Paralegal Education - Advanced Specialty Courses by API

NFPA is a sponsoring organization for CLE offered by the Advanced Paralegal Institute (API). API (founded in 1978 as AIPS) provides post baccalaureate certificate programs, continuing legal education seminars, and Advanced Specialty certificate tracks. Continuing education should be an integral part of the careers of all paralegals who want to stay abreast of the trends and developments in their field. It supplements both formal and informal education and training, and helps paralegals keep up with the ever-changing laws and regulations in their particular specialty. Advancement opportunities, both within the traditional legal setting and in a growing number of non-traditional settings, abound for those paralegals with specialized skills. In addition, many of these courses are helpful for preparing in-depth for the PACE exam or to maintain the Registered Paralegal status in fulfilling your CLE requirements. All courses are granted NFPA CLE units.

Advanced Specialty Certificates

API currently offers five (5) advanced specialty certificates: Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) , Corporate Law, Elder Law; Intellectual Property; and Foreclosure and Creditor/Debtor Law. All courses are at the graduate level and were developed by experts in each field of law. Students are awarded a specialty certificate upon successful completion of all courses in a given field. Specialty tracks require either a three or four course sequence. Some have prerequisites. A progress report is awarded for courses taken on an individual basis. Classes can be taken one at a time. Each course is 5 weeks in length (except PACE which is 7 weeks) and is paced and gated. Each week your instructor will provide you with specific assignments, readings, e-lectures and discussions which must be completed during that week. You can be on line any time or day during that week to complete your tasks, participate in your discussion questions etc. Computer Mediated learning permits exceptional flexibility in your busy schedule. The unique advantage is that the class is taught by an instructor. It is not a web based or a do it yourself course. Instructors are available each day.

API Advanced & Specialty courses are designed for legal professionals who have successfully completed a paralegal course of study with an earned degree or certificate from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Exceptions can be made for those with considerable paralegal work experience. However, the Advanced & Specialty programs and certificates are not intended in any way to substitute for an earned Paralegal Certificate or degree. All courses are considered avocational and no placement assistance is provided. These are not entry level courses.

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Two credit courses $795.00, plus books

*Tuition does not include book fees. (Students purchase their books directly from the publisher or online vendor. Renee Sova maintains a list for your convenience.)

Courses may be taken on an individual course basis, or combined to earn a Specialty Certificate.

Demonstration of virtual classroom.

For more information please contact Renee Sova, the Director of Advanced Specialty Programs at or at 678-777-9655.

In order to receive an advanced specialty certificate, you must take a three or four course sequence as designated below. Be sure to check with Renee Sova, Director of Advanced Specialty Programs, prior to signing up for your specialty certificate. The courses are grouped according to their specialty certificate in the table below. Course descriptions are detailed later in this document.

Prerequisites, where noted, are common core courses in most paralegal certificate and degree programs. The API course number is included for reference, but prerequisites do not need to be taken through the Institute if you are already a degreed or certificated paralegal.

Online Course Registration Form

Advanced Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialty Certificate

  1. Advanced Litigation (C525)
  2. Alternative Dispute Resolution (C530)
  3. Advanced Tort Law (C535)
  4. (Prerequisites: Civil Litigation (A102) and Tort Law (A101))

Advanced Corporate Law Specialty Certificate

  1. Advanced Corporate Law (C555)
  2. Intellectual Property Law (C565)
  3. Contract Law (C556)
  4. (Prerequisite: Business Law (B202))

Elder Law Specialty Certificate

  1. Estates and Trust Law (C570)
  2. Social Security, Medicare, and Government Pensions (C575)
  3. Elder Law (C580)
  4. Estate Planning (C576)

Intellectual Property Specialty Certificate

  1. Intellectual Property Law (C565)
  2. Copyright Law (C566)
  3. Trademark Law (C567)
  4. Patent Law (C568)

Foreclosure and Debtor/Creditor Law

  1. Real Estate ( A105)
  2. Bankruptcy Law (C560)
  3. Foreclosure Law ( C562)
  4. Debtor/Creditor Law ( C563)

Course Descriptions

2 credit hours

This course can be taken separately, or combined with selected courses to earn a Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialty certificate.
This course provides an in depth look at three aspects of civil litigation: (1) Procedures for instituting a civil action; (2) The skills, such as evidence gathering and trail preparation, necessary for a litigation paralegal; and (3) The appellate process. Students will review federal and state court jurisdiction, choice of forum issues, and service of process problems. Pretrial and trial skills to be developed include identifying issues raised through motions, providing supporting documents, having a working knowledge of the Rules of Evidence, investigation techniques, and using a conceptual framework for trial organization. In addition, appellate procedures involving both the trial and appellate courts will be examined.

2 credit hours

This course presents Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) against the backdrop of traditional litigation. Eight basic methods of ADR, and several hybrids, are explained in detail. In addition, students will explore seven arenas where disputes often arise and how one or more methods of ADR apply. Students will evaluate disputes and disputants to determine the most appropriate method for resolving a matter. Specific topics addressed include negotiation, mediation, arbitration, settlement strategies, the application of ADR to specific disputes in various industries and sections of the bar, sources of ADR services, and the role of the paralegal in ADR.

2 credit hours

A review of the laws governing torts and personal injury. Special emphasis is placed on investigation, negligence and special negligence actions, defenses to negligence, intentional torts with injuries to persons and property, defenses to intentional torts, strict liability, products liability, special tort actions and tort immunities. This course also discusses the critical role played by paralegals in bringing and defending tort actions.

2 credit hours

Advanced Corporate Law is designed for students who understand the basic principles of business organizations and are learning to draft more complicated documents and do research. The goals of the course are to demonstrate the application of the uniform laws, to compare language in sample clauses and forms, and to develop an understanding of the statutory framework for business organizations. Unit discussions include the law of agency, employment and compensation, sole proprietorships, general and limited partnerships, limited liability companies, the business corporation, corporate financial structure, and corporations in foreign jurisdictions.

2 credit hours

This course can be taken separately, or combined with selected courses to earn Corporate Law Specialist Certificate. This course is a survey of the basic principles of business law, including the law of contracts and the creation and operation of business entities. The first part of the course concerns the law of contracts, their enforcement and regulation according to common law and statutory guidelines. Topics include the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), types of contracts and the elements of binding contracts, defenses to valid contracts, how contractual duties are terminated, third party rights, damages, drafting and reviewing contracts. The second half of the course begins with a discussion of agency, and then covers the four main types of business formations: sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability corporations. The course ends with a brief discussion of the ways business organizations change and how companies borrow money.

2 credit hours

This course is a in-depth discussion of the law of contracts and the role of the paralegal in this area of law. Particular attention is given to the six basic requirements for every valid contract: offer, acceptance, consideration, legality of subject matter, contractual capacity, and contractual intent. Discussions also center upon the various classifications into which all contracts fall. Additional topics include the Statute of Frauds, the Uniform Commercial Code, third party contracts, and legal remedies for breach of contract. Students will learn how to draft and interpret different types of contracts, and will analyze case law involving contract disputes.

2 credit hours

The study of wills, intestate succession, trusts, estate planning, family protection, probate courts, uniform laws, the personal representative, and the process of probating a will and administering an estate. Specific attention is given to the laws of intestate succession; the technical requirements for executing, revoking, and contesting wills; trusts, including special-purpose trusts; estate planning; family protection laws, probate courts, and uniform laws related to estates and trusts; the appointment, duties, and titles of a personal representative; and the techniques used in formal and informal probate proceedings, as well as ancillary administration.

2 credit hours

A study of how Social Security and various retirement plans work together. Students will become familiar with benefits available under both systems and the forms and procedures involved. Specific attention is directed to the relationship between Social Security and other available federal, state, and private disability, retirement, and welfare programs. This course also addresses various private and governmental employment-based retirement plans.

2 credit hours

Estate Planning introduces the paralegal student to the terms, concepts, and practical steps involved in helping clients make decisions about who will own their property after death, and how wealth may be transferred through lifetime transfers, trusts, and wills to achieve maximum tax and personal benefits. The course reviews the significant aspects of estate planning in the context of three fictional families, whose goals, strategies, and results are defined and explained. Students are able to analyze and apply their knowledge of estate planning by comparing the different family backgrounds and different personal and financial goals of these fictional families. Special attention is given to taxation and estate planning, as well as to drafting an estate plan.

2 credit hours

A study of the field of elder care law, including the areas of advance directives, wills and guardianships. Special attention is focused on patients’’ rights in health care decision making, Medicare and Medicaid, managed care, long term care insurance, living facilities for the elderly, and financial planning for the elderly. Unit topics include the role of the paralegal as a member of the elder care law team, living wills and advance directives, the law of wills and guardianships, physician assisted suicide, managed care, nursing home and assisted living facilities, and Social Security benefits.

2 credit hours

A study of the four major disciplines of intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and patents. The goal of this course is to provide a background in intellectual property law and the skills required of an intellectual property paralegal. Discussion topics include: rights granted under copyright, principles of fair use, and the first sale doctrine; issues of ownership; copyright registration; state and federal trademark rights; federal trademark registration; securing Internet domain; trademark disputes; trade secrets; patent registration; and ownership, transfer and administration of patents. Students will work through an infringement lawsuit from cease and desist letter to settlement. In addition, specific emphasis is placed on the use of on-line research.

2 credit hours

Copyrights protect original artistic, literary, musical and other works. The course begins with an overview of intellectual property law with the primary emphasis on copyright law. The student will be introduced to basic copyright concepts and types of protectible works. The course targets the differences between derivative works and compilations, and discusses what is not protectible under copyright law. The rights granted under copyright and principles of fair use and the first sale doctrine are also explored. Information is introduced about the rights of musicians, record companies, music broadcasters, and other entities in the music business. The concept of copyright authorship is also explored. Issues of ownership are examined and particular attention is devoted to the concept of works made for hire and the duration of copyrights. How copyrights are transferred is discussed and students will learn how to perform some basic copyright research. Students will also discover how to perform copyright registration. The basics of preparing and filing copyright applications, as well as dealing with copyright notice and correcting and canceling of registrations is explored. Copyright infringement, remedies that may be sought for same, and the common defenses to an infringement allegation will be examined. Lastly, the student will study alternative dispute resolutions and the basics of preparing an infringement litigation case.

2 credit hours

This course is designed for paralegal students who wish to understand the basic principles of Intellectual Property law and who wish to focus and specialize in the area of Patent Law. Intellectual Property overlaps four general fields of law: trademarks (which protect names, logos, symbols, and other devices indicating the quality and source of products and services); copyrights (which protect original works of authorship); patents (which are grants by the federal government that allow their owners to exclude others from making, using, or selling the owner's invention); and trade secrets (which consist of a commercial information that, if disclosed, would give the competitor an advantage in the marketplace). This course deals exclusively with the law of patents. We will be covering the foundation of patent law, the patent searching process, the patent application process, the ownership rights associated with patents, how patent rights are transferred, the issues, remedies, and defenses involved in patent infringement actions, some of the new developments in patent law, and a general overview of International patent law.

2 credit hours

This course is designed for paralegal students who with to understand the basic principles of Intellectual Property law and focus on, or specialize in, Trademark Law. Intellectual Property overlaps four general fields of law: trademarks (which protect names, logos, symbols, and other devices indicating the quality and source of products and services); copyrights (which protect original works of authorship); patents (which are grants by the federal government that allow their owners to exclude others from making, using, or selling the owner's invention); and trade secrets (which consist of any commercial information that, if disclosed, would give the competitor an advantage in the marketplace). This course deals exclusively with the law of trademarks. The course will cover the foundations of Trademark Law, how to select and search for existing trademarks, how to conduct the trademark registration process and post registration procedures, how to maintain a trademark, what is involved in Inter Partes, trademark infringement and dilution proceedings, and an overview of the new developments in Trademark Law and International Trademark Law.

Real Estate Ownership and Transfer
2 credit hours

This course introduces the student to the basics of real property law and then proceeds step-by-step through the essential skills necessary in a real estate practice. Discussion topics include: types of ownership, encumbrances to ownership, contracts, deeds, real estate finance, title examinations and title insurance, and real estate closings. Students will review the substantive issues of a real estate closing as well as the forms and examples of closing documents.

Bankruptcy Law 
2 credit hours

This course is a survey of the entire spectrum of Bankruptcy law, from consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 petitions, to an overview of the complexities of Chapter 11 business bankruptcies. The course will provide the student with a basic but complete analysis of bankruptcy theory and practice based on the United States Bankruptcy Code. Instruction in the activities which are conducted by paralegals in bankruptcy practice is a major focus of the course. Discussion topics include the filing of bankruptcy petitions, motion practice in bankruptcy, the role and powers of the bankruptcy trustee, dischargeability of debts, reorganization cases, and the analysis and preparations of Statements and Schedules.

Foreclosure Law 
2 credit hours

Foreclosure is the main remedy that a mortgage holder has against a debtor property owner. In a foreclosure, the real property conveyed in a mortgage is sold and the proceeds of the sale are used to pay the debt. This course reviews the grounds for foreclosure, the types of foreclosure, the effects of a foreclosure sale, and the role of the paralegal in foreclosure proceedings. Remedies other than foreclosure are also discussed.

Debtor/Creditor Law
2 credit hours

Debtor/Creditor Law governs situations where one party is unable to pay a monetary debt to another. In this course, students learn about the types of creditors and the judicial and statutory processes available to them to have debts satisfied. This course also reviews the rights of debtors with regard to truth in lending, credit reporting agencies, debt collection practices, and identity theft.


2 credit hours

This course is designed to strengthen the student’s writing, analysis, and critical thinking skills. The course looks at crucial issues of writing in the context of the practice of law. By defining an effective writing process, and examining how to write for the appropriate audience, students will learn how to apply principles of plain English, logical analysis and proper planning, organizing, and drafting to a variety of legal documents.

To order your book(s), please e-mail Renee Sova at for publisher information or on line vendors.

Get immediate training via our Directed Study Courses. Directed Study Courses are for those individuals who need immediate training in a particular area of law or training tailored to meet their needs. If you select this option, AIPS will pair you with our subject matter expert in a directed study section, and you will work one on one with this faculty member.

NFPA CLE Credits

Each course provides for 5 NFPA CLE credits with the exception of Ethics which is worth 2.5 CLE Credits.


Students may register via our secure server by completing the Online Course Registration Form or printing the Registration Form & mailing it to NFPA. If you are paying by check do not submit your registration form online, print it and mail it with your check.

Refund Policy

If you cancel your Advanced Course prior to the start of class, a full refund will be made within 30 days. There is no refund once the class opens.

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