Methods and trends in the business of delivering legal services. Addresses finance, technology, ethical duties, management principles, creating a business plan, client development, marketing, and other essentials to lead an efficient and ethical legal service ministry. Attention to best practices and trends on the professional horizon.
Students who lead an OLAP-accredited center that serves low income clients, paralegals in law firms, and attorneys creating their own firms need the fundamental skills and principles to understand the business side of delivering legal services. The 4000-level course is designed for students who join the staff of an ongoing center, students who plan to start a center, and paralegals.
Law practice management, whether in non-profit immigration centers or traditional law offices, involves knowledge of a broad range of subjects and specialized skills. An office manager needs an understanding of hiring, staffing, finance, facilities management, marketing, trends in technology, issues in ethics, and numerous other topics. This course will also explore and develop skills and opportunities for ministry in the legal field.
The course will examine Biblical concepts of leadership, ministry to low-income clients, the treatment of foreigners, and principles for employers. Students will also examine the Biblical foundations and guidelines for professional standards and ethical duties.
Students will examine the practice of law from the perspective of serving the needs of a community and conducting business as a Christian in a post-Christian culture.
In the process of researching the environment of a legal services office or possible sites for an immigration center, students will investigate potential contexts, including geographic locations, one or more target people groups, and the characteristics of a sociocultural market. Members of the class will compare and contrast possible ministry approaches for different locations, groups and markets.
Cultural differences and culturally-appropriate methods are very important in the successful launch or promotion of an immigration legal services center. During the course, students will investigate and then discuss their observations, impressions and options. Similarly, churches that support such centers have cultures and attitudes of their own. Students will consider the perspectives of key church leaders.
In the 4000-level course, students will examine an established legal services office or center. Activities may include interviewing current leaders, observing clients, researching the community that is served by the office/center, investigating promotional materials and methods, and inspecting the center's records, policies, and procedures. In the 6000-level course, students will do all of the 3000-level examination. In addition, they will be challenged to make assessments and recommendations. Courses at both levels will create a business plan and ministry proposal to initiate or improve some significant aspect of the office management.
In the course assignments, students will research real people groups, real sites, real centers and offices, and real leaders. They will be encouraged to design a business plan/ministry proposal for an actual ministry center or law office. During the course, members of the class will have opportunities to share insights and information to assist other students in their understanding of ministry skills and awareness of cultural differences.