How to Find a Paralegal Studies Program near Lincoln Alabama
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Lincoln AL and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by searching for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Lincoln residences. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school should be considered as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at 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 for the most part both fill comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Lincoln AL with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work 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 degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their day-to-day activities may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Lincoln AL paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, 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 actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Lincoln AL as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can take just 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Lincoln AL.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Paralegal online programs have become more available and can be an excellent option for those in Lincoln AL searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Lincoln AL area schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial issues to think about as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Lincoln AL law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Lincoln AL paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Lincoln AL legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be advantageous to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduation. Also, it will be important to build relationships in the area legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first look at those colleges that are within your Lincoln AL local area.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be available to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Lincoln AL. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Lincoln AL, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you choose provides that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Lincoln AL?
Albert Lincoln Roker Jr. (born August 20, 1954) is an American television personality, weatherman, actor, and author. He is best known as being the weather anchor on NBC's Today. Roker also appears occasionally on NBC Nightly News. He holds an inactive American Meteorological Society Television Seal #238.
On November 12, 2014, 10 PM EST, Roker attempted to beat the previous unofficial world record for an uninterrupted live weather report of 33 hours held by Norwegian weather broadcaster Eli Kari Gjengedal. On November 14, 2014, 8 AM EST, Roker set the new official Guinness World Record by reporting for 34 hours.
Al Roker was born in Queens, New York, the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker, Sr., a bus driver of Bahamian descent. Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist. He was raised Catholic (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan. He worked on several projects as a member of the school's Cartooning & Illustration Club. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he received a B.A. in communications in 1976.
According to the July 2011 issue of Us Weekly in "25 Things You Did Not Know About Me", Roker is the first cousin once removed of the late actress Roxie Roker, who was most notable for her role as Helen Willis on the sitcom The Jeffersons and the mother of popular rock musician Lenny Kravitz. That makes Kravitz Roker's second cousin.
Find the Right Paralegal Training near Lincoln AL
Choosing the right paralegal degree program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Lincoln home. Paralegal training programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Several types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you decide to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your final selection. And with the appropriate education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Lincoln AL.
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