How to Find a Paralegal Training Program near Tecumseh Michigan
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Tecumseh MI and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic options are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within driving range of their Tecumseh residences. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program should be considered also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your selection. But first, let’s have 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 basically both hold comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Tecumseh MI with a diverse array of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal 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 code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their regular activities might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Tecumseh MI paralegal can be involved and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks 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 preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Tecumseh MI as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive 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 as well. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Michigan to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Tecumseh MI.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and can be an excellent alternative for students in Tecumseh MI searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing Tecumseh MI area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important aspects to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded organization 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 education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Tecumseh MI law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Tecumseh MI paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact a few law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Keep 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 School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also present a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Tecumseh MI legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance 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 Michigan legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the area where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to first look at those schools that are within your Tecumseh MI local area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help reduce some of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Tecumseh MI. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Tecumseh MI, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in provides that option. Last, ask what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Tecumseh MI?
Tecumseh is a small city in Lenawee County, Michigan, United States. It is situated where M-50 crosses the River Raisin, a few miles east of M-52. Tecumseh is about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Detroit, 25 miles (40 km) south of Ann Arbor and 40 miles (64 km) north of Toledo, Ohio.
As of the 2010 census, the city population was 8,521. The city is surrounded on three sides by Tecumseh Township, but is politically independent. Raisin Township borders the southern edge of the city. The city was rated #93 in 2009, as one of 100 of the best small towns to live in by CNNMoney.
The boundaries of Lenawee County were laid out by a proclamation of the Territorial Governor, Lewis Cass on September 10, 1822. Lenawee remained attached to Monroe County, out of which it was formed, until an act of the Territorial Legislature passed on December 26, 1826, organized the county government.
The first settlement in the county was made two years earlier, on May 21, 1824, in Tecumseh. The settlers, consisting of fifteen men, eleven women, and six children, all came from Jefferson County, New York. In 1823, Musgrove Evans had located the land and persuaded General Joseph W. Brown and the others to move to the site. Brown and Evans, along with Austin Eli Wing purchased land there and platted the village of Tecumseh in 1824. These founders appealed to Governor Cass to locate the county seat of Lenawee at Tecumseh. This was accomplished by an act of the Territorial Legislature on June 30, 1824, even though county government would not be organized for another year and a half. The city was named after the Shawnee chief Tecumseh.
Find the Right Paralegal Program near Tecumseh MI
Selecting the ideal paralegal training program is a crucial first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Tecumseh home. Paralegal academic programs are offered in various formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your final selection. And with the right training you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Tecumseh MI.
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