How to Select a Paralegal Training Program near Locust Grove Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Locust Grove GA and start your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Locust Grove homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program should be considered also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic choices 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 positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Locust Grove GA with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but some of their day-to-day activities might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Locust Grove GA paralegal can be complicated and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks 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 preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, 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 launch your career in Locust Grove GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be earned at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. When you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Locust Grove GA.
Paralegal Online Classes
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and can be a good alternative for individuals in Locust Grove GA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to individuals who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss 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 sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the process of evaluating Locust Grove GA area schools. But because there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add 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 important aspects to think about also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few 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 decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Locust Grove GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically available only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Locust Grove GA paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even when 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 establishment while attending school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Locust Grove GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduation. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you want to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those schools that are within your Locust Grove GA local area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential received and the amount of training provided. However, 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 aid might be available to help minimize part of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Locust Grove GA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Locust Grove GA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Locust Grove GA?
Locust Grove, Georgia
Locust Grove is a city in Henry County, Georgia, United States. The population was 5,402 at the 2010 census, up from 2,322 in 2000. Some unincorporated communities such as Luella and many rural areas surround Locust Grove, and those communities have Locust Grove postal addresses.
The city of Locust Grove derived its name from a grove of locust trees that could be seen throughout the town. Locust Grove was a major rail distribution center for cotton, peaches and other farm products. The city had three cotton gins and several warehouses. In 1870, the first store was built on Main Street. Since that time many new businesses have moved to Locust Grove.
In 1893, the town was incorporated and the papers were officially signed on December 20, 1893. The original city limit extended one mile north and south from the train depot in the heart of town and a half-mile east and west of the railroad. The city government consisted of a mayor and five council members. The first to fill these positions were appointed until elections could take place. The first mayor was M.P. Sowell. Those appointed to the first city council were G.P. Combs, C.M. Mahone, J.L. Garnder, R.C. Brown and W.H. Peek. The first city clerk was C. W. Williams.
The first ordinance passed by council restricted the speed of the trains to 15 miles per hour (24 km/h). There were questions on how to enforce this because the city did not have a police department at that time, but the railroad was notified. The town was reincorporated in 1922, and a new charter was established.
Select the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Locust Grove GA
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal training program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Locust Grove home. Paralegal education programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Several kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding 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 review each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Locust Grove GA.
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