How to Pick a Paralegal Training Program near Angoon Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Angoon AK and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Angoon residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational 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 for the most part both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, 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 classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Angoon AK with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but some of their routine tasks may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Angoon AK paralegal can be involved and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more suited 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 preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
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. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Angoon AK as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and earn a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will cover 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 Angoon AK.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Online paralegal programs have become more available and can be a good option for those in Angoon AK looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to students who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can start the process of evaluating Angoon AK area schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important issues to think about also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Program and 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Angoon AK law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Angoon AK paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, 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 firm or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Angoon AK legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it may be beneficial to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially look at those colleges that are within your Angoon AK local region.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be available to help minimize part of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Angoon AK. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Angoon AK, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Angoon AK?
Angoon (sometimes formerly spelled Angun) (Tlingit: Aangoon) is a city on Admiralty Island in Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 572; by the 2010 census the population had declined to 459. The name in Tlingit, Aangóon, means roughly "isthmus town."
Admiralty Island has long been the home of the Kootznoowoo Tlingit group, or Xootsnoowú Ḵwáan in Tlingit. Kootznoowoo means "fortress of brown bears", literally xoots-noow-ú "brown.bear-fortress-possessive". Angoon has a less-rainy climate than most of southeastern Alaska and was valued by the Tlingit for that reason.
In 1878, after the 1867 Alaska Purchase, the North West Trading Company established a trading post and whaling station on nearby Killisnoo Island and employed Angoon villagers to hunt whales. Whaling, a school, and a Russian Orthodox church attracted many Tlingits to neighboring Killisnoo.
In October 1882 of the village was destroyed in the Angoon Bombardment by US Naval forces under the command Commander Edgar C. Merriman and the USRC Thomas Corwin under the command of Michael A. Healy. The Tlingit villagers had taken white hostages and property and demanded two hundred blankets in compensation from the North West Trading Company following the accidental death of a Tlingit shaman who died in a whaling bomb accident while working on the whaler. The hostages were released upon the arrival of the naval expedition to Angoon, however Merriman demanded four hundred blankets in tribute and upon the Tlingit delivery of just eighty one blankets, Merriman's forces destroyed the village.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal Degree Program near Angoon AK
Enrolling in the right paralegal degree program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Angoon residence. Paralegal education programs are offered in various lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you decide 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 school and make your final selection. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Angoon AK.
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