How to Find a Paralegal Training Program near Rainelle West Virginia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Rainelle WV and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving range of their Rainelle residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be considered too. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill the same job roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Rainelle WV with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private practices, 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 degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their regular tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Rainelle WV paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically 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 launch your career in Rainelle WV as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require just 6 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 2 years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in West Virginia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some 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 address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Rainelle WV.
Paralegal Online Schools
Online paralegal programs have become more popular and may be a good option for individuals in Rainelle WV searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss 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 sure that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Rainelle WV area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant aspects to think about also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Rainelle WV law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Rainelle WV paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming 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 quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also present a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Rainelle WV legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with West Virginia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it might be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Rainelle WV local area.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help offset part of the cost, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Rainelle WV. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Rainelle WV, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you enroll in provides that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Rainelle WV?
Rainelle, West Virginia
Rainelle is a small town on the western edge of Greenbrier County, West Virginia, in the United States. It sits at the base of Sewell Mountain and Sims Mountain, and is bisected by the Meadow River. The only means of transportation to and from Rainelle are roads; primarily US 60 and WV 20, which merge on the west end of the town, and the James River and Kanawha Turnpike, which enters from the south. The population was 1,505 at the 2010 census.
Rainelle was named for the Raine family. Thomas and his brother John Raine moved there from Pennsylvania in 1906 to harvest a large stand of hardwoods for building homes, etc. Their Meadow River Lumber Company operated for 60 years, and at one time was the largest hardwood sawmill in the world. In 1970, the owners sold it to Georgia-Pacific Corporation, which tore it down in 1975.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.11 square miles (2.87 km2), all of it land. The Meadow River flows through the town in a westerly direction on its way to eventually join the Gauley River.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,505 people, 675 households, and 387 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,355.9 inhabitants per square mile (523.5/km2). There were 806 housing units at an average density of 726.1 per square mile (280.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.9% White, 0.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.7% of the population.
Select the Best Paralegal Program near Rainelle WV
Selecting the ideal paralegal degree program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Rainelle home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions provide 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 opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you choose to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to review each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the right education you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Rainelle WV.
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