Paralegal Certificate Program
A paralegal certificate program can provide a person who wants to work in the legal profession the opportunity to fulfill that ambition without prior college experience. Paralegals are persons who assist lawyers in their profession of advocating for the law. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the need for paralegals will grow at a faster rate than the average for all occupations through 2014. Through a certificate program consisting roughly of sixty college credit hours of instruction, a person can achieve a position in a law firm that can pay over fifty thousand dollars per year after twenty years of experience. It is an honorable profession and one that is sorely needed in many law firms across the country.
Many college graduates who may have a hard time finding work in their chosen profession can do entry level paralegal work without a paralegal certificate program. To be honest, entry level PL work can be pretty boring. Hours of document copying, collating, filing documenting and other related work. Sometimes interviewing of witnesses may be on the job description, but it really is more about the more mundane responsibilities. The hours may not be as routine as one might hope for the average twenty-one thousand dollars to start. That's the average amount an entry level PL makes per year. Hours may sometimes go into the weekends, especially if there is a big case coming up. But if a person makes this vocation a life-long commitment, more opportunities within the firm can arise, allowing for exciting work and responsibilities as well as higher pay.
Paralegals are not able to offer legal services themselves because the government does not recognize a paralegal as an officer of the court and are not under the same kinds of rules of conduct as are attorneys. In an effort to cut down on expenses to much higher paid attorneys, many companies are turning to PLs to do the work that the lawyers has been doing in the past. However, PLs are specifically forbidden by law to set fee schedules, give legal advice and presenting cases in court. While many who perform paralegal work for attorneys are not professionally trained, there are many who seek the paralegal certificate program diploma and its inherent recognition that the person is interested in furthering their career through education. Finding a place to train and receive paralegal certificate program recognition can be done at most junior colleges as well as at plenty of online educational provider websites. Here is what a person can expect:
Not all certificate program offerings are the same. Some are twenty five credit hours while others are longer, but more doesn't necessarily mean better. What can be expected are a number of introductory courses to basic law fundamentals. Most courses offer an oversight of the American court and legal system, a study of torts and personal injury cases, family law, criminal law, real estate regulations and law, business law and legal writing. If a person has had difficulty in school with English and communication, this could present a problem in the pursuit of the paralegal certificate program diploma. In addition to these required courses, a number of electives are also available, meant to enhance the future PL's understanding of legal matters. "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore and remember His marvelous works that he hath done; His wonders and the judgments of his mouth." (Psalm 105:4, 5)
Since about one thousand colleges and universities offer paralegal training, their certificate program often gets more attention from potential employers than the online providers. The programs that are approved by the American Bar Association are the ones that a person considering such training ought to lean toward. Many of these programs allow and encourage an internship in various places like a private law firm, corporate legal department, legal aid organization or other government agency. These internships go a long way towards giving a potential employer a more favorable opinion of the one working through a paralegal certificate program. In addition to seeking a certification diploma, a future paralegal might want to consider getting into the National Federation of Paralegals upon graduation. A strong emphasis on continuing education will help the PL keep abreast of the continuing changes in the law. And as a PL gains more and more experience, management of other staff and newer PLs will probably be part of the job requirements as well as doing some traveling for the attorney to check records and interview witnesses.
Graduates of college can usually get through a paralegal certificate program in a few months. Those with no college degree may take a year or more to complete the program, but as stated earlier, each on is different and so research should be undertaken to find out the best paralegal certificate program for you. Paying for this education can be done through student loans to colleges and universities and those online schools that qualify for federal loans. Online providers may have some resources to help finance the education and that information can be gleaned at the initial phone call. Before investing money in any program, do some extensive job shadowing with paralegals at different locations to see not only what they job is all about but also find out their feelings about the job and their long term future in the field. Getting into the paralegal profession may lead a person down the road to becoming an attorney!
Legal Assistant TrainingLegal assistant training is for the individual who loves to learn about legal issues. There are courses available on the Internet that includes hands-on training by professionals who are experts of law. Many instructors are licensed attorneys. Some studies can be done at home in one's spare time. Learning career skills through online paralegal training can be accomplished while working full-time. Desiring a worthy vocation is a good thing, along with helping people is even better. Seek God for the best training classes available in the field of law. "And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do" (Exodus 18:20).
Learn how to draft important documents and providing support to attorneys are important job functions performed by a paralegal. Research may include making some phone calls or doing searches on the Internet. Working one-on-one with clients and making determinations based upon interviews can be critical for effective resolutions. Legal assistant training takes into consideration the needs of attorneys. A lawyer is most often looking for individuals who can perform time-consuming tasks to free up their time for more important considerations and functions.
Lessons for online paralegal training are usually easy to understand while providing extensive instruction. There are variables in coursework that help to see the big picture when it comes to the law. What is the function of a paralegal concerning law? Coursework includes information that gives definitions of the purpose of a lawyer's assistant. To be an assistant to an attorney can be a very rewarding profession. Seeing law related problems solved and being a part of those resolutions bring satisfaction in the career field.
Understanding the origins of law and the different types of laws is included in coursework for legal assistant training. It is important to understand the philosophy of law and objectives in performing legal tasks. There are analytical skills that need to be exercised when working on law related issues. Investigative procedures should be followed to effectively resolve crime related problems. It is imperative that a paralegal understands what an attorney needs when it comes to doing preliminary work on any given case. What kinds of questions should be asked during client interviews and how to map out a plan of investigation towards bringing about resolution and satisfactory representation is important in areas of law.
Being able to use a computer effectively is necessary when performing research and constructing documents. Included in online paralegal training are instructions on computer hardware and software. Learning how to use a word processor and legal software is necessary when performing this type of job. The ability to go on the Internet and perform research on information is imperative in this position.
The importance of good record keeping is vital in regard to client work in the field of law. Learning the ethics in online paralegal training and proper behavior is included in instructional courses. There are some functions within the legal profession that can be performed by an attorney only. An assistant to an attorney can perform many tasks to assist with daily operations but there are some things they cannot do. Coursework includes specifics to issues that must be performed by an attorney. Learning this information is vital to successful operations within a law firm.
Sample cases are given in instruction to provide the student with real life situations on legal issues that may be encountered in a real job. An attorney needs someone they can rely upon to complete client interviews in a professional manner and obtain complete and precise information. This saves the professional time later when applying legal resolutions. Preliminary data must be accurate and all research must be precise and included with each case.
Legal writing is an essential part of coursework with legal assistant training. Instruction on how to write different types of legal documents is imperative. Some of the documents that are written include memorandums, pleadings, letters, and legal document briefs. Understanding various documents is included in coursework for working in an attorney's office. Contracts that serve as documents of law in regards to real estate, corporations, probate law, government, criminal, insurance, personal injury, among others is included in instruction for training purposes. Online paralegal training provides sample documents that will be used in the office and courtroom.
Areas of opportunities in the paralegal field are numerous. Some of these areas include working in litigation by helping attorneys prosecute and provide defense in civil cases; assisting with real estate law by working with sellers, buyers, lenders and brokers as well as insurance companies; working with probate laws by helping individuals set up trusts, estates, and handle probate tax concerns; assisting attorneys in general practice; working in government fields with law enforcement, legal aid, and welfare; working in criminal law assisting with courtroom preparations, investigations, and witness interviewing, among others. Legal assistant training provides a myriad amount of choices for future aspirations.