How to Find a Paralegal College near Lawrenceville Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Lawrenceville GA and start your journey that will result in a fulfilling profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic options are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving range of their Lawrenceville residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be considered also. Later in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill the same job roles and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Lawrenceville GA with a wide variety of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private practices, 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 follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their everyday activities might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Lawrenceville GA paralegal can be complex and very challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is give 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 truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to start your career in Lawrenceville GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to complete. Most 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, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Lawrenceville GA.
Online Paralegal Training
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and may be an excellent option for those in Lawrenceville GA searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover 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 school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the process of assessing Lawrenceville GA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate 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 start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other crucial aspects to research as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Lawrenceville GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Lawrenceville GA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking 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 several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while attending school. They can also present a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Lawrenceville GA 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 entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary from state to state, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you want to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those schools that are within your Lawrenceville GA local region.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce some of the expense, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Lawrenceville GA. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Lawrenceville 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 choose makes available that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Lawrenceville GA?
Lawrenceville is a city in and the county seat of Gwinnett County, Georgia, United States. It is a suburb of Atlanta, located approximately 30 miles (48 km) northeast of downtown. As of the 2010 census, the population of Lawrenceville was 28,546. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city population to be 30,493. Lawrenceville has six ZIP codes (30042-30046, 30049), and it is part of the 678/770/404 telephone area code, which is used throughout metropolitan Atlanta.
Lawrenceville was incorporated by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on December 15, 1821. This makes Lawrenceville the second oldest city in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The city is named after Commodore James Lawrence, commander of the frigate Chesapeake during the War of 1812. Lawrence, a native of New Jersey, is probably best known today for his dying command, "Don't give up the ship!" William Maltbie, the town's first postmaster, suggested the name of "Lawrenceville".
In 1821, a permanent site for the county courthouse was selected and purchased, the four streets bordering the square were laid out along with other streets in the village, and a public well was dug. Major Grace built the first permanent courthouse, a brick structure, in 1823-24 for a cost of $4,000. The courthouse presently on the square was constructed in 1885.
The two most famous people born in Lawrenceville gained their fame elsewhere. Charles Henry Smith, born in 1826, left as a young man and lived most of his life in other Georgia towns. During the Civil War he wrote humorous pieces for Atlanta newspapers under the name Bill Arp. He has been described as the South's most popular writer of the late 19th century, though he is not much read today. Ezzard Charles, born in 1921, grew up in Cincinnati, where opportunities for African-Americans were far better at the time than in the Deep South. He eventually became the World Heavyweight boxing champion by defeating Joe Louis by unanimous decision on September 27, 1950.
Select the Best Paralegal School near Lawrenceville GA
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is an essential 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 Lawrenceville residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school 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, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each school and make your final decision. And with the right education you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Lawrenceville GA.
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