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PRDV301: Introduction to Paralegal Studies

Unit 6: Substantive Areas of Law: An Overview   An entrepreneur comes to your law office.  She is interested in starting a business and is seeking your advice.  She asks, “What form of business should I choose?  How can my partners and I protect ourselves in case we are sued?  What might we be sued for?  Can you help us draft contracts with suppliers and key employees?”

These basic questions raise issues touching on various substantive areas of law.  In this unit, you will learn about the leading areas of substantive law that lawyers and paralegals are exposed to.  For example, if your entrepreneur client is sued because her product injures someone, you will need to be familiar with tort law.  If the client and her business partners agree to part ways after the business has been operating for a while, you will want to be familiar with contract and property law to determine who is entitled to what.  While many paralegals work for large law firms and specialize in a substantive area of law, the majority of paralegals will need to be familiar with several substantive areas of law.  This unit will give you a good introduction to the major substantive areas.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 3 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.4: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.5: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.6: 0.5 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Discuss basic matters of substantive law. - Describe the various types of actions that can be bought in court.

6.1 Torts   - Web Media: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “Business Law” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “Business Law” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and watch the entire
video.  This video from Saylor’s BUS205: Business Law and Ethics
course provides a comprehensive introduction to the law of torts. 
As you progress in your paralegal education, you will need to become
more familiar with this important area of law.  

 Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the
webpage displayed above.

6.2 Contracts   - Reading: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 6: Contracts” Link: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 6: Contracts” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the
introduction to “Chapter 6: Contracts.”  This introduction looks at
a case involving actors Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke.  It raises
important questions about the nature of contracts.  Be sure to take
note of the definition of a contract and the consequences for
breaking a contract.  While this is a valuable introduction to
contracts, you will need to become more familiar with this area of
law as you continue your paralegal education.  

 Reading this chapter should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.3 Property Law   - Reading: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 8: The Property System” Link: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 8: The Property System” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the
introduction to “Chapter 8: The Property System.”  Note that
property can be both tangible and intangible.  What kinds of
property do you think might be intangible?  This is a valuable
introduction to some of the legal issues related to property and its
possession and ownership.  Be sure to click on the link near the end
of the introduction, which will allow you to explore the ownership
of DNA.  

 Reading this chapter should take approximately 20 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.4 Family Law   - Reading: Syracuse University College of Law’s “What Is Family Law?” Link: Syracuse University College of Law’s “What Is Family Law?” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the entire
webpage.  This page provides a brief overview of the broad areas
known as family law.  Note the many topics covered by the term
“family law,” ranging from marriage and divorce to estate planning
and elder law.  Many of the required abilities and legal areas of
proficiency listed for a law student considering family law also
apply to the paralegal student.  Again, if family law is an area of
interest for you, you will need to consider a course focused on this
area of law during your paralegal education.  

 Reading this material should take approximately 10 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.5 Business and Commercial Law   - Reading: Business Law and the Legal Environment: “Section 8.1: General Perspectives on Contracts” and “Section 8.2: Sources of Contract Law” Link: Business Law and the Legal Environment: "Section 8.1: General Perspectives on Contracts" (PDF) and “Section 8.2: Sources of Contract Law” (PDF)

 Instructions: Click on the link above and scroll down to sections
8.1and 8.2. You will learn that “common-law contract principles
govern contracts for real estate and services.” Contracts for the
sale of goods are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).  

 Please note that some material in this resource is also covered in
the reading below:  Cornell University Law School:  Legal
Information Institute’s “Commercial Law.”  

 Reading these sections should take you approximately 45 minutes to
complete.  

 Terms of Use: The text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a
[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work's original creator or licensee.
  • Reading: Cornell University Law School: Legal Information Institute’s “Commercial Law” Link: Cornell University Law School: Legal Information Institute’s “Commercial Law” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this entire webpage.  This page gives a brief overview of commercial law.  In addition, this reading provides several links that you should click on to explore the various areas of commercial law.  You may also explore the Uniform Commercial Code, though it is not necessary to explore the code in any depth.

    Reading this material should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.6 Wills and Estates   - Reading: B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center College Correspondence Program: Keith Nordyke’s Intro to Law and the Paralegal Profession: “Chapter 15: Wills and Estates” Link: B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center College Correspondence Program: Keith Nordyke’s Intro to Law and the Paralegal Profession: “Chapter 15: Wills and Estates” (PDF)

 Instructions: As the title of this reading suggests, in this
subunit you will learn about the law related to the passage of
property at the end of life.  This covers areas of vital importance
to the many people who want to insure their property passes as they
wish and with the greatest protections for themselves and their
loved one.  You will learn about the importance of wills as well as
the consequences of not having a will.  In addition, you will be
introduced to basic considerations of estate planning and taxes.
This chapter begins on page 183.  

 Reading this chapter should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted by the kind
permission of the B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center College
Correspondence Program and Keith Nordyke.  Please note that this
material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity
without explicit permission from the copyright holder.