How to Select a Paralegal Certificate Program near Wayne Maine
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Wayne ME and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Wayne residences. Of those choices, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program must be considered also. Later in this article we will cover a list of questions that you must ask prospective 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 what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are offered 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 fill the same job roles and functions, 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 assist attorneys in Wayne ME with a wide range of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their daily activities can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting 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 preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Wayne ME paralegal can be complicated and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to take on a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training 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 educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to begin your career in Wayne ME as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can 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 offered as well. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may want to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Maine to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. 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 obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Wayne ME.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and may be a good alternative for those in Wayne ME searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can start the process of assessing Wayne ME area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical issues to research also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Wayne ME law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Wayne ME paralegal schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also present a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Wayne ME legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. 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 good relationships with Maine legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ from one state to another, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be important to create relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you choose 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 need to initially investigate those schools that are within your Wayne ME local area.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce part of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Wayne ME. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Wayne ME, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you select provides that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Wayne ME?
Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC (/ˈɡrɛtski/; born January 26, 1961) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach. He played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for four teams from 1979 to 1999. Nicknamed "The Great One", he has been called "the greatest hockey player ever" by many sportswriters, players, and the league itself. Gretzky is the leading scorer in NHL history, with more goals and assists than any other player. He garnered more assists than any other player scored total points, and is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, Gretzky tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records: 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records. As of 2015, he still holds 60 NHL records.
Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Gretzky honed his skills at a backyard rink and regularly played minor hockey at a level far above his peers. Despite his unimpressive stature, strength and speed, Gretzky's intelligence and reading of the game were unrivaled. He was adept at dodging checks from opposing players, and consistently anticipated where the puck was going to be and executed the right move at the right time. Gretzky became known for setting up behind his opponent's net, an area that was nicknamed "Gretzky's office".
In 1978, Gretzky signed with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association (WHA), where he briefly played before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. When the WHA folded, the Oilers joined the NHL, where he established many scoring records and led his team to four Stanley Cup championships. Gretzky's trade to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9, 1988 had an immediate impact on the team's performance, eventually leading them to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, and he is credited with popularizing hockey in California. Gretzky played briefly for the St. Louis Blues before finishing his career with the New York Rangers. Gretzky captured nine Hart Trophies as the most valuable player, 10 Art Ross Trophies for most points in a season, two Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP, and five Lester B. Pearson Awards (now called the Ted Lindsay Award) for most outstanding player as judged by his peers. He won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and performance five times, and often spoke out against fighting in hockey.
After his retirement in 1999, Gretzky was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, making him the most recent player to have the waiting period waived. The NHL retired his jersey number 99 league-wide, making him the only player to receive such an honour. Gretzky was one of six players voted to the International Ice Hockey Federation's (IIHF) Centennial All-Star Team. Gretzky became executive director for the Canadian national men's hockey team during the 2002 Winter Olympics, in which the team won a gold medal. In 2000, he became part-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, and following the 2004–05 NHL lock-out he became the team's head coach. In 2004, Gretzky was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. In September 2009, following the franchise's bankruptcy, Gretzky resigned as coach and relinquished his ownership share. In October 2016, he became partner and vice-chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group.
Choose the Right Paralegal Degree Program near Wayne ME
Choosing the right paralegal educational program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Wayne residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in various formats and lengths. Several kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you decide to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to examine each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Wayne ME.
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