How to Pick a Paralegal Studies Program near Chicago Park California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Chicago Park CA and start your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic options are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling range of their Chicago Park homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into consideration too. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives 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 hold the same job positions and functions, 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 Chicago Park CA with a wide range of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their routine activities may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Chicago Park CA paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted 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 functions more suited 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, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially 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 quickest means to start your career in Chicago Park CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Chicago Park CA.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Online paralegal schools have become more prevalent and may be a good option for individuals in Chicago Park CA searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can often be less costly than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater 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 program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Chicago Park CA area schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective 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 critical aspects to think about as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Chicago Park CA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Chicago Park CA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Chicago Park CA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially look at those schools that are within your Chicago Park CA local area.
How Much is the Complete 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 expense 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 obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Chicago Park CA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Chicago Park CA, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select provides that option. Last, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Chicago Park CA?
Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long (1,010 m) pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is located in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area. The Navy Pier currently encompasses more than fifty acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, family attractions and exhibition facilities and is the top leisure destination in the Midwestern United States ("Midwest"), drawing nearly nine million visitors annually. It is one of the most visited attractions in the entire Midwest and is Chicago's number one tourist attraction.
Navy Pier opened to the public on July 15, 1916. Originally known as the "Municipal Pier", the pier was built by Charles Sumner Frost, a nationally known architect, with a design based on the Plan of Chicago (1909) by Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett Its original purpose was to serve as a dock for freights, passenger traffic, and indoor and outdoor recreation; events like expositions and pageants were held there.
In 1941, during World War II, the pier became a training center for the U.S. Navy; about 10,000 people worked, trained, and lived there. The pier contained a 2,500-seat theater, gym, 12-chair barber shop, tailor, cobbler shops, soda fountain and a vast kitchen and hospital.
In 1946, as the Navy was winding down from its mission, the University of Illinois at Chicago held classes at the pier. Though the maximum capacity was exceeded the school outgrew the pier and the university relocated to Circle Campus.
Choose the Right Paralegal College near Chicago Park CA
Selecting the best paralegal training program is an important first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed 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 Chicago Park residence. Paralegal academic programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Various kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding 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 examine each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Chicago Park CA.
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