How to Select a Paralegal Program near Shannon Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Shannon AL and start your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Shannon homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into account too. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Shannon AL with a diverse array of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their daily tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Shannon AL paralegal can be involved and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career in Shannon AL as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected certifying organizations in the profession are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Shannon AL.
Paralegal Online Training
Paralegal online programs have become more popular and can be an excellent option for those in Shannon AL searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the process of evaluating Shannon AL area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant aspects to think about also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Shannon AL law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Shannon AL paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Shannon AL legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it may be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to create relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Shannon AL local area.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be available to help offset some of the expense, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Shannon AL. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online school, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Shannon AL, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose makes available that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Shannon AL?
Shannon Lucas (born September 27, 1983) is an American heavy metal drummer from Staunton, Virginia. He is best known as the former drummer for death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder and metalcore band All That Remains.
Lucas began drumming at the age of 14 while also covering Slayer songs on guitar; he later joined percussion classes in high school. At age 19, he moved to Richmond, Virginia, and joined Cory Smoot in the GWAR side project Mensrea while playing with the deathgrind band Wartorn. While opening for GWAR with the band, Lucas met All That Remains vocalist Phil Labonte and the two remained in close contact. Lucas later moved to Massachusetts and joined All That Remains, replacing drummer Michael Bartlett. Lucas appeared in the All That Remains videos "The Air That I Breathe" and "Tattered on my Sleeve," and performed on tours such as Sounds of the Underground and Ozzfest 2006. Lucas left the band soon after to move to Michigan. He was replaced by Jason Costa.
In March 2007, Shannon Lucas auditioned for the melodic death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder on a floor display drum kit at the Guitar Center store in Canton, Michigan, where he worked. He was given the job, replacing Zach Gibson. Since joining the band, Lucas played on their 2007 release Nocturnal, 2009's Deflorate, and 2011's Ritual, and he appeared in the DVD Majesty.
On January 30, 2012, Cannibal Corpse singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher confirmed to Metal Injection magazine that he, Lucas, and Adam Dutkiewicz of the band Killswitch Engage were forming a side project, likely to be released on Metal Blade Records. In 2016, the band announced its name as Serpentine Dominion and revealed the release date of their debut album.
Choose the Right Paralegal Training near Shannon AL
Selecting the ideal paralegal degree program is an important first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Shannon residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you elect to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Shannon AL.
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