Intro to P.L Studies-Chapter 1-7

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Intro to P.L Studies-Chapter 1-7
2010-10-26 22:18:20
Paralegal Studies Intro

Intro to P.L Studies-Chapter 1-7, Vocabulary
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  1. What is the American Barr Association (ABA)?
    A national association for attorneys.
  2. What is a "paralegal"?
    A person qualified by education, training, experience, who performs legal work, supervised by a lawyer
  3. What is "certification"?
    A formal recognition by a prof. group that a person has met certain standards of ability.
  4. What is "substantive law"?
    Defines the rights & duties of individuals with respect to each other. Ex: a law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of age...
  5. What is "procedural law"?
    Rules that define the rights & duties of individuals with respect to each other.
  6. What is a "freelance paralegal"?
    aka "independent contractors" or "contract paralegal"...A paralegal who operates his/her own business & performs specific types of legal work for attorneys on a contract basis.
  7. What is a "legal technician" / "independent paralegal"?
    A para who offers services directly to the public w/o attorney supervision. Ex: They assist the public w/providing them w/forms for certain legal transactions.
  8. What is "litigation"?
    The process of working a lawsuit through the court system.
  9. What is a "litigation paralegal"?
    A para who specializes in assisting attorneys in the litigation process.
  10. Define: "Plaintiff"
    A party who INITIATES the lawsuit.
  11. Define: "Defendant"
    A party against whom a lawsuit is brought.
  12. What is "corporate law"?
    Law that governs the formation, financing, merger & acquisition, & termination of corporations, as well as the rights & duties of those who own & run the corporation.
  13. Define: "Contract"
    An agreement, based on a promise(s), that can be enforced in court.
  14. Define: "real estate"
    aka "real property"...Land & all things permanently attached to the land (homes, buidings, trees...).
  15. What is a "tort"?
    • A "civil wrong" that occurs when a person's carelessness causes harm to another.
    • Ex: someone who has been injured because of somones negligence. Negligence is a tort.
  16. Define: "Insurance"
    A contract by which an ins. company promises to pay a sum of money or give something valuable to another, to compensate for a specified loss.
  17. Define: "Workers' Compensation Statutes"
    Employees who are injured on the job are compensated from state funds or insurance funds.
  18. What is "estate planning"?
    This is when the owner of property (estate), decides before death, how his property will be transferred to others. The owner may make a will choosing the persons to whom his prop. is to be transferred.
  19. Define: "will"
    A document direcitng how & to whom the maker's property & obligations are to be transferred to on his/her death.
  20. Define: "Probate"
    The process of "proving" the validity of a will & ensuring that the instructions in a valid will are carried out.
  21. What is a "Probate court"?
    A court that probates wills, usually a county court.
  22. What is "Bankruptcy law"?
    It is a federal law that takes place in federal courts, which allows debtors to obtain relief from their debts.
  23. What is "Environmental law"?
    All state & federal law/regulations created to protect the environment and preserve environmental resources.
  24. What is "Family law"?
    Law relating to family matter, such as: marriage, divorce, child support, and child custody.
  25. What is "Civil law"?
    • Is concerned with the duties that exist betwen persons or between citizens & their governments.
    • Law dealing with the definition & enforcement of private rights, as opposed to criminal matters.
  26. What is "criminal law"?
    Is concerned with wrongs committed against the public as a whole.
  27. What is "Elder law"?
    A relatively new legal specialty that involves serving the needs of older clients. Such as estate planning & making arrangements for long term care.
  28. What is a "bonus"? $$$
    An end-of-the-year payment to a salaried employee in appreciation for their overtime work, diligence or dedication to the firm.
  29. What are "overtime wages"?
    Wages paid to workers who are payed an hourly wage rate to compensate them for overtime work (if worked more than 40 hrs per week...get payed "time & a half" for every hour over-worked).
  30. Define "Sole Proprietorship"
    It is one individual-the sole proprietorship-owns the business
  31. Define "Personal Liability"
    Is an individuals personal responsibility for debts or obligations.
  32. What is "Statute of Limitations" (S.O.L) ?
    It is a statute setting the maximum time period which certain actions can be brought to court or have rights enforced. After this time period has ended, no legal action can be brought!
  33. What is a "forms file"?
    A reference file with copies of the firm's commonly used legal documents & forms.
  34. What is a "retainer agreement"?
    A signed document stating that the attorney or the law firm has been hired by the client to provide certain legal services & that the client agrees to pay for those services.
  35. What is a "fixed fee"?
    A fee paid to the attorney by the client for having provided a specified legal service. Example, such as creating a simple will.
  36. Define: "Hourly fees"
    When a law firm charges clients hourly rates for legal services.
  37. What is a "Contingency fee"?
    A legal fee that consists of a specified percentage of the amount the plaintiff recovers in a civil lawsuit. The fee is paid ONLY if the plaintiff wins the lawsuit.
  38. What is a "retainer"?
    An advance payment made by a client to a law firm to cover part of the legal fees / costs that will be incurred on that client's behalf. A fixed amount is paid every month or year. Example--traveling expenses, fax charges,etc.
  39. What are "billable hours"
  40. Define: "Billable hours"
    Hours or fractions of hrs that attorneys & paralegals spend in client-related work that requires legal expertise & is directly billed to clients.
  41. What is a "time slip"?
    Used for billing purposes, it is a record documenting the hrs than an attorney or paralegal worked for each client (includes, the date on which the work was done, & the type of work done).
  42. What is an "expense slip"?
    A slip of paper on which any expense, or cost, incurred on behalf of the client, is recorded. Example, payment of court fees, or long-distance telephone charges)
  43. What is "double billing"?
    Billing more than one client for the SAME time! This is NOT ethical!
  44. Define: "Reprimand"
    A formal "scolding", considered the mildest sanction, but is very serious!
  45. What is the "unauthorized practice of law (UPL)"?
    The practice of law without having the legal authority. For instance, a paralegal giving legal advice or discussing legal fees, or an unlicensed (disbarred) attorney practicing law.
  46. Define: "Suspension"
    A serious sanction in which the attory is prohibited from practicing law in the state for a given period of time.
  47. Define: "Disbarment"
    A severe disciplinary sanction in which an attorney's license to practice law in the state is revoked because of unethical of illegal conduct.
  48. Define: "Malpractice"
    Misconduct or negligence committed by a professional
  49. What is a "Tort"?
    A civil wrong
  50. What is a "tortfeasor"?
    One who commits a tort.
  51. Define: "Damages"
    Money awarded as a remedy for a tort (civil wrong), such as malpractice.
  52. Define: "Breach"
    To violate a legal duty by an act or failure to act. Example, not doing sufficient or careful research.
  53. What is the "attorney-client privilege"?
    A rule requiring that the condifential communications between a client & the attorney be kept confidential, unless the client consents to disclosure.
  54. Define: "Conflict of Interest"
    A situation in which 2 or more duties or interests come into conflict, as when an attorney attempts to represent opposing parties in a legal dispute.
  55. What is an "ethical wall"?
    A term that refers to the procedures use to create a screen around a legal employee to shield him/her from information about a case in which there is a conflict of interest. Example, computer files may be password-protected
  56. Define: "Conflicts check"
    A procedure for determining whether an agreement to represent a potential client will result in a conflict of interest.
  57. What info is needed to run a "conflicts check"?
    (1) Name of the prospective client, (2) the other party/ies involved, (3) the legal issue
  58. Give 3 examples of UPL:
    (1) Setting legal fees, (2) Establishing attorney-client relationships, (3) Giving legal opinions/advice, (4) Representing a client before a court {unless auth. by the court}, (5) Engaging in , encouraging, or contributing to any act that could constitute the UPL.
  59. Define: "Contempt of court"
    Failing to cooperate with a court order, which is punishable by a fine or jail sentence.
  60. What is 'law'?
    A body of rules of conduct established & enforced by the controlling authority (the gov't) of a society.
  61. Name a few "PRIMARY SOURCES OF LAW"-
    (1) Case law & common law doctrines, (2) The U.S Constitution & constitution of various states, (3) Statutory Law--laws passed by congress, state legislatures & local governing bodies, (4) Regulations created by administrative agencies, such as the U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
    Books & articles that SUMMARIZE & EXPLAIN the primary sources of law. Example, legal encyclopedias, treatises, articles in law review...
  63. Define: CASE LAW
    Rules of law announced by judges in court desions
  64. Define: COMMON LAW
    A body of law developed from custom or judicial decision in English & U.S courts...its when judges have based their decisions on the principles suggested by earlier cases. THIS PROMOTES CONSISTENCY & PREDICTABILITY.
  65. Define: PRECEDENT
    A court decision that furnishes an example or authority for deciding later cases in which similar facts are presented.
  66. Define: STARI DECISIS
    Latin for "to stand by things decided". Under this doctrine, judges are obligated to follow the precedents established by their own courts, or by higher courts within their jurisdictions
  67. Define: JURISDICTION
    The authority of a court to hear & decide a specific case
    Any source of law that a court must follow when deciding a case, which includes constitutions, statutes, & regulations that govern the issue being decided
    Precedents decided in similar cases in other jurisdictions
    A case presenting a legal issue that has not yet been addressed by a court in a particular decision.
  71. Define: PUBLIC POLICY
    A gov'tmental policy based on widely held societal values, which is used when deciding cases of first impression.
  72. Define: REMEDY
    The means by which a right is enforced or the violation of a right is prevented or compensated for.
  73. Define: COURT OF LAW
    A court in which the only remedies were things of value (i.e money).
  74. What is REMEDY AT LAW?
    A remedy available in a court of law. Money damages & items of value are awarded as a remedy at law.
  75. Define: REMEDY IN EQUITY
    A remedy in the court in situations where remedies at law are not adequate. Remedies in equity are based on rules or fairness, justice & honesty. (Plaintiff has to say they are bring an "action at law")
  76. Define: COURT OF EQUITY
    A court that decides controversies & administers justice according to the rules, principles & precedents of equity. (Plaintiff has to say they are bring an "action in equity")
  77. Define: INJUNCTION
    A court order in equity directing the defendant to do or to refrain from doing a particular act. Example, an injunction may be obtained to stop a neighbor from burning trash in his yard...
  78. Define: PARTY
    The plaintiff or the defendent.
  79. Define: STATUTE
    A written law enacted by a legislature.
  80. Define: STATUTORY LAW
    The body of written laws enacted by the legislature
  81. What are "non-billable hours"?
    Administrative work, such as staff meetings or performance reviews, photocopying, etc.
  82. Define: Writ of certiorari
    A writ from a higher court asking the lower court to send it the record of a case for review. Example, The U.S Supreme Court uses certiorari to review most of the cases it decides to hear.
  83. Define: WRIT
    a legal document issued by a court or judicial officer
  84. Define: LONG ARM STATUTE
    A state statute that allows a state to obtain jurisdiction over non-residents. The non-residents must have certain "minimum contacts" with that state for the statute to apply.
    A question that pertains to the U.S Constitution, acts of Congress or treaties.
    A case that arises in the federal district court that must have (1) citizens of diff. states, (2) a foreign country & citizens of a state or of diff. states, or (3) citizens of a state & citizens or subjects of a foreign country. (The amount must be more than $75,000)
    Jurisdiction that exists wehn 2 diff. courts have the power to hear a case. For example "adoption" can be heard in "Fam Court" & "Surrogates"
    Jurisdiction that exists when a case can be heard only in a particular court. Example, federal courts have ex. jurisdiction over bankruptcy...
  89. Define: VENUE
    The geographic area (usually the county) in which an action is tried & from which the jury is selected.
  90. What is a "trial court"?
    Courts in which trials are held & testimony taken. Has a judge, jury, evidence...
    Trial courts that have G.J may be called county, district, superior or circuit courts. They have jurisdiction over a wide variety of subjects--both civil and criminal. (NYS Supreme Court has general jurisdiction)
    Includes small claims courts, cases involving claims of less than a certain amount. This includes: divorce actions, paternity suits, child-custody & support cases, traffic violations, etc.
  93. What is an "Appellate court?"
    This is the court above trial courts, aka court of appeals. Where the trial court case is reviewed when the parties are unsatisfied with the trial court's ruling.
    The subject-matter jurisdictino is limited to hearing appeals. It usually reviews records, listen to the oral argumens presented by the parties, then the panel of judges renders (issues) a decision. If a party is unsatisfied w/the appellate court's ruling, that party can appeal to the highest state court.

  95. The Highest State Court-Court of Appeals
    The decision are of over $25,000
  96. Define:CASE ON POINT
    A case involving factual circumstances & issues that are similar to those in the case being researched.
  97. Define: Case on “all fours”
    A case in which all the 4 elements (the parties, the circumstances, the legal issues involved, & the remedies sought) are very similar to those in the case being researched.
  98. Define: Persuasive authority
    Any legal authority, or source of law, that a court may look to for guidance but on which it need not rely in making its desicion. Example, cases from other juris., discussions in legal periodics...
  99. Define: CITATION
    A reference to a case by the name of the case...
  100. How is the Citation format-?
    Case name, Volume number, Name of book, Page number, Year.
  101. Define: CASE REPORTER
    A book in which court case are published or reported.