Computer Applications in the Law Office - CUS 1107


Professor Lois Cherepon (718)390-4521(Voice)                                                         Spring 2003



            A basic introduction course to word-processing and other software applications used in the law office.  Specific applications will include: drafting and editing documents, documents & file management, use of databases for litigation support, time accounting & billing, docket control, calendar management, online legal research, legal research via the Internet, spreadsheet programs, and graphics presentation programs.   A final project - created using PowerPoint - will include documentation of all the software programs covered throughout the semester.   Weekly assignments, readings & discussions as assigned.




Week 1    Jan. 22-26            Introduction to Course, Introduction to Computers                                           

                                              Readings: Chapters 1 & 2


Week 2   Jan. 27-Feb. 2       Computer Software – Operating Systems Software

                                               --Operating Systems  Windows                                    

                                               Readings: Chapters 3 & 4


Week 3  Feb. 3-9                  Graphical Presentation Software – Microsoft PowerPoint

                                               Readings: Chapter 14


Week 4 Feb. 10-16              Word Processing - Microsoft Word

                                              Readings: Chapter 5


Week 5 Feb. 17-23              Word Processing - Microsoft Word, continued

                                              Readings: Chapter 5


Week 6 Feb. 24-Mar.2       Spreadsheet Software – Excel

                                             Readings: Chapter 6


Week 7 Mar.3-9                  Spring Break


Week 8  Mar.10-16            Database Management Systems - Access

                                          Readings: Chapter 7                                                 


Week 9 Mar. 17-23            Computer Assisted Legal Research (CALR) – Lexis

                                             Readings: Chapter 8


Week 10 Mar. 24-30          Legal Research on the Internet

                                             Readings: Chapter 9


Week 11 Mar. 31-Apr.6    Litigation Control Software – Summation Blaze

                                             Readings: Chapter 10


Week 12 Apr. 7-13             Legal Timekeeping/Billing – Timeslips

                                             Readings: Chapter 11



Week 13 Apr.14-20            Docket Control Software - Abacus

                                             Readings: Chapter 12


Week 14  Apr. 21-27          Specialized Legal Software – Family Lawyer

                                             Readings: Chapter 13


Week 15  Apr.28-May 5    Final Project Review  - PowerPoint






General Overview:

This is an online course, which is composed of various components: readings, assignments delivered via e-mail, online discussions, and a final project.   The readings and the chapter notes will assist you with completing your assignments.   The creation of your final project will provide you with the opportunity to incorporate the many software skills that you will acquire over the semester into a “Course Portfolio.”   There are approximately 4 assignments per week in addition to weekly PowerPoint slides for the Portfolio.   Also, there is approximately one chapter of reading per week, except for the first two weeks where the readings are doubled.  You are also expected to logon and participate in the weekly discussions posted in the “Discussions” on WebCT.   These postings, a minimum of 3 per week,  will count as your class participation grade.   They must be substantial and follow the guidelines posted on WebCT.   The   syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of your instructor.   You are expected to check the calendar and your e-mail on WebCT at least twice weekly.   You are also expected to submit your assignments within the week that they are given.  Late assignments will not be accepted.   For other course guidelines and further details about the requirements, please see the information posted for this course on WebCT under “Introduction”.


Software Requirements:

Since this course is being offered “online”, you need to have access to the following computer software:  Windows, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Access, Microsoft, Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.   You will also need access to Abacus, Summation Blaze, and Timeslips – which are supplied on a compact disc with your textbook in a demo version of the software.  You will need access to the Internet in order to do legal research via the Internet, and to access Lexis/Nexis via the SJU Library’s webpage.   The eleventh program listed on the syllabus is Family Lawyer, which will be an optional assignment.


All of this software is available on campus at the SJU libraries and in the microcomputer labs.  In the event you don’t have a computer at home, OR, if your computer malfunctions, OR, if you don’t have some of the software listed, you may need to come to campus to complete your assignments.   The library and the labs typically are open 7 days a week.   See the SJU homepage for hours of operation.


If the software versions used for the lessons in the textbook don’t match the versions you own, contact your instructor for other instructions.   In most instances, you will only need to make minor adjustments to the lessons in order to complete the assignment.




Assignments & Readings(required):

Each week there will be readings assigned from your textbook and assignments taken from the Lessons at the end of each chapter in the text.   You are responsible to cover all the readings.   I will post “Chapter Notes” weekly to summarize the readings for that week.   The assignments are taken directly from your textbook, available at the SJU Staten Island campus bookstore, online at or Barnesand, or on reserve at the SJU Staten Island campus library.   Assignments are due by Sunday for the week they are given.   No late assignments will be accepted.   Spelling and grammar count so please spellcheck all your work before submitting it.   All assignments should be submitted via e-mail.   I will return graded assignments via e-mail.


Live Classroom Sessions( 2 per week – not required):


There will be two weekly “live” classroom times,

Wednesdays, 9-10:30pm, and Sundays, 9-10:30pm.


During these hours, I will be available online to answer your questions live, and assist with assignments or other course related questions.  I am also available during the week by appointment, typically Monday through Friday, 8:30-4:30, SJU Staten Island Campus.   You are not required to logon during these two weekly live classroom sessions.   These sessions are simply designated as “exclusive availability” time for assistance.   The sessions will begin on Wed. Jan. 22 through Sunday, May 4, unless otherwise noted on the course calendar.  Please check the schedule on the calendar before attempting to e-mail me during these sessions to insure that the time slots are active.    No live classroom sessions during breaks, or on Sunday, Jan. 26.


Discussions on WebCT (Class Participation – 3 per week - required):

The “Discussions” postings, 3 due per week, you may submit at your discretion.  However, you must submit them on three separate days of the week, with at least one day in-between postings.   They must be of a significant length and show considerable thought about the topic.   Discussion guidelines will be posted on WebCT.   If you neglect to post your contributions to the discussions, your participation grade will be affected adversely.   Please be mindful about these postings because you will not be reminded.   The weekly topic will be posted on Sunday evening and you will have from Monday to Sunday to respond and participate.


Final Project – “Course Portfolio” using PowerPoint(required):

You are required to create a final project – a “Course Portfolio” using PowerPoint.   Throughout the semester you will be learning to use 11 different software programs, including legal research on the Internet.   The project you will create on PowerPoint will be a course portfolio.  For this reason, I’m including the Chapter on Graphical Presentation Software during the first two weeks of the semester.  Each week, you will be required to create slides in PowerPoint that demonstrate how well you understand the software program covered that week.   You will also create slides that will portray the documents you created using that software.   You are required to create a minimum of 4 slides per software program, at least two(more, if necessary) detailing each software program, and at least two demonstrating how you’ve applied this program to create a document – these can be taken directly from the weekly assignments for each chapter.  You will also be required to create a title slide, and a minimum of 4 slides about your own information, such as: name, address, career goals, academic career, etc... 


By the end of the semester, you will have created a PowerPoint slide show with a minimum of 49 slides.   In an effort to measure your progress, you will submit the slides you create weekly, and edit them as necessary.    You will also be required to create slide transitions, insert clipart, and use other creative techniques such as background colors or slide styles.   Your project grade will be based on: content, style & creativity, and overall presentation.  This is an individual project but you are encouraged to ask other classmates for hints about PowerPoint during our weekly online discussions.


              Readings: Textbook & Chapter Notes  – weekly


  Assignments:  – weekly


              Discussions Participation – Minimum of 3 postings per week,

                                                            beginning Jan. 22 through May 4


 Final Project “Course Portfolio” –  Slides for each chapter covered

                                                             weekly beginning Feb. 9

                                                                         Final Project - due May 5









            Grades are based on:

              Assignments – due weekly (50%),

              Participation in Discussions – 3 postings per week (25%),

              Final Project in PowerPoint (25%).





By appointment.   My office is located in the SJU Staten Island campus library, lower level.

I am typically at the library Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30, but call first to confirm.





Primary Text:

Roper, Brent D. Using Computers in the Law Office, 3rd ed., West Legal Studies, Salinas, CA 2000.



Supplementary Texts:

            Long, Judy A.  Legal Research Using the Internet, West Legal Studies – Thomson Learning, CA 2000.





Professor Lois Cherepon

718-390-4521 (Voice)  (E-mail)

Library - Lower Level (Office)