MSLA Course Descriptions – 2013-2014 »

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L4420 Legal Practice Seminar – Law as a Business
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. (2 credits) Fall

M4100 Court Fiscal Management
This course will focus on the key aspects of fiscal management in a court setting. Students will learn models of public budgeting, internal controls, procurement, outsourcing, RFPs, internal and external auditing, and government funding models. (3 credits) Spring

M4121 Human Resources
This course will provide students with an introduction to the management of human resources and its impact on organizations, both public and private. Topics addressed will include: strategic HR management, staffing the organization, Equal Employment Opportunity, job analysis, recruitment, training, employee compensation and benefits, employee rights, union/management relations, and global human resource strategies. (2 credits) Fall, Summer

M4151 Applied Leadership & Management Theory
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

M4180 Court Case Flow/Load Management
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

M4200 The Business of Courts
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

M4201 Law Firm Administration
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

M4380 Research and Writing for the Legal Administrator
This course is designed to provide the students with the necessary writing skills to be effective legal administrators. Topics will include writing executive summaries, press releases, legal citations, proposals, policy drafting, responses to RFP’s and legal research. (2 credits) Spring

M4385 Law Firm Communications and Technology
This course is designed to inform the students on the complexities of communication and the transfer of knowledge in the law firm setting. Topics will include proper and effective communication techniques and tools, use of social media and electronic communities, knowledge management tools, knowledge sharing environments, and the use of technology. (3 credits) Fall

M4386 Law Firm Client Service and Satisfaction
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) TBA

M4410 Accounting for the Legal Administrator
This course will explore the principals and practices governing the preparation of financial statements, from the perspective of the legal administrator. Students will gain a comprehensive overview of the preparation and content of the income statement. (2 credits) Fall

imageM4901 Law Firm Financial Management

This course will focus on the key aspects of financial management in a law firm setting. Students will analyze financial reports/data, work flow analysis and assessment, understand trust accounts, client billing and internal controls, to ultimately recognize and understand the financial health of the law firm.
(3 credits) Spring

M4950 Strategic Planning in the Courts
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

M4953 Strategic Marketing and Business Development
The purpose of this class is to prepare students in developing a successful marketing plan for their law firm or legal organization. Topics include thinking strategically, conducting an environmental analysis, budget management alignment, marketing tactics and strategies, business development, and internet marketing. (2 credits) Spring

M4954 Project Management
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. (2 credits) Summer

M4999 Directed Research MSLA
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. (1 to 17 credits) (Any semester, with permission from Director)

M5010 Capstone Externship/Project
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 student and MSLA office. A grade of “P” (pass) is given after the work is completed, and a letter from the supervisor summarizing the student’s experience is submitted to the MSLA Office. (4 Credits) (Any term following completion of coursework)

M4415- Statistics for the Legal Administrator
This course will introduce the fundamentals of statistics for the legal administrator. Students will learn how to measure efficiencies and work performance, perform and analyze needs assessment, track productivity, measure cases flows, and assess client needs. (2 credits) Fall, Summer

M4210- Law Firm Space and Facilities
This course is designed to inform the student of the fundamentals of managing a firm’s space and facilities and provide the student with the necessary skills to relocate the firm if necessary. Topics will include risk management, disaster planning and recovery, office relocation, leasing agreements, insurance, facilities project management, and vendor agreements. (2 credits) Fall

M4215- Court Space, Facilities, and Security
This course is designed to inform the students of the fundamentals of managing the court’s space, facilities and security. Aspects of this course include: facilities management, operational standards and management, safety and security, assessing courthouse building needs, developing space planning reports, the management of all types of space projects, building and personnel security issues, contingency planning, and disaster recovery. (2 credits) Fall

M4090- Court Information Technology
This course is designed to introduce the students to the intricacies of information technology in a court setting and the importance of an efficient and effective system. Topics will include communications technology (internal and external), virtual courthouses, electronic case filling, legal research systems, information and systems security, networking abilities and needs, court reporting/recording and accessibility to the public (website). (2 credits) Spring

M4220- Judicial Performance and Evaluation
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

M4384- Court Communication and Media Relations
This course will inform the students how to address communications and manage media relations for the courts. Topics will include views of the court from multiple perspectives, communicating to different constituencies, public relations and customer satisfaction, and educational outreach programs.
(2 credits) Fall

M4310- World Judicial Systemsimage
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

M4320- The Fundamentals of Comparative Law
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

M4300- Introduction to the U.S. Judicial System
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

M4330- Specialty Courts
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

M4205 – Lawyer Recruitment, Development, and Advancement
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

M4181 – Inclusiveness and Diversity
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

L4709 – Accounting for the Small Legal Practice
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



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