30 Great Free Online Courses for Paralegals 2020

The legal system may be constantly evolving, but free online courses offer a great way for paralegals to stay up to date with all of the latest! Thanks to websites like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn, anyone from anywhere can participate in online courses offered by the world’s best universities. That means you can learn about intellectual property law, brush up on successful negotiation strategy, and debate international humanitarian law on your own preferred time table. Though hundreds of online legal courses are available, we’ve got the rundown on 30 of the best free online courses for paralegals.

American Contract Law I

Yale Yale University

American Contract Law I is the first part of a free online course offered by Yale University via Coursera. It’s especially helpful for the paralegal whose tasks include preparing and filing contracts. This beginner-level online course covers the ways in which a valid contract is created. It describes the key parts of an enforceable contract, including:

  • the offer
  • acceptance
  • consideration
  • promissory estoppel

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about 20 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice

HarvardHarvard University

Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice is a free online course offered by Harvard University via edX. It’s ideal for the paralegal working in family law. This beginner-level online class discusses:

  • the impact of violence and abuse on children
  • the ways in which global child protection issues can be analyzed
  • the standards of protection for children in contact with the law

The course is 100% online, offers flexible deadlines, and takes about 1-3 hours per week for 28 weeks.
Online Course Website

Communication Skills and Teamwork

FullbridgeFullbridge

Communication Skills and Teamwork is a free online course which is sure to prove beneficial to anyone with a career involving communication, including paralegals. It’s offered by Fullbridge via edX. This beginner-level course walks students through creating and delivering:

  • high-impact communications
  • improving their soft skills
  • effectively leading and collaborating on teams

The course is 100% online, offers flexible deadlines, and takes about four weeks to complete.
Online Course Website

Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract

HarvardHarvard University

Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract is a free online course offered by Harvard University via edX. It’s perfect for those who work regularly with contracts. This intermediate-level online course covers such topics as:

  • the differences between contracts, trusts, and promises
  • forming contracts through valid offer and acceptance
  • issues excusing contractual performance
  • remedies for contractual breaches

The class is 100% online, is self paced, and can be completed in about 3-6 hours per week for eight weeks.
Online Course Website

Corporate & Commercial Law I: Contracts & Employment Law

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Corporate & Commercial Law I: Contracts & Employment Law is the first part of a free online course offered by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It’s available via Coursera. This intermediate-level course is ideal for paralegals working in firms dealing with contracts and employment law. By the end of the course, participants will be able to identify the different legal principles governing various business situations and to apply those principles to an issue. The course is 100% online and offers flexible deadlines. It takes approximately 23 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Creative Problem Solving

University of Minnesota

Creative Problem Solving is a free online course offered by University of Minnesota via Coursera. It’s ideal for anyone who must think critically, including paralegals. This helpful online class uses:

  • creativity-building exercises
  • short lectures
  • readings

to help students develop multiple ideas and concepts to solve problems. The course is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and can be completed in about 14 hours.
Online Course Website

Data Privacy Fundamentals

Northeastern UniversityNortheastern University

Data Privacy Fundamentals is a free online course offered by Northeastern University via Coursera. It’s ideal for the paralegal who routinely works with privacy laws. This beginner-level course covers:

  • various theories of data privacy
  • data privacy as it relates to social media and A.I.
  • data privacy in regards to surveillance and new technologies, among other things

The course is 100% online, offers flexible deadlines, and takes about nine hours to complete.
Online Course Website

English for Effective Business Writing

Hong Kong The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

English for Effective Business Writing is ideal for the paralegal who wants to improve his or her written English. It’s offered by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via Coursera.  This course is taught entirely in English and is part of a larger series on Business English. Students will learn to write professional business documents while practicing correct use of vocabulary, grammar, and different business writing genres. The course is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and can be completed in about 24 hours.
Online Course Website

Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry

International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)

Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry is a free online course offered by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers via Future Learn. It’s ideal for paralegals working with copyright law. This beginner-level course introduces students to:

  • the history of authorship
  • the challenges faced by modern creators
  • the ever-evolving legal framework for protecting creative rights

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about three hours of work per week over four weeks.
Online Course Website

FinTech Law and Policy

Duke Duke University

FinTech Law and Policy is a free online course offered by Duke University via Coursera. It’s perfect for the paralegal working in the ever-evolving world of financial technology. This beginner-level course provides students with an understanding of the critical legal, regulatory, and policy issues associated with:

  • cryptocurrencies
  • online lending
  • initial coin offerings
  • new wealth management technologies, among other things

The course is 100% online, offers flexible deadlines, and can be completed in approximately nine hours.
Online Course Website

Framing Your Communication to Inspire and Convince

Delft Delft University of Technology

Framing Your Communication to Inspire and Convince is a free online course offered by The Netherlands-based Delft University of Technology via edX. It’s ideal for the paralegals who want to improve their oh-so-important communication skills. This intermediate-level course explores the ways  one can gain support from management and motivate teams by learning how to communicate effectively and strategically. The course is 100% online, offers flexible deadlines, and takes approximately 4-5 hours of work per week for five weeks.
Online Course Website

Health, Housing, and Educational Services

Columbia Columbia University

Health, Housing, and Educational Services is a free online course offered by Columbia University via Coursera. It’s ideal for paralegals working with cases relating to:

  • housing
  • education
  • healthcare
  • immigration

This beginner-level course looks at these important issues from legal and social standpoints. The course is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about 19 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Hot Topics in Criminal Justice

Vanderbilt Vanderbilt University

Hot Topics in Criminal Justice is a free online course that is sure to appeal to any paralegal who is working in or interested in criminal justice. Offered by Vanderbilt University via Coursera, this beginner-level course discusses hot-button topics such as:

  • mass incarceration
  • the death penalty
  • stop and frisk
  • surveillance technology, to name but a few

The course is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and can be completed in about 19 hours.
Online Course Website

Inequality and Democracy

UtrechtUtrecht University

Inequality and Democracy is a free online course offered by Utrecht University via Coursera. It’s ideal for any paralegal. This beginner-level course covers everything from property rights and the corporation, to tax avoidance and capital flight, to campaign finance and lobbying, and everything in between. It’s looked at from the perspective that in most countries around the world, things are getting more and more unequal. The course is taught in English, is 100% online, and can be completed in approximately 20 hours.
Online Course Website

Intellectual Property Law

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

Intellectual Property Law is a free online course offered by Penn via the website Coursera. It’s perfect for the paralegal working in or interested in intellectual property. This intermediate-level course covers:

  • the types of intellectual property protection available in the U.S.
  • the ways in which patent documents are analyzed and interpreted
  • the ways brands and other creative innovations can be protected

The course is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes approximately four months to complete.
Online Course Website

Intellectual Property Law and Policy: Part I

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

Intellectual Property Law and Policy is the first part of a two-part course offered by University of Pennsylvania via edX. It’s ideal for any paralegal who needs to keep up with evolving intellectual property law. This intermediate-level course provides students with overviews of:

  • intellectual property law
  • patent law
  • some policy implications of intellectual property

The course is 100% online, can be done at one’s own pace, and takes about 2-3 hours of work per week for six weeks.
Online Course Website

An Introduction to American Law

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

An Introduction to American Law is a free online course offered by University of Pennsylvania via Coursera. It’s perfect for those considering or just beginning their career as a paralegal. This beginner-level online class provides students with an introduction to six important areas of American law:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Property
  • Tort Law

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about nine hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Introduction to Intellectual Property

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

Introduction to Intellectual Property is a free online course offered by University of Pennsylvania via Coursera. It’s perfect for the paralegal working in intellectual property. This beginner-level online class:

  • discusses the various forms of intellectual property protection available in the U.S.
  • analyzes effective intellectual property strategies
  • examines alternatives to formal intellectual property protections, among other things

The course is the first of four on intellectual property law. It’s taught 100% online and takes about 16 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Introduction to International Criminal Law

Case Western ReserveCase Western Reserve University

Introduction to International Criminal Law is a free online course offered by Case Western Reserve University via Coursera. It’s perfect for those working in or interested in criminal law. This beginner-level online class provides students with an introduction to topics such as:

  • war crimes
  • terrorism
  • piracy
  • torture

Students will also learn about how suspects of these crimes are apprehended and tried. The class is 100% online, offers flexible deadlines, and can be completed in about 12 hours.
Online Course Website

Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

Introduction to Key Constitution Concepts and Supreme Court Cases is a free online course. It provides valuable background information for anyone working in the legal profession, including paralegals. It’s offered by Penn via Coursera. This beginner-level course introduces students to:

  • the Constitution and its origins
  • the nature and structure of the federal government
  • various landmark Supreme Court cases

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and can be completed in approximately six hours.
Online Course Website

Introduction to Logic

Stanford Stanford University

Logic is an important skill for anyone working in the field of law, and that makes this free online course a must-do for any paralegal. It’s offered by Stanford University via Coursera. Introduction to Logic introduces students to:

  • the ways in which information can be encoded into logical sentences
  • how one can reason with information presented
  • how logic technology can be applied to law, business, and other fields

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about 54 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Mergers and Acquisitions – The Relentless Pursuit of Synergy

Moscow Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Mergers and Acquisitions is a free online course offered by the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology via Coursera. Though part of a series of courses on finance, this course would prove helpful to any paralegal working for a firm which deals with mergers and acquisitions. This intermediate-level course is taught in English and is 100% online. It offers flexible deadlines and can be completed in approximately 20 hours.
Online Course Website

Patent Law

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

Patent Law is another free online law course offered by Penn via Coursera. It’s especially helpful for those paralegals who work routinely with patent law. This course covers:

  • the scope and limits of patent protection
  • the standards of patentability and the requirements of patent law
  • strategies for addressing patent infringement
  • interpreting various patent-related claims

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes approximately 10 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Privacy Law and Data Protection

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

Privacy Law and Data Protection is a free online course which explores the complex and ever-evolving concept of privacy. It’s offered by University of Pennsylvania via Coursera. This online law class covers:

  • the Fair Information Principles
  • the laws which pertain to data protection
  • strategies for managing compliance issues related to privacy laws
  • the privacy obligations that apply to various organizations

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about 12 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics

Wesleyan Wesleyan University

Property and Liability is a free online course which explores “the oldest and most familiar principles of American law, property and proportional liability, in a new and surprising way.” It’s offered by Wesleyan University via Courser. This interesting course covers topics ranging from Exchange and Efficiency to Crime and Punishment. The class can be completed entirely online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about 18 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Structuring Business Agreements for Success

Cornell Cornell University

Structuring Business Agreements for Success is a free online course offered by Cornell University via edX. It’s especially helpful for paralegals who routinely work with business agreements. This beginner-level online class provides students with an introduction to:

  • the laws that govern businesses and society
  • the structure of contracts
  • the ways in which lawyers construct legal arguments

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and can be completed in 2-3 hours per week for five weeks.
Online Course Website

Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

MichiganUniversity of Michigan

University of Michigan offers the free online course Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills via the website Coursera. It’s ideal for the paralegal whose tasks include communicating with clients, court representatives, and lawyers. This course introduces students to the four steps to successful negotiation:

  • Prepare
  • Negotiate
  • Close
  • Perform and Evaluate

The class is 100% online, offers flexible deadlines, and takes approximately 16 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments

Duke Duke University

Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments is the first of four free online courses offered by Duke University via Coursera. It’s helpful for any paralegal who routinely reads, hears, and deciphers legal arguments. This beginner-level online class discusses how to identify and analyze arguments made by other people, and how to construct one’s own arguments. The class is taught 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and can be completed in approximately 16 hours.
Online Course Website

U.S. Health Law Fundamentals

PennUniversity of Pennsylvania

U.S. Health Law Fundamentals is a free online course which explores the ways in which regulations, statutes, and common law influence the United States healthcare system and any potential changes. It’s offered by University of Pennsylvania via Coursera. This beginner-level course covers a variety of topics, including :

  • the role of administrative law in modern medical care
  • basic medical malpractice standards
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • the scope and limits of conscientious objection, to name a few

The class is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about 10 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Understanding Research Methods

University of LondonUniversity of London

Understanding Research Methods is a free online course that’s certain to prove helpful for anyone whose job includes research, including paralegals. It’s offered by University of London via Coursera. This class covers:

  • research methods
  • planning and management for research
  • helpful resources, among other things

The class is taught 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes about 10 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

 

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