a real estate practice. Discussion topics include: types of ownership, encumbrances to ownership, contracts, deeds, real estate finance, title examinations and title insurance, and real estate closings. Students will review the substantive issues of a real estate closing as well as the forms and examples of closing documents.

Social Security, Medicare, and Government Pensions


This course reviews the federal programs that provide retirement and medical benefits: Social Security, Medicare, Government Pensions, and Medicaid. The text for the course is Social Security, Medicare, and Pensions, by Matthews and Berman.

Torts and Personal Injury


This course is a basic tort law class that is a pre-requisite to the advanced tort law class. The course surveys the general nature of tort law, including intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, and damages. Specific attention is also given to the subjects of interviewing and investigation.


Turn on the television, or open the newspaper in any city, and you will see examples of the law of Torts and Personal Injury. That is why many lawyers – and paralegals – make a living in this area of law. In the law of Torts, injuries occur and are alleged. Here, the defect of a product or service harms another. Here accidents, whether by negligence, design, human error, or plain stupidity, occur. Here intentional torts, from the infliction of bodily harm by assault, to the mental damages from the intentional infliction of mental distress, all play out.


In contrast to crimes, torts are the personal harms suffered by individuals that cause damages to the person. Crimes are conduct against the whole of society rather than its individual parts.



Trademark Law


This course is designed for paralegal students who with to understand the basic principles of Intellectual Property law and focus on, or specialize in, Trademark Law. Intellectual Property overlaps four general fields of law: trademarks (which protect names, logos, symbols, and other devices indicating the quality and source of products and services); copyrights (which protect original works of authorship); patents (which are grants by the federal government that allow their owners to exclude others from making, using, or selling the owner’s invention); and trade secrets (which consist of any commercial information that, if disclosed, would give the competitor an advantage in the marketplace). This course deals exclusively with the law of trademarks. The course will cover the foundations of Trademark Law, how to select and search for existing trademarks, how to conduct the trademark registration process and post registration procedures, how to maintain a trademark, what is involved in Inter Partes, trademark infringement and dilution proceedings, and an overview of the new developments in Trademark Law and International Trademark Law.




Pace Review Course


API  is the Official Provider of the online review course for the PACE exam.


This course prepares the practicing paralegal to sit for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). If it is your goal to sit for the exam, please be sure you meet the entrance test requirements. This course is based on the PACE Study Manual published by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) and covers the following domains tested in PACE:


(a) Administration of Client Legal Matters,
(b) Development of Client Legal Matters,
(c) Factual and Legal Research,
(d) Factual and Legal Writing, and
(e) Office Administration.


This course also includes a unit devoted to ethics because this topic is covered in each domain. Students will assess their strengths and weaknesses in the various domains and focus on the material covered in these domains. At the end of each unit are sample test questions used to test students’ knowledge of the subject matter and to acquaint them with the types of questions that appear on PACE. There will also be instruction on how to tackle a multiple choice examination and more importantly, on how to take a computerized test. You will also receive an analysis of your weak areas and what domains you need to concentrate on as you conclude your test preparation.


Text: PACE Study Manual /Published by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. ( NFPA).  This book can be ordered through NFPA at


Paralegal Core Competency Review Course (PCC)


The required text for this course is the PCCE manual. Please be sure to order the correct edition.

The PCC Exam is targeted to paralegals who have recently graduated from a paralegal education or training program or are within their first two years of practice. The exam was launched in November of 2011 and focuses on those essential aspects of practice in which an entry level paralegal would be expected to be competent. Exam questions are based on information from course work in various paralegal programs and basic knowledge all paralegals should possess. The on line review course runs for seven weeks, plus a brief pre-course orientation to familiarize students with the web site and First Class used by API. API courses are taught through computer-mediated distance learning. Students may communicate with instructors or classmates around the clock from their home or office computer.


The review course will help paralegals prepare to take the PCC exam by covering the two domains tested: Paralegal Practice and Substantive areas of law. Each unit will begin with a pre-test, which will allow students to assess their strengths and weaknesses in the area being studied. Readings will be assigned and discussion questions included in each unit, which will focus on problem areas revealed in the pre-test results as well as the new material introduced in the unit. At the end of each unit a post-test will be given, which will allow students to assess where additional independent study may be helpful.  An exit PCC exam will be administered at the conclusion of the course. Each student will receive a score and an analysis of the student’s strengths and weaknesses.


Legal Writing


This course is designed to strengthen the student’s writing, analysis, and critical thinking skills. The course looks at crucial issues of writing in the context of the practice of law. By defining an effective writing process, and examining how to write for the appropriate audience, students will learn how to apply principles of plain English, logical analysis and proper planning, organizing, and drafting to a variety of legal documents.