Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Lagrange GA 30240

How to Find a Paralegal Degree Program near Lagrange Georgia

Lagrange GA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Lagrange GA and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Lagrange residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program should be taken into consideration also. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Lagrange GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Lagrange GA with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may assist with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their daily tasks may include:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on related laws and cases
  • Preparing correspondence and legal documents
  • Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
  • Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records

With all of their duties, the job of a Lagrange GA paralegal can be complex and very challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.

Paralegal Education and Certification

law books and Lagrange GA judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually 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 fastest way to start your career in Lagrange GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected 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 school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Lagrange GA.

Online Paralegal Training

attending paralegal school online in Lagrange GAOnline paralegal schools have become more available and can be an excellent option for those in Lagrange GA looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional setting, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the right option for you.

Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the process of assessing Lagrange GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other critical factors to think about also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.

Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in need to be accredited by a recognized organization 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 targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Lagrange GA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.

What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Lagrange GA paralegal schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, 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 call some law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.

Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while still in school. They can also present a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Lagrange GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those colleges that are within your Lagrange GA local region.

How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be available to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Lagrange GA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Lagrange GA, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you enroll in provides that option. Last, ask what the process is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Lagrange GA?

LaGrange, Georgia

LaGrange is a city and the county seat of Troup County, Georgia, United States. The population of the city was estimated to be 30,452 in 2013 by the U.S. Census Bureau.[5] It is the principal city of the LaGrange, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia-Alabama (part) Combined Statistical Area. It is about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Atlanta and located in the foothills of the Georgia Piedmont.[6]

LaGrange is home to LaGrange College, the oldest private college in the state. Started as a girls' academy, it has been affiliated since the late 19th century with the Methodist Church, and what is now the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. The city's proximity to West Point Lake, a few miles to the west, helps attract bass fishermen and water sports enthusiasts to the city.[7]

LaGrange is named after the country estate near Paris of the wife of the Marquis de La Fayette. When La Fayette, a Revolutionary War hero, visited Georgia in 1825 on a national tour, he remarked on the similarity of local topography to his wife's property.[6]

The European-American settlement of LaGrange began in the early 19th century, soon after the territory was ceded to the United States by the Creek Indians and the territorial legislature established Troup County. The city was incorporated in December 1828.[6] The area was developed for cotton plantations, and planters migrating from the eastern areas of the South brought along or bought enslaved African Americans in the domestic slave trade to use as laborers.

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Enroll in the Best Paralegal Certificate Program near Lagrange GA

Choosing the ideal paralegal educational program is a crucial first step toward your success in the rewarding 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 comfort and privacy of your Lagrange home. Paralegal education programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Various kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Lagrange GA.

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