Vatterott OKC Paralegal Studies

We don't teach you what to think. We teach you HOW to think.

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Mid-Terms

Congratulations – You made it to week five.  I knew you could do it.

Four of you currently sit in my room taking your Intro to Law mid-term.  We discussed how to spot key words in a phrase to assist in using the book to find the correct answer.  I know you will all do well.

 

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Motions

This is just a summary of the motions we discussed today in Intro to Law.  If you are in the Oklahoma City area and you are interested in becoming a paralegal, please give our Admissions office a call.  They know that if you come to visit while I am teaching that I would be happy to meet with you!  I am on campus four days per week.

Today we discussed the lifespan of a lawsuit and some of the motions that may be filed during the span.

  • Motion to Dismiss – In some states, this is also known as a demurrer.  This is filed alleging that the complaint does not contain facts that warrants any type of lawsuit or that the complaint is improperly stated according to procedural rules.
  • Motion to Quash Service of Process – This challenges the service of process of the summons.  If someone isn’t properly served, that can cause problems with the lawsuit.
  • Motion to Compel – If procedural time limits are not honored, the party expecting information may request that court order immediate compliance.
  • Motion for Sanctions – This is used when one party is of the opinion that the other party is willfully disregarding the rules of procedure or orders of the court.
  • Motion for Summary Judgment – It basically states that the evidence is so overwhelmingly in favor of one party that no reasonable judge or jury could find in favor of the other party.  It asks that the case be determined without trial and in favor of the requesting party.
  • Motion in limine – This is an attempt to prevent certain evidence from being presented on the basis that it could interfere with an informed and fair decision by the jury.

 

Week Three – DONE!

Students –

I want to commend each of you.  You are all doing exceptionally well.

Remember that you can submit your assignments through the drop box of your eCampus account, email it to me, or you can just bring it in.  I am on campus four days per week.

Just a few reminders:

  • Do not turn in assignments on spiral bound paper unless it is clean tear.
  • When I make corrects on your paper, it is for your benefit.
  • When I ask you questions about your answer, it is to increase your critical thinking ability.
  • If you turn in your work early and it receives a lower grade than you expected, you may make corrections and turn it in for a higher grade.
  • Start thinking now about your future.  It’s okay if it is your first phase at Vatterott.  It’s never to early to come up with a base plan.
  • Participate and ask questions.  I totally understand if you are uncomfortable asking a question in front of your classmates.  You can come to me before class, after class, on break, email it, text it, or call me.  However, even those of you in your first phase should realize by now that I don’t think any question is stupid and I insist that everyone treat their peers with respect.

Don’t forget – you can check your grades in eCampus.  If you don’t have access, you can see Daniel Resendez in Career Services.

Employment Search Tips

I realize we are only in week three of the phase.  Honestly, though, it is never too early to at least start thinking of what you would like to do when you graduate.  It is also never to early to think of a plan.  Even if this is your first phase here at Vatterott OKC, you can look at your goals.

  • Start considering the areas of law you want to work in.  Make a list of areas you do not want to work in.
  • Get your resume and cover letter ready to go.  You can find multiple examples online.  Even better – you can talk with Daniel in Career Services.
  • Start networking.  You cousin’s best friend’s brother may not need a paralegal now, but he might in the future…or he may know someone.  You can join NALA for a nominal fee.  Oklahoma Paralegal Association also has a student membership that is an affordable rate.
  • Take a good look at your abilities.  Brush up where needed.
  • Do you have writing samples?  If the answer is no, come see me.
  • Don’t discount receptionist positions in law offices and law firms.  You will earn valuable hands-on experience.  I learned how to draft interrogatories, requests for production, and summarize medical records as a receptionist.
  • Use your resources.  Vatterott OKC puts out a list every week of job openings.  You can also use indeed.com, jobsok.com, monster.com, careerbuilder.com, and even craigslist.org.  Sign up for free job alerts.  Even if you aren’t looking now, you will know who is hiring.

 

Welcome, new students!

In just a few short days you will begin on an amazing educational journey.  In just a couple of short years you will be in an amazing career as a legal professional.  We at Vatterott are dedicated to your success as a student and a professional.

We understand the delicate balance of education and family life.  We understand that some of you will continue to work during your college experience.  Vatterott OKC is a beautiful and amazing facility that is designed to assist you to become the best person possible during your experience and thereafter.

Here are just a few things you should know ahead of time:

  • Your syllabus is your friend.  While it is mostly a loose guide telling you what will be covered during the term, the assignments are listed in it.  It has your weekly reading assignments and your written assignments.
  • eCampus is your friend.  I use it to keep up with grades, disseminate information, and share helpful websites.  Please do give me a little time to get everything assembled for you.
  • Please come to class prepared.  We will develop a list of classroom expectations together.  Preparation means you have finished your reading, you have something to take notes on (and to do pop quizzes that WILL be graded), ink pen, and being attentive.  Please do NOT turn in assignments written on spiral bound notebook paper.  If you write your assignments because you do not have access to a computer, please use clean tear or loose leaf paper.
  • I am on campus four days per week.  Two of those days I will be on campus until at least one in the afternoon.  On day one, I will provide you with my email and cell phone.
  • Speaking of email, please check it on a regular basis.  I will use your personal email instead of your student email.
  • If you are struggling in ANY of your coursework, please come to me.  I can’t help you if you don’t tell me you’re having a problem.  I am also your student adviser.
  • Be on time.

I look forward to week one (and the following nine weeks).  I assure you that I will respect your time and your investment in to your future.  I will help you all that I can, but I can’t do it for you.

Week Ten

Congratulations to all you of for completing a successful term.  This week marks your final examinations and essays for your courses.

It has been a pleasure working with all of you this term.  You’ve grown by leaps and bounds.  You’ve taught me quite a bit as well.  I am very pleased to be associated with Vatterott College.

This coming phase I will be on the campus four days per week.  I will be teaching the following courses:

  • Introduction to Law
  • Introduction to Values and Ethics (PA-214)
  • Criminal Law
  • Law of Corporations

I will also be directing the externship program.  I hope to also have the tutoring.

For my seniors – you two have grown so much over the last ten weeks.  I am incredibly proud of you both.  Remember that just because your time with Vatterott is coming to a close doesn’t mean you are totally on your own.  You both have my cell and my email.  I am merely a message or call away.  You both have so much potential.  Never stop working to improve your professional skills.  Also remember that with life, it truly is just what you make of it.  If you desire a different outcome in your life, you must make different decisions.  If you ever need a sounding board, I am here for you both.

For my students that have chosen to leave – you will be missed.  You are both incredibly bright.  I make you the same offer as my two seniors.  I am just an email or phone call away should you need anything during your educational preparation.  Of course, I wish you weren’t leaving our program.

For my students that I will see next phase – hang on to your proverbial hats!  All of these courses have quite a bit planned.  I’ve also found a lot of different examples you will find useful during the next phase and for your academic journey with Vatterott.  I am also the student adviser.  Please make an appointment to meet with me this term.  It is never too early to start your planning.  Trust me.  When I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I felt like I had been kicked out of the nest and left to be devoured by the wolves.  Don’t be that guy.

For my new students – greetings and namaste.  I am excited to be part of your journey.  Your decision to come to Vatterott for your Associate’s is one I know you will not regret.  I aim to teach you many things aside from what you need to know about the different areas of law; you also need to know how to balance life and work, juggle multiple deadlines, and how to think on a critical basis.  You will hear me say it over and over again – I will not teach you WHAT to think, but I will teach you HOW to think.  Be prepared for discussion, debate, and to be challenged even if I agree with you.  I am always a phone call, text, or email away.  If you need help and can’t attend tutoring, please contact me.  We will work something out.  I want you to be successful.  Bookmark or subscribe to this blog for future reference.

Evaluating Legal Resources – Questions

When you are evaluating legal resources, think about the purpose of the resource.

  • Is it just general information such as FindLaw?  Don’t misinterpret what I am telling you.  FindLaw is a great place to start for general information…and it’s free.
  • Is it a legal research program designed for professional use such as LexisNexis?  You can also find decent resources that are more geared toward public use or that can be used by either a professional or a member of the public such as Google Scholar.  Granted, the issue with that is making sure your case is on point.
  • What is the credibility of the publisher?  Make sure you know how to evaluate a source.  There are ways to look at a web page and determine if it is reliable.  If you need assistance, let me know.  I can walk you through it or even create a set of instructions to post here for you.
  • Is it meant to be used with additional resources?  Think about it.  Do you remember a time, even as a child doing a school project, that you started with an encyclopedia, but had to find other books that delved in to the subject?  Sometimes sources are like that.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the resource?  Every resource has strengths and weaknesses…even the paid ones.  Not everyone is good (right away) with boolean logic for searches.  That can cost you (and your firm) if you’re using a paid resource.  You can practice this skill using Google or Google Scholar.  There are also web sites available that help you learn boolean logic.
  • Would a traditional, paper resource be better for your search?  Remember, Vatterott College has a wonderful law library.  To gain access, you can see Stan in the LRC, Ms. Maggie (Director of Education), or Chris Piatt (Campus Director) if it is locked.

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