How to Pick a Paralegal Degree Program near Russell Kentucky
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Russell KY and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students start by searching for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Russell homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school must be considered too. Later on in this article we will review a list of concerns that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s have 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 basically both fill comparable job positions and responsibilities, only 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 category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Russell KY with a wide range of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their day-to-day activities may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Russell KY paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically 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 quickest means to launch your career in Russell KY as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Kentucky to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Russell KY.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Paralegal online schools have become more common and can be a good alternative for individuals in Russell KY searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can often be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Russell KY area schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant factors to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Russell KY law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Russell KY paralegal schools 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 caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while still in school. They can also present an avenue for students to begin establishing contacts within the Russell KY legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after 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 profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Kentucky legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from state to state, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially look at those colleges that are within your Russell KY local region.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help offset some of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Russell KY. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Russell KY, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you choose makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Russell KY?
Russell is a home rule-class city on the south bank of the Ohio River in Greenup County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 3,380 as of the 2010 census, down from 3,645 in 2000. Russell is a suburb of Ashland and part of the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton metropolitan area. It has close economic affiliations with its neighbors, Ashland and Flatwoods in Kentucky and Ironton, Ohio.
The hilly site near the confluence of White Oak Creek and the Ohio was chosen by pioneer Jeff Moore in 1823 in order to provide protection for his camp against attacks by local American Indian tribes.[dubious – discuss] In 1829, James E. McDowell, William Lindsay Poage, and his brother erected an iron furnace; they named the foundry and the community that grew up around it "Amanda Furnace" after William's infant daughter. The furnace ceased operation in 1861.
John Russell and his Means and Russell Iron Company purchased the land of the present city beside Amanda Hill from the Poage brothers. They laid out and established the town of Riverview in 1869 in expectation of an expansion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad westward from Huntington, West Virginia, to Cincinnati, Ohio. Ferry service to Ohio began in 1870, local landowners agreed to rename the community after its founder in 1873, and the city was formally incorporated under the name "Russell" in 1874. The expected C&O spur did not arrive until 1889 but, when it did, it constructed a railyard, roundhouse, and shops and the city grew quickly. The city celebrates this influence with the annual "Russell Railroad Days" each August.
Numerous disasters limited the city's growth. The Ohio River flooded the city in 1884, smallpox struck in 1901, and a fire consumed downtown and the city hall in 1903. In 1905, it was still the largest city in Greenup County, but the Ohio flooded again in 1913 and 1937. The 1937 flood affected all but 30 homes, and over 500 people were forced to shelter in C&O boxcars and cabooses until the waters receded. Despite the completion of a bridge to Ironton in 1922 and a floodwall in 1950, Russell was no longer the county's largest municipality by the mid-1950s.
Find the Right Paralegal School near Russell KY
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is a crucial first step toward 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 attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Russell home. Paralegal education programs are offered in numerous formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you elect to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to review each program and make your final selection. And with the ideal education you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Russell KY.
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