How to Select a Paralegal Program near Brisbane California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Brisbane CA and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within driving range of their Brisbane homes. Of those choices, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be considered too. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your choice. 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 the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Brisbane CA with a diverse array of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. 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 could help with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their regular tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Brisbane CA paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career in Brisbane CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and obtain a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded 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 school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Brisbane CA.
Online Paralegal Training
Paralegal online schools have become more prevalent and may be an excellent option for students in Brisbane CA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Brisbane CA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other significant factors to consider as well, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several 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 choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Brisbane CA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Brisbane CA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Brisbane CA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with California legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Since laws vary among states, it might be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially consider those schools that are within your Brisbane CA local area.
What is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be accessible to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Brisbane CA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Brisbane CA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Brisbane CA?
Brisbane (/ˈbrɪzbeɪn/ BRIZ-bayn, unlike Brisbane, Australia) is a small city located in California in the northern part of San Mateo County on the lower slopes of San Bruno Mountain. It is located on the southern border of San Francisco, on the northeastern edge of South San Francisco, next to the San Francisco Bay and near the San Francisco International Airport. The population was 4,282 as of the 2010 census.
Brisbane is called "The City of Stars" because of a holiday tradition established over 65 years ago. At the start of the Christmas/Hanukkah season, many residents and business owners place large, illuminated stars, some as big as 10 feet (3.0 m) or more in diameter, on the downhill sides of homes and offices throughout Brisbane. Many of the stars are kept up all year.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.1 square miles (52 km2), of which 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) is land and 17.0 square miles (44 km2) (84.58%) is water, the latter the Brisbane Lagoon. A remnant of San Francisco Bay, the Lagoon was formed by the construction of the U. S. Highway 101 causeway, and became diminished as most of its north and central portions were filled with landfill. Brisbane sits at the southeast corner of the Guadalupe Valley.
The first recorded inhabitants were the Costanoan Indians. They built dome-shaped dwellings of boughs and tules. By 1776, Spanish explorers had arrived and the Franciscan missionaries soon followed leaving numerous large land grants in their wake. With Mexican rule, the lands controlled by the Mission were released to private enterprise.
Select the Best Paralegal Degree Program near Brisbane CA
Choosing the right paralegal degree program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Brisbane residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in many formats and lengths. Various types of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to review each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the right training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Brisbane CA.
Other Cool Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 1300