LGL3220EN - Legal Terminology for Legal Services

Course description

Introduction to the vocabulary and concepts commonly used in legal proceedings and communication, focusing on meaning and correct usage. Attention to explaining and restating legal vocabulary in lay terms and to explaining American legal terms to individuals from other cultures.

How this course benefits students

Students going into the fields of immigration law, legal translation, and criminal justice need a working knowledge of the vocabulary of courts, lawyers, various governmental agencies, and legal documents. This course includes an overview of the American legal system so that students will be able to distinguish the appropriate context for terms and concepts used in civil law, criminal law, administrative law, and drafting or reading legal documents. The course will also address the issue of unauthorized practice of law and other ethical limitations that arise when individuals are communicating with people who ask questions that require an application of the law in specific circumstances. Courses in legal terminology are available from most community colleges (sometimes incorporated into an introduction to law) and in paralegal programs offered by for-profit educational institutions. These courses focus on the student's understanding and correct usage of legal terms, which is important. The Missional University course, however, will also cover communicating with individuals from other cultures.

Why this course is important

Legal terms can be intimidating and confusing. This course provides a foundation for understanding the legal terms and concepts that are commonly encountered in community ministries, diaspora work, and the legal profession. Students will also explore the boundary between providing information and the unauthorized practice of law.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Legal Services
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The course will briefly examine the Biblical concepts underlying American legal processes. Students will have optional assignments to further explore these concepts.

Missionally driven

This course will prepare professionals at all levels in the legal field, those in ministry roles, and anyone who works with individuals who have legal issues or questions. Students will understand basic legal terms and concepts so that they can communicate and assist in professional positions or in the community. The course will also examine situations in which referral to an attorney is appropriate.

Contextually informed

Students will understand and use terms that are common in the legal profession. The class will also discuss the many ways in which God can use legal terminology in ministry roles.

Interculturally focused

Students will understand and use terms that are common in the legal profession. The class will also discuss the many ways in which God can use legal terminology in ministry roles.

Practically minded

The course will present legal terms and concepts needed by attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries, immigration representatives, and others. Students will learn to spell, pronounce, and use terms correctly. Students will also demonstrate the skills to research meanings and usage of additional legal terms to expand their vocabulary after completing the course.

Experientially transformed

Students will assist one another in learning the foundational terms and concepts needed in the basic legal fields, as well as sharing the results of their investigation into specialized legal topics. Students will practice using legal terms in case studies and in conversations with practicing legal professionals.