How to Choose a Paralegal School near Waterford Virginia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Waterford VA 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 comprehensive training that you need 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 educational choices are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within driving range of their Waterford homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into consideration too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly 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 essentially both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Waterford VA with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. 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 could help with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day tasks may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Waterford VA paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to begin your career in Waterford VA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require just six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and may be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Virginia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help substantiate 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 school (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Waterford VA.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Paralegal online programs have become more available and may be an excellent option for individuals in Waterford VA looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to individuals who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a respected agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Waterford VA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical factors to consider also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick need to be accredited by a reputable 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 distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Waterford VA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Waterford VA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact a few law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Waterford VA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Virginia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws differ among states, it might be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you desire 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 wish to initially investigate those schools that are within your Waterford VA local area.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help offset some of the expense, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Waterford VA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, some of these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Waterford VA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in offers that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Waterford VA?
Waterford is an unincorporated village in the Catoctin Valley of Loudoun County, Virginia, located along Catoctin Creek. Waterford is 47 miles (76 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., and 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Leesburg. The entire village and surrounding countryside is a National Historic Landmark District, noted for its well-preserved 18th and 19th-century character.
Waterford was established around 1733 by Amos Janney, a Quaker from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Janney purchased 400 acres (1.6 km2) on the south fork of Catoctin Creek and established a grist mill and saw mill in the area in the 1740s. Due to the success of the mills, the settlement became known as "Janney's Mill". The town grew quickly as a center of commerce for growers of grain. 
Amos Janney died in 1747, leaving his estate to his sixteen-year-old son, Mahlon. Mahlon replaced the original log mill with a two-story structure. The village continued to grow, and in 1780, 12 acres (49,000 m2) on the south side of Main Street were subdivided into 15 lots, upon which shops and homes were built. By the 1790s, the village was known as Waterford, named after the city of Waterford, in Ireland, where some of its founders had once lived before immigrating to the United States. New residents continued to come from Pennsylvania, as Quakers were followed by Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, and Methodists. Waterford was also populated by African-Americans, both free and enslaved.
By the start of the Civil War, the population of Waterford remained largely Quaker. As pacifists and abolitionists, the Quakers remained loyal to the Union throughout the war. Waterford was the scene of a fierce fight between the county's Unionist and Confederate partisan units, the Loudoun Rangers and White's Rebels, respectively. In those days, it was the home for mostly Quakers who helped slaves escape to the North.
Choose the Best Paralegal College near Waterford VA
Enrolling in the best paralegal training program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Waterford residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Waterford VA.
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Paralegal State Certification and Licensing | The Debate ...
A paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program; A paralegal certificate from an institutionally accredited program with at least 24 semester credits in legal specialization courses; California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (CAPA) – This is the state-level organization affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants ...
CC Online | Cerro Coso Community College
CC Online is a virtual campus at Cerro Coso Community College. The campus provides students the opportunity to take courses from a distance. Through the Internet and Canvas, students can interact with faculty in a virtual classroom setting, allowing for flexibility and convenience in the student's schedule.
Paralegal Studies | California State University, East Bay
Area of study: Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Ideal for: Professionals interested in working with attorneys in all areas of civil and criminal law as a paralegal and who wish to meet the educational requirements dictated by California Law. Current paralegals who seek to differentiate themselves with an ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Certificate.
CLS by BARBRI - Online Paralegal Training
Paralegal Certificate Course© ... See All Schools. CLS by BARBRI. 12222 Merit Drive, Suite 1340 Dallas, TX 75251. 1-800-522-7737. Courses. Find a Course Career Paths Course Policies Syllabi. About us. Our Mission Partner Schools FAQs Newsroom Testimonials
Top 25 Best Value Paralegal Certificates 2020
Among accredited online paralegal certificate programs is the Certificate in Paralegal Studies at the University of Washington. Students that participate in this program will leave with a solid understanding of the underpinnings of the United States Legal System, as well as the many skills necessary for a career in law.
Online Paralegal Degree Center
Online paralegal schools are becoming the norm. Law firms and corporations look favorably on accredited paralegal schools online. Programs vary in scope and degree offerings. Potential paralegal students may choose among certification programs, associate, bachelor, and master degrees, or post-baccalaureate credentials.
ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate Program | American ...
The ABA-approved paralegal certificate program’s content was developed with careful consideration toward satisfying the American Bar Association’s recommendations for paralegals’ continuing education, as well as their preparation for the national paralegal certification exam. Also see Paralegal associate’s degree program.
Paralegal Certification - What kind of certifications are ...
Professional Paralegal (PP) Specialty Certificate; Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) To qualify for the ALP designation a paralegal must meet certain criteria that include passing an exam. There are three possible paths to take for the ALP exam. The first requires completion of specific business or legal courses determined by the NALS.
Online Schools and Colleges in Virginia 2021 | Accredited ...
The school also offers two certificate programs in human resource management and paralegal studies. Students may access the online library or career services to help plan their professional development. Transfer students must possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 on any earned college credit before applying to the school.
Steps on How to Become a Paralegal in California ...
Paralegal Job Description in California. California is a great state in which to become a paralegal. According to the California Employment Development Department, from 2008 to 2018 it is expected that jobs for paralegals and legal assistants in California will increase by more than 17 percent.