How to Find a Paralegal Training Program near Talbotton Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Talbotton GA and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the best 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 increasingly more educational choices are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Talbotton homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be taken into account also. Later on 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 each one before making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold the same job positions and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Talbotton GA with a wide variety of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their regular tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare 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 Talbotton GA paralegal can be involved and very challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Training 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 prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Talbotton GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may take as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected certifying agencies in the field 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 cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Talbotton GA.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Online paralegal schools have become more common and can be an excellent alternative for those in Talbotton GA looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can often be less costly 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 address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing Talbotton GA area schools. But since there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial issues to think about as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may 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 get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Talbotton GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Talbotton GA paralegal schools you are considering. 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 training exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, 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 call some law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start establishing contacts within the Talbotton GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance 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 Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to first investigate those colleges that are within your Talbotton GA local area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Talbotton GA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Talbotton GA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you enroll in offers that option. Last, ask what the process is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Talbotton GA?
In 1846, Talbotton was the site of the first session of the newly created Georgia Supreme Court. (For several decades, Georgia had chosen to do without such a judicial body.) The court was soon relocated to the state capital.
Talbotton may be best known in history as the place where the immigrant Straus family got their start in retail sales in the 19th century. Decades later, the family acquired R. H. Macy & Co. in New York and eventually turned it into the famous Macy's chain.
Talbotton is located at 32°40′41″N 84°32′23″W / 32.67806°N 84.53972°W / 32.67806; -84.53972 (32.678170, -84.539787). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2), of which 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) is land and 0.32% is water.
Talbotton has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and mild winters. The record high of 110 °F (43 °C) and record low of −6 °F (−21 °C) were recorded on July 19, 1913 and February 13, 1899, respectively.
Choose the Right Paralegal Program near Talbotton GA
Enrolling in the best paralegal educational program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Talbotton home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in numerous lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you elect to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to assess each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the right training you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Talbotton GA.
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