How to Find a Paralegal School near Lineville Alabama
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Lineville AL and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive 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 increasingly more academic options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Lineville residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program must be considered as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are offered 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 positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Lineville AL with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they work, but some of their routine activities may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Lineville AL paralegal can be involved and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more applicable 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, attorneys are able to take on a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Training 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 requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to start your career in Lineville AL as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Alabama to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected certifying agencies 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 benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Lineville AL.
Paralegal Online Classes
Online paralegal schools have become more available and may be a good option for students in Lineville AL looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Lineville AL area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs accessible 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 particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial factors to research as well, including the reputation and accreditation 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 properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Lineville AL law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance 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 Lineville AL paralegal schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact a few law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also present a means for students to start developing contacts within the Lineville AL legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary among states, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to first look at those colleges that are within your Lineville AL local area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be available to help offset part of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Lineville AL. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online school, some of these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Lineville AL, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Lineville AL?
Native Americans were the first to inhabit the area now known as Lineville. The Creek Indian War of 1813, however, resulted in their removal. The first white settlers in the area were William and Thomas Lundie. Their settlement became known as Lundie's Cross Roads after a trading post opened in the 1830s to serve pioneers and miners searching for gold. In 1856, Lundie's Cross Roads became known as County Line, probably for the Baptist Church, founded in 1848 and located on what was then the boundary line between Talladega and Randolph counties. Also in 1856, a post office was established in County Line, schools were consolidated and corn and cotton became cash crops.
The Town of (Crooked Creek) Lineville was built on what was at that time the dividing line between Talladega and Randolph Counties, hence the name, Lineville. John H. Ingram, Sr. of Lineville, Alabama furnishes the following early history: “Crooked Creek Baptist Church, later Lineville, was organized in 1839 and built one and one quarter miles west of the town of Lineville about 200 yards northwest of the home of Frank Pittard; and the first literary school of the community was nearby. Some years later the church was moved a short distance and a house was built on the left side of the public road near the residence of the late Thomas H. Harris. In about 1863 the church was moved into the town of Lineville and a house built just west of the present grammar school building; the name was changed to Lineville Baptist Church in 1881 and legally incorporated in 1912; the first Circuit Court that was held in the new County of Clay, was held in the Lineville Baptist Church in 1867, with John Henderson of Talladega, Alabama, as a judge. The present new brick building was built in 1915 and 1916, with the first service held on March 1st, 1916, with prayer and thanksgiving service conducted by J.H. Ingram, Sr., and C.N. James, pastor.”
One of the newest attractions in Clay County in the 1920s, was the chicken business. Millions of chickens and eggs and long chicken houses In or about 1921, Reverend Secelar Claxton Ray took one hundred, day-old chicks to the Clay County Fair and put them under an oil burning brooder and called attention to the advantage of using chickens on the farm to supplement the ‘all cotton’ cash crop. This was something new, but it did gradually got the attention of the local farmers. He was now fully in the poultry business, and named it Goodwill Poultry Farm and Hatchery. He bought houses then idle at the local graphite mines in Clay County and hired neighbors in their spare time and built the hatchery and chicken houses and an extra tenant house on the farm, southeast of Ashland, Alabama whose population of close to one thousand had grown considerably from two hundred in 1881.
The Civil War saw some 56 area men interred in the Old Lineville Cemetery. By the end of the war, Confederate money had become useless and the area suffered hardships. Clay County formed in 1866. The town's name was officially changed to Lineville in 1870 when it became the temporary seat of government for Clay County.
Choose the Right Paralegal School near Lineville AL
Choosing the best paralegal educational program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Lineville residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Several kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you elect to obtain your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Lineville AL.
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