PLA301 - Legal Accounting

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-03-12 00:00:03.946
Last review date 2018-04-10 15:45:53.6

Subject Title
Legal Accounting

Subject Description
This subject is designed to provide the basics of legal accounting, including the Law Society requirements of paralegals. Students will build on their knowledge through the study of Excel and PCLaw.

Credit Status
This is a credit course applicable towards the Paralegal Certificate Program offered through the Faculty of Continuing Education.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic accounting concepts and terminology.
  2. Understand and use general accounting principles (e.g., meet financial and record keeping obligations, understand benefit of employing accountant or bookkeeper to assist).
  3. Distinguish between a general account and a trust account, and analyze and apply the obligations related to trust accounts (e.g., preservation of client property, types of monies to be deposited, withdrawal of trust monies.)
  4. Analyze and apply the Law Society's books and record keeping requirements (e.g., maintenance of appropriate trust and general books and records).
  5. Correctly use accounting journals and ledgers in accordance with By-law 9 of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
  6. Analyze and record transactions, adjust entries and prepare a trial balance.
  7. Prepare simple financial statements.
  8. Reconcile accounts with bank statements.
  9. Calculate HST.
  10. Use Excel software to correctly produce spreadsheets and to collect, analyze and manipulate data.
  11. Use PCLaw to enter accurate client and financial data to generate financial and practice-management documents appropriate for a paralegal practice.
  12. Display an attitude of professionalism, as evidenced by an ability to meet deadlines, complete assignments and perform tests and in-class assignments as scheduled.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Execute mathematical operations accurately.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

All Module One and Two Courses

It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and course prerequisites as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Course content and your instructor's teaching assumes that students are academically prepared and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or advanced standing for the prerequisite course) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate course with the risk of academic/financial penalty.

Topic Outline
1. Basic Accounting

  • Terminology
  • General accounting principles
  • The accounting equation
  • Debits and credits
  • General account and trust account
  • Adjusting entries
  • Preparing a trial balance
  • Financial statements
  • Bank reconciliations
  • GST

2. Law Society requirements
  • Maintaining appropriate trust and general books and records
  • Obligations related to trust accounts
  • By-law requirements
           i. Accounting journals
          ii. Accounting ledgers

3. PClaw
  • Create and enter data for dockets, etc.
  • Maintain and manipulate data for legal office applications

4. Excel
  • Production of spreadsheets
  • Production of charts

The instructor reserves the right to make adjustments to the above course content and will notify the class in advance of implementing any changes. 

Mode of Instruction
Students learn through interactive classroom lectures, discussion and group problem solving.

It is the student's responsibility to save documents, articles and notes that the instructor has provided on Blackboard or in class. Students will not be able to access Blackboard as of the last day of the student's class. 

Prescribed Texts
Paralegal Bookeeping Guide to be downloaded from the Law Society

Reference Material

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

Accounting Test 40%
PC Law Test 30%
Excel Test 30%

Materials permitted into tests and exams are at the discretion of the instructor.
Students must attain a grade of at least 50% to pass the course.

Please Note
  • Exams are evaluated on subject knowledge as well as correct language usage, organization, and mastery of the subject.

Absenteeism and Tests
  • Students should be aware that absenteeism will impact on their ability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • If you miss a test, you must provide the reason in writing to the instructor prior to the next scheduled class. If your reason is accepted, you will be permitted to write a make-up test. Otherwise, you will be given a zero for the test. You must submit an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time of expected absence and the specific reason for your absence, or other appropriate documentation.

Academic Honesty

Students at Seneca College are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavours. When students cheat on an examination, steal the words or ideas of another, or falsify their research results, it corrupts the learning process. A Seneca College degree, diploma or certificate signifies to society mastery of a set of defined learning outcomes in a designated field of study. If academic credit is obtained dishonestly, the value of every graduate's diploma in the field of study is diminished, as is the reputation of the college as a whole.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

The penalty for a first offence is a grade of '0' on the assignment or examination. The penalty for the second offence is expulsion for a time period determined by the Academic Honesty Committee, normally for a minimum of three terms. For further information refer to the policies section of the Seneca College student handbook, or to the following website:

Approved by: Sandra Noble