Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Concord CA 94518

How to Select a Paralegal College near Concord California

Concord CA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Concord CA and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational options are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting range of their Concord residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into consideration too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your selection. But first, 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?

Concord CA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Concord CA with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their regular tasks may include:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on relevant cases and laws
  • Composing correspondence and legal documents
  • Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
  • Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records

With all of their duties, the job of a Concord CA paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly 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 take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.

Paralegal Programs and Certification

law books and Concord CA judge's gavelAs we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career in Concord CA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be earned at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might choose to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Concord CA.

Paralegal Online Schools

attending paralegal school online in Concord CAParalegal online programs have become more prevalent and can be a good alternative for those in Concord CA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, 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 certain that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Concord CA area schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other important issues to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.

Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Concord CA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited programs.

What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Concord CA paralegal schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking 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 a few law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students a chance 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 Concord CA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially investigate those schools that are within your Concord CA local region.

How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Concord CA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Concord CA, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you select offers that option. Last, ask what the protocol is for making up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Concord CA?

Concord, California

Concord (/ˈkɒŋkərd/ KON-kord)[11] is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067 making it the 8th largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area.[12][13] Founded in 1869 as the community of Todos Santos by Salvio Pacheco, the name was changed to Concord within months. The city is a major regional suburban East Bay center within the San Francisco Bay Area, and is 29 miles (47 kilometres) east of San Francisco.

Concord is located at 37°58′41″N 122°01′52″W / 37.97806°N 122.03111°W / 37.97806; -122.03111.[11] It is 29 miles (47 kilometres) northeast of San Francisco, 22 miles (35 km) northeast from Oakland, 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Sacramento, and 51 miles (82 km) north of San Jose.[15]

The focal point of downtown Concord is Todo Santos Plaza, which encompasses an entire city block and is known for its farmers market, free summer concerts, and large number of surrounding restaurants. Much of the area immediately around downtown has recently been redeveloped, with new high-density apartment and condominium projects to take advantage of the proximity to public transportation and to the area surrounding the park. Despite this, some crime and homelessness remain issues in the downtown area.[16][17]

To the north and east of downtown is the older residential area of Concord, with many homes dating back to before World War II. In the far northern edge of town is a primarily industrial area, dominated by the Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery (which is actually not located within city limits). The southeastern area of the city, centered along Clayton Road, is primarily residential and was mostly developed in the 1960s and 1970s. In the southwest area of the city is the primarily Latino neighborhood known as Four Corners, centered around the intersection of Monument Boulevard and Oak Grove Road.

The location could not be found.

Choose the Ideal Paralegal School near Concord CA

Enrolling in the right paralegal training program is a crucial 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 privacy and comfort of your Concord residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you decide to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to evaluate each program and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Concord CA.

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