How to Select a Paralegal Training Program near Wells Maine
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Wells ME and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Many potential students start by searching for paralegal schools within driving range of their Wells homes. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school must be considered as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic 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 for the most part both hold the same job roles 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 separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Wells ME with a wide variety of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Wells ME paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically 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 fastest means to launch your career in Wells ME as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be earned at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Maine to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Wells ME.
Paralegal Online Programs
Paralegal online schools have become more available and can be an excellent option for those in Wells ME looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to individuals who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Wells ME area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical factors to think about also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Wells ME law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Wells ME paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine 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. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Wells ME legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Maine legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to first look at those colleges that are within your Wells ME local area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be available to help offset some of the cost, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Wells ME. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Wells ME, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in provides that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Wells ME?
Me and Orson Welles
Me and Orson Welles is a 2008 British-American period drama film directed by Richard Linklater and starring Zac Efron, Christian McKay, and Claire Danes. Based on Robert Kaplow's novel of the same name, the story, set in 1937 New York, tells of a teenager hired to perform in Orson Welles's groundbreaking stage adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. He becomes attracted to a career-driven production assistant.
The film was shot in London and New York and on the Isle of Man in February, March and April 2008, and was released in the United States on November 25, 2009, and the United Kingdom on December 4, 2009.
In New York City in the fall of 1937, 17-year-old high-school student Richard Samuels meets Orson Welles, who unexpectedly offers him the role of Lucius in Caesar, the first production of his new Mercury Theatre repertory company. The company is immersed in rehearsals at its Broadway theater. Charmed by Welles, Richard infers that he is having an affair with the leading actress while his wife is pregnant. Richard finds ambitious production assistant Sonja Jones is attracted to him.
Welles tells Richard a few days before the premiere that he is worried, because he has recently had nothing but good luck; he fears that he will finally have bad luck with the premiere, and that the play will be a flop. During rehearsals Richard accidentally sets off the sprinkler system, soaking the entire theatre. When accused by Welles he denies having anything to do with the deluge, and suggests that the catastrophe was the bad luck that Welles needed to get out of the way.
Find the Right Paralegal Program near Wells ME
Choosing the ideal paralegal educational program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Wells home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to evaluate each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Wells ME.
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