MSLA Course Descriptions

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Accounting and Financial Management for the Legal Administrator | M4410

This course will explore the principals and practices of financial accounting including the standards that govern the preparation of financial statements in legal business. Students will gain a comprehensive overview of double entry accounting, a detailed understanding of assets, liability, equity, revenue and expenses and how they affect the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. Special attention will be given to the unique attributes of financial reports related to law firms. (3 credits – Fall)

Accounting for the Small Legal Practice | L4709

This course will provide an introduction to basic accounting fundamentals, provide key concepts that apply to attorneys and solo practitioners, and explore situations where accounting plays a role in the practice of law. Topics include: understanding the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows, and changes in owner’s equity; accrual vs. cash basis accounting; partnership vs. LLC; income tax accounting; money management and cash flow in a law practice; retainers; trust accounts; income measurement; auditing; and, billing/fees/timekeeping. (3 credits – Fall)

Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Court/Law Firm Administrator | M4640

This one-hour online course offers a comprehensive overview of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), its application, and the process utilized, such as mediation and arbitration, to resolved disputes in place of and/or in conjunction with litigation. This course is a pre-requisite to Alternative Dispute Resolution System Design for the Law Firm, Legal & Court Administrator offered in the Spring. (1 credit – Spring)

Applied Leadership & Management Theory | M4151

This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the importance of effective leadership and management in the workplace. Students will learn the tools necessary to manage conflict, build strong teams, function as a team, manage performance, create and maintain a positive work environment, and motivate others. (3 credits – Spring)

Business Development: Marketing and Client Service | L4089

This course will explore the principals and practices of financial accounting including the standards that govern the preparation of financial statements in legal business. Students will gain a comprehensive overview of double entry accounting, a detailed understanding of assets, liability, equity, revenue and expenses and how they affect the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. Special attention will be given to the unique attributes of financial reports related to law firms. (3 credits – Fall)

The Business of Courts | M4200

This course is designed to provide the student with the fundamental principles and elements of the key functions performed by the courts. These functions include jury management, court based mediation and arbitration programs, court reporting, client expectations, contingency planning, continuity of operations planning, needs and expectations of litigants without lawyers, interpreter service, court and staff performance measurement and management, and the role of the court administrator. (3 credits – Fall)

Capstone Externship/Project | M5010

The externship or creative project is designed to complement the student’s area of study. The externship enables the student to work in a practical setting and acquire the experience in a legal environment. The creative project option provides students, already working in the legal environment, an opportunity to complete a project or research paper on a topic determined by the student and a faculty advisor. A passing grade is given after the work is completed, and a letter from the supervisor summarizing the student’s experience is submitted to the Graduate Legal Studies office. (3 Credits – Any term, following completion of coursework.)
Please visit this page for more information about externship specifics, and access the Directed Research/Independent Study application form here.

Communication, Writing, and Research in Legal Business | M4380

This course is designed to provide the students with the necessary communication, research, and writing skills to be effective legal administrators. Topics will include writing executive summaries, press releases, proposals, policy drafting, responses to RFP’s and legal research. (3 credits – Fall or Spring)

Court Case Flow/Load Management | M4180

This course is designed to provide the student with the fundamental principles of managing an effective case management system. Students will learn the importance of an efficient case flow management system, the history of case management, electronic case filing, civil and criminal rules of procedure, case assignment, quality assurance and time standards and major case, records management and reporting systems, strategies necessary to gain judicial support, leadership and cooperation to effectuate effective case flow management practices, and improve judicial performance as it relates to the disposition of actions. (2 credits – Spring)

Directed Research | M4999

MSLA Directed Research is an opportunity for students to research and write on any area of legal administration approved by an MSLA faculty member who agrees to direct the project. The research project must be completed within the semester for which the student is registered. The research is compiled into a paper of publishable quality that is delivered to the MSLA program director by the last day of exams for that semester. A Directed Research application form (available in the registrar’s office) signed by both the faculty supervisor and student is required for enrollment. The registrar’s office will register the student for his or her directed research once the student’s application form has been approved. (Credits Vary – Any semester, with permission from Director.)

The Fundamentals of Comparative Law | M4320

This course introduces the classifications of the world’s legal systems: (civil law, common law, Islamic law, customary law, and mixed law systems). Students will learn the general elements of a legal system then compare and contrast these features in different types of legal systems as they are used in various countries or other jurisdictions including the European Union. Students will also explore internet and electronic resources to research and analyze foreign legal systems. (3 credits – Fall)

Human Resources and Performance Management | M4121

This course will provide a broad overview of the field of human resource and performance management. Students learn what managers and administrators need to know to effectively address Human Resource issues in today’s workplace. The course will provide major concepts and techniques of performance management in law and court environments. By employing perspectives of both the employer and employee the class will focus on “best practices” utilized by managers and administrators and emphasize decision-making skills and processes in the context of Human Resources law and policy. Students will learn how to achieve organizational goals via management of a company’s most precious resource, their people. This textbook provides an overview of the content upon which the most common HRCI certifications (SPHR, PHR) are based. (3 credits – Fall or Summer)

Inclusiveness and Diversity | M4181

Diversity and inclusiveness are hot topics in the legal profession. This highly interactive course will educate students about the state of diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession, the systemic underpinnings of the lack of diversity, how to create inclusive environments for successful retention and advancement of female and diverse attorneys and staff, as well as the importance of diversity and inclusiveness to the viability of the legal profession. Students will be challenged to draw upon their own life experiences, to consider different perspectives, and provide thoughtful analysis on how they can incorporate diversity and inclusiveness practices with their career path and future legal organizations. (1 credit – Spring)

Introduction to the U.S. Judicial System | M4300

This course will provide the student with an overview of the Unites States judicial system. Students will learn the fundamentals of our legal system, historical basis of the U.S. judicial system, the foundation, structure, purpose, what it stands for, and the varying levels of the U.S. court system. (3 credits – Fall)

Judicial Performance and Evaluation | M4220

This course will inform students on the complexities of judicial performance and evaluation. Students will learn the fundamentals of developing a judicial performance program, measuring the effectiveness of performance recommendations, commissions on judicial performance, and the components of the evaluation process. (2 credits – Spring)

Law Firm Administration | M4201

This course informs the student of the fundamental principles, elements and day-to-day operational processes of law office management. Topics covered in this course include law office culture, law firm organization, succession planning, practice areas, client communication flow, collection challenges, and understanding and working with law office timekeeping, accounting, and billing systems. (3 credits – Fall)

Law Firm Client Service and Satisfaction | M4386

This course is designed to inform the student of the importance of client service and satisfaction and its value to the law firm. Topics covered in this course include external communication, client feedback, partnering with clients, client relationship management, and evaluation and survey design. (2 credits – Summer)

Law Firm Technology | M4385

This course is designed to build students’ foundation knowledge of technology in the legal environment. The competitive landscape in the law firm setting is stronger than it has ever been and this competitiveness forces law firms to find efficient and innovative ways to conduct business in this new landscape through the use of technology. Topics of this course will include identification of technologies used in law firms and legal departments as well as thoughts about how to leverage those technologies to help gain efficiencies. (3 credits – Fall)

Lawyer Recruitment, Development, and Advancement | M4205

This course will focus on the key aspects of lawyer recruitment, development and advancement in law firms. Students will learn the primary methods for recruiting and hiring lawyers at all experience levels, and the most important elements of lawyer development, including orientation, integration, legal and core skills training, experiential learning, mentoring, performance management, and evaluations. Traditional compensation and advancement models, as well as emerging trends in all of these areas, will also be covered during the course. (2 credits – Fall)

Legal Practice Seminar – Law as a Business | L4420

This course provides an overview of the business functions of a law practice. Students learn how effective law practice administrators and managers base policy and management decisions on a comprehensive understanding of the law firm as a complex and interdependent equation. (3 credits – Fall or Spring)

Project Management | M4954

This course is designed to provide students with the tools to effectively manage a project regardless of its size. Topics include clarifying the project goals, using objectives to define responsibilities, understanding GANTT and PERT charts, goal setting, prioritization, time management, consensus building, developing creative teams, empowering the project team, motivating the team, communications tools, how to handle conflicts, and how to celebrate your success. (3 credits – Summer)

Specialty Courts | M4330

This course will provide the students with an understanding of the purpose, functionality and effectiveness of specialty courts. Topics will include the types of specialty courts and how to create them, maintaining sustainability, treatment options, demographics, budgeting and measuring specialty court performance. (2 credits – Spring)

Strategic Planning in the Courts | M4950

This course is designed to prepare the student in creating a strategic plan for the courts. Students will learn to think strategically, design surveys, perform an environmental analysis, set goals, develop action plans, and measurement tools. (2 credits – Spring)

World Judicial Systems | M4310

The goal of this course is to compare and contrast the role of the judiciary in various legal systems. Topics include types of courts and court systems (including domestic, supranational i.e. the European Union, and international courts), judicial independence, separation of powers, and challenges facing the judiciary such as miscarriages of justice. Students will also compare court procedures (civil, criminal, appellate review) in different types of legal systems. (3 credits – Spring)