How to Find a Paralegal Program near Tombstone Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Tombstone AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Tombstone homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you must take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be considered as well. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective 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 exactly what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Tombstone AZ with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but some of their regular activities can involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Tombstone AZ paralegal can be complicated and very challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Tombstone AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be earned at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Tombstone AZ.
Paralegal Online Schools
Paralegal online programs have become more available and may be a good alternative for those in Tombstone AZ looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can often be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the process of evaluating Tombstone AZ area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial factors to consider 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 programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Tombstone AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Tombstone AZ paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. 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 Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Tombstone AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those colleges that are within your Tombstone AZ local region.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce some of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Tombstone AZ. Of course if you opt to attend an online school, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Tombstone 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 choose makes available that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Tombstone AZ?
Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, founded in 1879 by prospector Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory. It became one of the last boomtowns in the American frontier. The town grew significantly into the mid-1880s as the local mines produced $40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years. It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and presently draws most of its revenue from tourism.
The town was established on a mesa above the Goodenough Mine. Within two years of its founding, although far distant from any other metropolitan area, Tombstone had a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dance halls and brothels. All of these businesses were situated among and on top of a large number of silver mines. The gentlemen and ladies of Tombstone attended operas presented by visiting acting troupes at the Schieffelin Hall opera house, while the miners and cowboys saw shows at the Bird Cage Theatre and brothel.
Under the surface were tensions that grew into deadly conflict. The mining capitalists and the townspeople were largely Republicans from the Northern states. Many of the ranchers (some of whom—like the Clantons—were also rustlers or other criminal varieties) were Confederate sympathizers and Democrats. The booming city was only 30 miles (48 km) from the U.S.–Mexico border and was an open market for cattle stolen from ranches in Sonora, Mexico, by a loosely organized band of outlaws known as The Cowboys. The Earp brothers—Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan—as well as Doc Holliday, arrived in December 1879 and mid-1880. The Earps had ongoing conflicts with Cowboys Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, and Billy Claiborne. The Cowboys repeatedly threatened the Earps over many months until the conflict escalated into a shootout on October 26, 1881. The historic gunfight is often portrayed as occurring at the O.K. Corral, though it actually occurred a short distance away in an empty lot on Fremont Street.
In the mid-1880s, the silver mines penetrated the water table and the mining companies made significant investments in specialized pumps. A fire in 1886 destroyed the Grand Central hoist and the pumping plant, and it was unprofitable to rebuild the costly pumps. The city nearly became a ghost town, saved only because it was the Cochise County seat until 1929. The city's population dwindled to a low of 646 in 1910, but grew to 1,380 by 2010. Tombstone has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.
Select the Right Paralegal Degree Program near Tombstone AZ
Choosing the right paralegal degree program is an important first step toward your success in the rewarding 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 comfort and privacy of your Tombstone home. Paralegal training programs are offered in various lengths and formats. Different kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to review each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Tombstone AZ.
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