How to Find a Paralegal College near Lake Montezuma Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Lake Montezuma AZ and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Lake Montezuma residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be taken into consideration as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at 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, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Lake Montezuma AZ with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their daily activities can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Lake Montezuma AZ paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career in Lake Montezuma AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might choose to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Lake Montezuma AZ.
Online Paralegal Schools
Online paralegal programs have become more available and may be an excellent alternative for individuals in Lake Montezuma AZ searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater 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 highly regarded agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the process of evaluating Lake Montezuma AZ area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical factors to research also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Lake Montezuma AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Lake Montezuma AZ paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Lake Montezuma AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from state to state, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first look at those colleges that are within your Lake Montezuma AZ local region.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be accessible to help reduce some of the expense, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Lake Montezuma AZ. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these added expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Lake Montezuma AZ, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in provides that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Lake Montezuma AZ?
Lake Montezuma, Arizona
Lake Montezuma is a census-designated place (CDP) in Yavapai County in the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 3,344 at the 2000 census. The CDP includes the communities of Rimrock and McGuireville. Located along Interstate 17, it is 20 miles (32 km) south of Sedona and 8 miles (13 km) north of Camp Verde in central Arizona's Verde Valley.
Wales Arnold, the first settler along Beaver Creek, came to Beaver Creek in 1870 and lived at what became known as The Montezuma Well Ranch. Arnold, who came to Arizona as a member of the California Column during the Civil War ultimately became the sutler or civilian merchant of the firm Arnold and Bowers at Camp Lincoln following his discharge from the Army at Fort Whipple August 29, 1864. His partner in this enterprise was George Bowers who was killed by Indians near the head of Copper Canyon while en route to Prescott alongside a young soldier named Robert Nix. Arnold held several hay contracts with the Army at Camp Lincoln (renamed Fort Verde in 1868) and grew the first alfalfa known to be grown in the Verde Valley. The Montezuma Well Ranch served as a way station where mail riders changed horses when the mail began to be carried from Fort Whipple to Fort Wingate.
The part of the community known as McGuireville began in 1910 when Eugene McGuire settled near the confluence of Dry Beaver Creek and Wet Beaver Creek. This was also at the junction of the historic road from Stoneman Lake which split there with one route going on to Cornville, Cottonwood and Jerome and the other going south to Camp Verde and on to Prescott via Copper Canyon or Cherry. Eugene McGuire along with his son Gene homesteaded there beginning in 1910. Their small store and gas station was supplanted by another store operated by Midge Montgomery who started Beaver Creek Store there in 1931.
The area generally became known as Rimrock in 1928 when Virginia Finnie, the daughter of a prominent local rancher, married Romaine Lowdermilk and the couple along with partner Russell Boardman started a dude ranch originally called Rimrock Lodge later known as Rimrock Dude Ranch. It was so named for the prominent limestone rimrocks forming the edges of the mesas visible from the hill top ranch. Her prominent guests were wanting efficient communications with the outside world so Virginia saw the need to establish a post office on the ranch. Virginia's Mother-in-law, Ella Loudermilk, became the first post mistress of the newly established Rimrock Post Office chartered July 11, 1928. People from the Coconino County line near Stoneman Lake, Apache Maid Ranch etc. and up and down the creek nearly to Camp Verde, picked up their mail at the Rimrock Post Office. The former area of Beaver Creek School district thus generally became known as Rimrock. One of Arizona's oldest continuously operated landing strips - The Rimrock Airport - is located here as dudes used to fly into the ranch in days gone by.
Choose the Best Paralegal Program near Lake Montezuma AZ
Enrolling in the right paralegal educational program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Lake Montezuma home. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions offer paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you decide to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to examine each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Lake Montezuma AZ.
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