How to Pick a Paralegal Program near Alexandria Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Alexandria AL and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is among 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 start by searching for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Alexandria homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Alexandria AL with a wide range of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their day-to-day activities may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Alexandria AL paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Alexandria AL as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Alexandria AL.
Paralegal Online Classes
Paralegal online schools have become more available and can be a good alternative for those in Alexandria AL searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to individuals who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can often be less costly than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Alexandria AL area schools. But since there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges, as well as vocational and trade 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 the majority of potential students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important issues to consider also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Alexandria AL law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Alexandria AL paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact some law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Alexandria AL legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Alexandria AL local area.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential earned and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be accessible to help offset part of the cost, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Alexandria AL. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Alexandria AL, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Alexandria AL?
Alexandria (/ˌælɪɡˈzændriə/ or /-ˈzɑːnd-/;Arabic: الإسكندرية al-ʾIskandariyya; Egyptian Arabic: إسكندرية Eskendria; Coptic: Ⲁⲗⲉⲝⲁⲛⲇⲣⲓⲁ; Ⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ Alexandria; Rakotə) is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also a popular tourist destination.
Alexandria was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c. 332 BC by Alexander the Great. It became an important center of Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Ptolemaic (Greek) Egypt and Roman and Byzantine Egypt for almost 1000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat (later absorbed into Cairo). Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its Great Library (the largest in the ancient world; now replaced by a modern one); and the Necropolis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Alexandria was the second most powerful city of the ancient world after Rome. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.
From the late 18th century, Alexandria became a major center of the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading centers in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, and the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton.
Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 332 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια (Alexandria). Alexander's chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. Although it has long been believed only a small village there, recent radiocarbon dating of seashell fragments and lead contamination show significant human activity at the location for two millennia preceding Alexandria's founding 
Select the Ideal Paralegal School near Alexandria AL
Selecting the ideal paralegal degree program is an important first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Alexandria home. Paralegal education programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Various kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound influence 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 best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you elect to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to examine each school and make your final selection. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Alexandria AL.
Other Cool Cities in Alabama
Business Results 1 - 10 of 3