How to Find a Paralegal Program near Burlingame California
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Burlingame CA and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Burlingame residences. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school should be taken into account as well. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, just 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 classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Burlingame CA with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally 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 code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but some of their regular tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Burlingame CA 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 paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to begin your career in Burlingame CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your career 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Burlingame CA.
Online Paralegal Classes
Online paralegal schools have become more available and can be a good option for individuals in Burlingame CA looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Burlingame CA area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important factors to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Burlingame CA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Burlingame CA paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you select 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 contact some law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Burlingame CA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to first consider those colleges that are within your Burlingame CA local area.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help offset part of the cost, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Burlingame CA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these added costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Burlingame CA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Last, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Burlingame CA?
Burlingame /ˈbɜːrlɪŋɡeɪm/ is a city in San Mateo County, California. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula and has a significant shoreline on San Francisco Bay. The city is named after diplomat Anson Burlingame and is often referred to as the City of Trees due to its numerous eucalyptus groves. Burlingame is known for its high residential quality of life with a walkable downtown area and excellent public school system. In August, 2017, the median home value in Burlingame was $2.05M. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Burlingame had a population of 28,806.
Burlingame is situated on land previously owned by San Francisco-based merchant William Davis Merry Howard. Howard planted many eucalyptus trees on his property and retired to live on the land. Howard died in 1856 and the land was sold to William C. Ralston, a prominent banker. In 1868, Ralston named the land after his friend, Anson Burlingame, the United States Ambassador to China. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, hundreds of lots in Burlingame were sold to people looking to establish new homes, and the town of Burlingame was incorporated in 1908. In 1910, the neighboring town of Easton was annexed and this area is now known as the Easton Addition neighborhood of Burlingame.
Burlingame is known as the City of Trees due to its over 18,000 public trees within the city. In 1908, the Burlingame board of trustees passed an ordinance "prohibiting cutting, injuring, or destroying trees". The city also has many parks and eucalyptus groves.
There are four highways passing through Burlingame. Highway 101 runs near the San Francisco Bay, running from San Jose to San Francisco. Highway 82, also known as El Camino Real, follows a parallel course. Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) connects with Interstate 280.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal Degree Program near Burlingame CA
Choosing the ideal paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Burlingame residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Different kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you elect to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the right education you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Burlingame CA.
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