Degrees Options in the Legal/Paralegal Field

December 7th, 2012 by admin

For centuries, one of the most prestigious fields to work in has been law. There are a lot of students who go to law school with no intention of practicing law, but realize the value of a law degree in fields like business and politics. If you have had a fascination with the legal field, there are several areas you can get degrees in that don’t involve going to law school. Some people want to work in the law but don’t want to spend the time or money to get a law degree. The good news is, there are several different legal positions that pay well, and some don’t require a ton of schooling. The following are the degrees you can get in legal professions and the schooling involved.

Becoming a Lawyer

Becoming a lawyer is probably the most rewarding of all of the legal positions. Aside from being a judge, being a lawyer is the most prominent position in the law. Lawyers often impact the way laws are made, including making arguments in unique cases that impact case law. Lawyers typically go to the most schooling out of all the legal professions. A lawyer must attend three years of law school before graduating. Many lawyers start out making six-figure incomes, especially if they graduate from a prestigious school. If a lawyer were to start a successful private practice, especially as a litigator, the potential to make millions is very high. The cost of law school is expensive, and some people would prefer to forgo the debt and schooling for a lesser position in the legal world.

Becoming a Paralegal

Being a paralegal can come about in several ways. Some states do not require that paralegals have any kind of formal training. Some paralegals are people with degrees but not necessarily paralegal degrees. Many universities offer degrees that are two years to complete for a paralegal certificate, but there are also bachelor degrees in paralegal studies. Anyone who is interested in making a career in paralegal work would benefit from getting an actual degree in paralegal studies. Paralegals make a solid wage in America. The median income for a paralegal is $49,960, and some paralegals make quite a bit more than that at large firms.

Becoming a Court Reporter

Another common area of the law many people pursue is court reporting. Court reporting has similar elements as paralegal work, but you cannot become a court reporter without some sort of formal training. There are several trade schools that offer a degree in court reporting, and you can usually obtain a certificate in two years or less. Court reporters work at the court, mostly transcribing hearings. They also have the opportunity to work with lawyers typing up depositions. Court reporters make slightly more than paralegals on average, raking in a median salary of $53,710. Many court reporters also help attorneys transcribe audio recordings that are needed for official documents or evidence in a trial.

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How do I choose which paralegal school to attend?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

paralegal-school-ts_000159Choosing which paralegal school to attend is an important step towards pursuing a new career. Paralegal schooling is meant to prepare one for a career as a legal assistant, and as such the most important factor in choosing which school to attend is the individual student’s career goals. A potential student needs to choose a school which will give them hands on experience as well as a school with good connections to local law firms and other legal employers.

It is important to choose a school that will give practical paralegal training and not just theoretical knowledge. Legal employers recognize when a school produces students who are ready to work on day one, and look to those schools’ graduates to fill future openings. It is helpful for a potential student to research if a school they are interested in offers a chance to get real work experience while working on the degree or certificate. If a school can offer this experience, it shows they have a real commitment to training competent participants in the legal profession. Choosing a school that places well in the geographical area the student wishes to work in after graduation is helpful in making the connections necessary to secure rewarding legal employment. Paralegal schooling prepares students for a life-long career, and a school which can start its graduates off in a good position will help ensure their future success.

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What is the difference between a legal assistant and a paralegal?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, paralegals and legal assistants actulegalassistant_ss_30025573ally perform job functions that are both related and different. On the job, the work they do is essential in ensuring that their organization will function properly and in a timely manner.

The role of the paralegal
Paralegals are frequently involved in casework, do legal research and assist in drafting legal documents. In addition, private organizations usually hire those with a background in law or political science because of the work they will be expected to do as a paralegal.
Because of the complex job functions they perform, paralegals earn about $49,640 annually in the United States, and this varies according to their experience, paralegal training and location. They can also advance their careers by completing additional paralegal schooling, which increases their legal knowledge and enhances their professional skills as well.

The role of the legal assistant
Legal assistants are usually part of their employer’s support staff, and they perform the administrative duties that attorneys and paralegals require. As a rule, they have secretarial experience, are skilled in maintaining accurate records, and are absolutely essential in helping lawyers and paralegals to do their job.

The salaries of legal assistants also depend on the area they work in and the job duties they perform. They also have the option of adding to their qualifications by becoming certified in some area, such as completing the legal assistant training program sponsored by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Information gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Do paralegal programs offer financial aid or student loans?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

courtroom-ts5342674Like most other schools, paralegal schools do indeed offer financial aid and student loans. Depending on the specific school, more monetary support can be given at some schools than at others.

Usually the paralegal training programs that give out the most financial aid are the larger, four year programs offered at big colleges and universities. But most of the other paralegal schools also offer at least some aid.

This aid can be in the form of student loans that are given out by both the state and federal government, or that are offered by the paralegal schools themselves. Also, grants and scholarships are sometimes handed out to academically deserving students.

Candidates for entrance into paralegal schools should consult with their admissions counselors to see how their financial profile would permit them to receive financial aid. The amount of these loans, grants or scholarships varies from school to school.

The money students can expect to receive depends on many factors, including current income, parent’s income, credit history and assets, and whether the student is employed or not. Most students training to be legal assistants receive some financial aid, since most people qualify to some degree.

To receive the highest amounts, students have to show the greatest financial need. All students have to do is fill out a few financial aid forms, including the annual FAFSA. These forms will help determine how much monetary assistance paralegal students will receive over the duration of their legal programs of study. It’s important for every student to apply for financial aid, even if they think they won’t receive any, since most do.

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Can I go to an online paralegal school?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

There are several paralegal programs available to those interested in attendingonline-paralegal-school-ss_11143765 online. Available from established and reputable colleges and university, these programs are accredited by the appropriate agencies for distance learning and paralegal studies. Colleges these days recognize that the average age of students are much older than it used to be, and these are people who are returning to school after holding full-time jobs and raising families. As a result, online paralegal programs have been created to accommodate these busy lifestyles.

Online paralegal schools offer opportunities to acquire an associate’s degree or a certificate, depending on career goals. Some schools have even begun offering Bachelor’s degrees in this field as the job market becomes more competitive. Most programs are able to be completed in under two years, sometimes faster than on-campus programs. Also, those enrolled can log on any time, day or night, to check homework assignments.

Distance programs in paralegal studies offer convenience and flexibility. The curriculum is designed to be comparable to that of campus education, and without the hassle of travel and time constraints. All students need is a functioning computer, and of course, a desire to learn about the paralegal field!

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How long does paralegal school take?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

long-does-paralegal-school-take - ts-89681664The length of the entire educational process at paralegal schools varies from school to school. Most programs are between six months and two years. But there are even a few four year paralegal programs where you can earn a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies.

Paralegal training to become a legal assistant in an attorney’s office involves a challenging course of study. The duration of the program concentrates on many different courses to adequately train you to become a highly qualified paralegal.

You’ll study general law and business law, along with tax law and real estate law. Probate law will also be studied in some paralegal schools. You’ll also take general business courses in finance and perhaps accounting. The course of study will also include the study of criminal law and torts, and other kinds of civil law and procedures.

After graduation, most legal assistants work in lawyer’s offices, but some can work in the academic sector for universities, while others gain employment in the public sector of the state and federal government.

Often, the training program also consists of an internship in an attorney’s office for a set period of time, usually three to nine months. This is done only after specific coursework has been completed either at an on campus paralegal school or at an online paralegal training program.

Online programs take about the same amount of time as traditional college programs. They are preferred, however, by many working adults who find it easier to fit in the time of attending school, since no commuting time or travel expenses are involved.

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What should I look for when visiting a paralegal school?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

There are many choices when it comes to selecting a good paralegal school. There are visiting-a-paralegal-school - ts-78487962over a thousand selections in the US and many online programs. The choice of a paralegal school depends on several factors—particularly location, tuition, reputation and what areas you want to specialize in. Paralegal schools offer a great variety and selection—such as specializing in law or real estate–when it comes to deciding what areas of specialization you are looking for. Most paralegal degree programs last three months up to two years. There are also shorter certificate programs available for those who have degrees or have in their background, previous legal experience.

It is advisable to find out first if the paralegal program you are interested in is accredited by the American Bar Association. If the school is not accredited, find out if it will fulfill the requirements you need for certification.

What makes a paralegal program ideal and interesting for many is its flexibility and various options available to fill your professional goals. There are many part and full time study options, as well as online options that can help you fulfill your dream of becoming a paralegal. If you are currently working, you may want to look for a paralegal program that allows you to work while at the same time, successfully completing your studies.

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How do I find paralegal schools?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

find-paralegal-schools - shutterstock_44985781If you are looking for a paralegal school that is close to you, you’re definitely in luck. Paralegal schools are now available in nearly every state and in most major cities, making paralegal training easily accessible to just about anyone. You can find paralegal training in a brick and mortar technical school, a night school or as a course in your local community college. There are some technical schools that specialize in training students to become legal assistants, which is similar in nature to paralegal training but less intense. Paralegal schooling is also available on the internet. There are many online courses that offer a complete training algorithm for paralegal students to learn the skills that they need to begin a career as a paralegal. Many of these online training schools offer complete transcripts and a diploma at the completion of the course. This will help make the student ready and marketable so that they can obtain employment as a paralegal when their training is complete.

One of the nicest things about the wide availability of paralegal schools is the flexibility of the learning schedule. Many people who are interested in paralegal school work full time and have families, and don’t have the ability to quit generating income to go to school. Thankfully, most of these paralegal schools offer flexible hours, night classes or a work at your own pace curriculum to help make it easy to fit going to school a viable option for just about anyone.

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What will I learn in paralegal classes/school?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

Paralegals are people who work with lawyers to assist them in a variety ofparalegal classes - shutterstock_9521488 areas. They may help lawyers find relevant facts and information in relation to a case; helping prepare for hearings, closings, and trials, or draft and file paperwork. However, in order to become a legal assistant, you must first complete a training program after receiving at least a bachelor’s degree. Below are outlined some of the important things that students learn in paralegal training.

First of all, in order to work with lawyers, a legal assistant must understand some of the basics of law. Some of the courses in paralegal schooling include an introduction to law and ethics, interviewing and investigation techniques, corporate and business law, and legal research and writing skills. These courses will provide an array of information that will be helpful in compiling information for a case. Also, paralegal schools prepare students for drafting all kinds of paperwork, including wills, divorce papers, tax forms, or trust fund paperwork. Although paralegal training does not include courses on presenting a case to a court or providing legal advice, training will provide all the necessary information for effectively working with a lawyer on a number of levels. Legal assistants often play an important role in any law office, so their education is key to the success of the firm as a whole. Paralegal schooling will teach you everything you need to know to be a successful legal assistant.

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What should I look for in a paralegal school?

January 26th, 2011 by admin

When it comes to being a paralegal, there are many schools that can help youlooking for paralegal schools - shutterstock_8224501 get a head start on your career. Paralegal schools are an excellent option for people who want to get involved in the legal market but don’t want to spend the time and expense on law school. But there are many paralegal schools, so how do you know which one to choose? Here are some things to get you going in your search for paralegal training.

Job placement statistics
If you are looking to become a legal assistant, then you will want to go to a place that offers good job placement. Look for paralegal schooling that will place you into a solid firm or perhaps even with a judge. You should ask for statistics when you are applying to various schools. Most schools that place well will be proud of their stats and they will have no problem providing them for you.

What is the cost?
When looking for paralegal schools, you want to keep cost in mind, too. It makes no sense to pay a lot of money for training if you don’t have the financial means. Also, you will want to consider whether or not your potential school offers financial aid. Paralegal schools that know what they are doing will help you with grants if you need them. Keeping the cost of paralegal schools low will help you when you get out of school, so make sure you keep this in mind as you make your final choice.

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