Category Archives: New Mexico

Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Santa Fe NM 87501

How to Find a Paralegal Program near Santa Fe New Mexico

Santa Fe NM paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Santa Fe NM and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of 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 so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Santa Fe homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be taken into consideration also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your choice. But before we do, 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?

Santa Fe NM law libraryParalegals and legal assistants basically both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Santa Fe NM with a wide variety of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day activities may include:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Researching relevant cases and laws
  • Composing correspondence and legal papers
  • Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
  • Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records

With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Santa Fe NM paralegal can be complex and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.

Paralegal Programs and Certification

law books and Santa Fe NM judge's gavelAs we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Santa Fe NM as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have earned either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and earn a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in New Mexico to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few 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 school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Santa Fe NM.

Online Paralegal Degrees

attending paralegal school online in Santa Fe NMParalegal online schools have become more popular and may be an excellent alternative for individuals in Santa Fe NM searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to students who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.

Points to Ask Paralegal Programs

Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Santa Fe NM area schools. But since there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most 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 important issues to consider as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Santa Fe NM law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited schools.

What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Santa Fe NM paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Santa Fe NM legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with New Mexico legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from state to state, it may be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to build relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to first look at those schools that are within your Santa Fe NM local region.

What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be available to help reduce some of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Santa Fe NM. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Santa Fe NM, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in provides that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Santa Fe NM?

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe (/ˌsæntəˈfeɪ/ or /ˈsæntəˌfeɪ/; Tewa: Ogha Po'oge, Navajo: Yootó) is the capital of the state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and the seat of Santa Fe County.

This area was occupied for at least several thousand years by indigenous peoples who built villages several hundred years ago on the current site of the city. It was known by the Tewa inhabitants as Ogha Po'oge ("White Shell Water Place").[4] The city of Santa Fe, founded by Spanish colonists in 1610, is the oldest city in the state and the oldest state capital city in the United States. Santa Fe (meaning "holy faith" in Spanish) had a population of 69,204 in 2012. It is the principal city of a Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Santa Fe County and is part of the larger Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area. The city's full name as founded remains La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís ("The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi").[5][6]

The area of Santa Fe was originally occupied by indigenous Tanoan peoples, who lived in numerous Pueblo villages along the Rio Grande. One of the earliest known settlements in what today is downtown Santa Fe came sometime after 900. A group of native Tewa built a cluster of homes that centered around the site of today's Plaza and spread for half a mile to the south and west; the village was called Ogapoge in Tewa[7] The Tanoans and other Pueblo peoples settled along the Santa Fe River for its water and transportation.

The river had a year-round flow until the 1700s. By the 20th century the Santa Fe River was a seasonal waterway.[8] As of 2007[update], the river was recognized as the most endangered river in the United States, according to the conservation group American Rivers.[9]

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Select the Right Paralegal Training near Santa Fe NM

Selecting the best paralegal training program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Santa Fe residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in various lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you decide to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to assess each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the right education you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Santa Fe NM.

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