Course Description

Legal research methods and techniques are studied within the context of working as a paralegal. Students are introduced to the American legal system and systems and sources of law. Students analyze hypothetical client scenarios to define legal issues and use legal resources to help resolve the client’s problem. In this course students have opportunities to learn the fundamental structure and process of the American legal system, the process for finding the law on the internet, including understanding the different types of legal authority, knowing how to generate search terms to conduce efficient research on Westlaw and being able to find the authority that resolves a client’s problem. Students also learn how to cite to legal sources using the California Style Manual.

Learner Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Contrast and understand the difference between primary and secondary authority
  • Identify and research an issue of law
  • Generate search terms for online research
  • Find statutes and case law
  • Use proper California Style Manual citation form


Certification Disclosure: In California an individual may qualify to hold one’s self out as a paralegal in one of several ways including earning a certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association. (Calif. Bus. & Prof. Code §6450(c)(1).) The Paralegal Professional Certificate program offered by UCSB PaCe satisfies the requirements of California law in this regard.


Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Classes are offered according to the schedule on the respective Certificate or Program Page. Please click on the Request Information below to be promptly notified when enrollment opens.