How to Select a Paralegal School near Nelson Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Nelson GA and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Nelson homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you must consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be considered as well. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly 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 basically both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Nelson GA with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, 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 help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their day-to-day tasks can involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Nelson GA paralegal can be complex and very demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical functions 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 have the ability to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs 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 academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Nelson GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require just 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 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 Nelson GA.
Paralegal Online Training
Online paralegal schools have become more common and can be a good option for individuals in Nelson GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover 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 sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Nelson GA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical issues to think about as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in need to be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Nelson GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Nelson GA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine 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 recommend. Bear in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to start creating contacts within the Nelson GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement 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 corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you wish 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 need to first consider those schools that are within your Nelson GA local region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be available to help offset some of the expense, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Nelson GA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Nelson GA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose makes available that option. Last, inquire what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Nelson GA?
The area possesses substantial deposits of marble. The construction of a railway in 1883 made the development of large-scale quarries possible. The quality of the marble has made it favored for federal monuments.
The Marble Museum is located in the Nelson City Hall and features a year-round exhibit that includes "examples of fine marble and shows the history of marble mining in Pickens County".[this quote needs a citation] Many stone cutters and other workers who migrated from either Italy or Scotland in the early years of the industry settled in Nelson to work in the area's marble industry. Today the Georgia Northeastern Railroad operates between Tate, Georgia, and the CSX interchange at Elizabeth (Marietta) five days a week. The Georgia Marble rail lines at Tate and Marble Hill, and the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad at Blue Ridge, Georgia are also operated by GNRR. Their website also states the "GNRR runs through a Georgia Marble facility that no is no longer served by rail" at Nelson.
On April 1, 2013, the city council voted unanimously to approve the "Family Protection Ordinance". Every head of household must own a gun and ammunition to "provide for the emergency management of the city" and to "provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants." No one is required to buy one if they don't have one and the ordinance doesn't penalize anyone who does not comply. Convicted felons are exempt.
Nelson is located on the border of Pickens and Cherokee counties at 34°22′54″N 84°22′17″W / 34.38167°N 84.37139°W / 34.38167; -84.37139 (34.381562, -84.371303). The original city center is located in Pickens County, but the city limits have recently expanded southward so that more of the city is now located in Cherokee County.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal Training near Nelson GA
Selecting the ideal paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Nelson home. Paralegal education programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Various kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each program and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Nelson GA.
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