Software Essentials for the Law Office

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Official Program Description

This dynamic course is designed for legal professionals interested in improving their skills and knowledge of commonly used computer technology and programs within the law office. Course topics include: computer operating systems and peripheral devices; time tracking and billing software; database, case management and docket control software; litigation support software; electronic discovery, and trial presentation and graphics software.

Hands on exercises will prepare students to work with popular programs such as MS PowerPoint, Practice Master’s Tabs 3, AbacusLaw, Trial Director and LexisNexis Casemap & TimeMap, as well as understand the common functions and purposes of similar programs.

Common billing procedures and payment agreements, accurate time tracking, proper calendar and docketing procedures as well as the processes involved in electronic discovery will be addressed through a variety of exercises. In addition, students will be presented with real-life scenarios and asked to identify and examine ethical issues raised by the use of technology in a legal practice.

See specific content information below in sections, "Attend and You Will Learn" and "Additional Information."

Attend and You Will Receive

Successful graduates of this non-credit course will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from North Carolina State University.

Attend and You Will Learn

Participants will demonstrate the following skills through successful completion of all required coursework and assignments:

  • Identify various computer-system components and discuss how computers are being used in legal organizations.
  • Distinguish among the various forms of computer software and explain the concept of metadata.
  • Recognize the ethical issues raised by the use of computers in the law office.
  • Explain what timekeeping and billing are and the computerized time keeping and billing process.
  • Describe the different types of legal fee agreements and explain the factors for determining whether a fee is reasonable.
  • List the basic features and functions of timekeeping and billing programs and explain why accurate billings are important to law firms.
  • Explain what a docket control system is and describe the computerized docket cycle.
  • Describe how a computerized case management system can prevent cases from being forgotten or overlooked.
  • Discuss why docket control and case management are important to a legal organization from an ethics perspective.
  • Explain why electronic discovery is an important aspect of litigation.
  • Identify the term that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure use for all electronic data, and understand its scope.
  • Explain the purpose of the “meet and confer” pretrial conference that parties must have pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Discuss the duty of parties to preserve electronic information and understand the different steps of an electronic discovery procedure.
  • Explain what litigation support is and why computerized litigation support methods are more successful than manual methods.
  • Identify the three major types of litigation support systems and explain the litigation support process.
  • Describe how an automated courtroom works.
  • Explain how presentation software can be used in the legal environment.

Additional Information


This is an accelerated course. You will be expected to spend approximately 9 hours per lesson reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that extensions will not be granted for this online course. This course is the equivalent of at least 50 clock hours of study. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course.

Course Books:

Required textbooks for this course:

Using Computers in the Law Office, 7th Edition, with MindTap by Matthew S. Cornick, ISBN: 9781305361874

Texts may be purchased from The Center for Legal Studies Online Store and are sold in sets only.

For more information, call The Center for Legal Studies at 888-407-5138, or visit our Online Store to order.

Highly Recommended Legal Resources:

Oran’s Dictionary of the Law, 4th Edition, by Daniel Oran.

Ethics Assignments:

For each lesson you will submit a short answer/essay assignment covering ethical considerations for that lesson’s reading. Ethics accounts for 20% of your final grade.


You will complete 6 quizzes. Quizzes account for 40% of your grade and are comprised of true/false, multiple choice, short answer and essay questions.

Hands-on Exercises:

You will complete various hand-ons exercises for each lesson. The activities involve research, synthesis, application, and demonstration of competency of use for the various software featured. Hands-on Exercises account for 30% of your grade and are comprised of true/false, multiple choice, short answer and essay questions.

Case Studies Assignments:

You will also post your responses to six case study assignments.

All lesson objectives, assignments, and tests can be found in the Lesson Materials.


Your grade will be based on your completion of six ethics writing assignment assignments, six quizzes, hands-on exercises, and Case Study Submissions. The exams and writing assignments can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Assignments’ under Activities on the Left Hand Block.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

The six ethics assignments comprise 20% of your grade.
The six quizzes comprise 40% of your grade.
The hands on exercises are 30% of your grade.
The case study assignments comprise 10% of your grade.


  Software Essentials for the Law Office
  2019 - OPD - Fall 2018   Status:  Available
Online:   20 Aug 2018 to 05 Oct 2018
Course Fee(s):
Registration Fee non-credit    $749.00
Delivery Options:  Online Self Paced