How to Choose a Paralegal Studies Program near Wolfeboro New Hampshire
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Wolfeboro NH and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational options are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Many prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Wolfeboro residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take 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 essentially both fill the same job positions and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Wolfeboro NH with a diverse array of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their regular activities might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Wolfeboro NH paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to start your career in Wolfeboro NH as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take just six months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be earned at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in New Hampshire to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Wolfeboro NH.
Online Paralegal Schools
Online paralegal schools have become more available and may be an excellent alternative for students in Wolfeboro NH looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, for example 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 may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Wolfeboro NH area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant aspects to think about as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Wolfeboro NH law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Wolfeboro NH paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while attending school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start creating contacts within the Wolfeboro NH legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with New Hampshire legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to build relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you want to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Wolfeboro NH local region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be obtainable to help offset some of the expense, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Wolfeboro NH. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, some of these additional costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Wolfeboro NH, verify 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 makes available that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Wolfeboro NH?
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Wolfeboro is a town in Carroll County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 6,269 at the 2010 census. A resort area situated beside Lake Winnipesaukee, Wolfeboro includes the village of Wolfeboro Falls.
The town was granted by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth in 1759 to four young men of Portsmouth, and named "Wolfeborough" in honor of English General James Wolfe, who had been victorious at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 during the French and Indian War. In 1763, 2,300 acres (930 ha) were added to the 60 acres (24 ha) reserved for the governor. Colonial Governor John Wentworth, his nephew, established an estate on the site, known as Kingswood. Built in 1771 beside what is now called Lake Wentworth, this was the first summer country estate in northern New England. Settled in 1768, the town was incorporated in 1770.
Over the years Wolfeboro, whose town motto is "The Oldest Summer Resort in America", became a popular summer colony, particularly for families from Boston and southern New Hampshire.Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Kurt Vonnegut, Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon have spent time in Wolfeboro. In August 2007, then French president Nicolas Sarkozy vacationed there.
In May 2014, it was discovered that 82-year-old police commissioner Robert Copeland had been overheard in a cafe two months earlier using a racial epithet to refer to President Barack Obama. Copeland acknowledged in an email to his colleagues that he did in fact use the word, saying "for this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such." At a subsequent meeting with residents, Copeland refused calls for his resignation. A few days later, he submitted his resignation.
Select the Right Paralegal Training near Wolfeboro NH
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal training program is an important first step toward 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 attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Wolfeboro home. Paralegal education programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you elect to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to evaluate each program and make your final selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Wolfeboro NH.
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