How to Choose a Paralegal Training Program near Torrington Wyoming
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Torrington WY and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Torrington residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program must be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic 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 basically both fill comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Torrington WY with a diverse array of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are relevant to 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 firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their regular activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Torrington WY paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to start your career in Torrington WY as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Wyoming to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded 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 school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Torrington WY.
Paralegal Online Degrees
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and may be a good alternative for individuals in Torrington WY searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to individuals who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Torrington WY area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know 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 also. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other crucial issues to research as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also receive 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 show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Torrington WY law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Torrington WY paralegal schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent 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 several law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin establishing contacts within the Torrington WY legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Wyoming legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws vary from state to state, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to create relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially look at those colleges that are within your Torrington WY local region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Torrington WY. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Torrington WY, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in provides that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Torrington WY?
It is the home of Eastern Wyoming College, and is the surrounding region's center of commercial activity. Within this primarily agricultural community, there are several fertilizer plants, a sugar beet factory, and numerous tourist facilities and retail businesses that serve the local and nearby rural populations.
Situated on the historic Mormon Trail and near the Oregon and California trails along the banks of the North Platte River, Torrington was founded in 1900 by W.G. Curtis (1857–1913), and named by him for his home town of Torrington, Connecticut. Originally a watering and coaling station for the CB&Q Railroad, which began passenger service in 1900, the growing city soon became the main source of civilization for nearby farmers and ranchers. In 1905, the first bridge was constructed over the North Platte River, which it had previously been necessary to ford.
A post office called Torrington was established in 1889 on W. G. Curtis' farm three miles west of where the town of Torrington would be in 1900, with W. G. Curtis serving as Postmaster and later as mayor. By 1908 the town was incorporated as a town in Laramie County. It had a bank, three general stores, a pharmacy with a soda fountain, a land office, and two hotels (for one of which the building, although modified, still exists at 1841 Main Street.) It soon became a central place of trade for Goshen County, and for surrounding areas in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.
Situated on the North Platte River in eastern Wyoming near the Nebraska border, the town site survey began on April 1900, by Ashland B. Smith of the Lincoln Land Company of Nebraska. The survey and plating was completed and recorded in public records in Cheyenne on June 22, 1900, individual plots of the land were sold to residents for one dollar each by Charles Henry Morrill, President of the Lincoln Land Company. More The Torrington Telegram (which was still published in 2015) was established in 1911. The 1900 United States Census lists only 71 inhabitants in the Torrington Precinct and does not list it as a town. All were stock growers, ranch laborers, cowboys or at school. Only one was listed as a Hardware clerk
Select the Best Paralegal Program near Torrington WY
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Torrington residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Several kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you elect to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal education you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Torrington WY.
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