How to Find a Paralegal School near Senoia Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Senoia GA and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students start by looking for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Senoia residences. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives 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 hold comparable job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Senoia GA with a diverse array of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but some of their regular activities can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Senoia GA paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because 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 Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Senoia GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded 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 program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Senoia GA.
Online Paralegal Programs
Paralegal online programs have become more popular and may be a good option for students in Senoia GA searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to students who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a respected organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Senoia GA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant aspects to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the programs 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 pick should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Senoia GA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Senoia GA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin creating contacts within the Senoia GA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary from one state to another, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be important to establish relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first look at those schools that are within your Senoia GA local area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Senoia GA. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these additional costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Senoia GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in offers that option. Last, ask what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Senoia GA?
Senoia (the historical and local pronunciation is "Se-Noy-Ah") is a city located 35 minutes southwest of Atlanta in Coweta County, Georgia, United States. It is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Its population was 3,307 at the 2010 census. It is also the wealthiest town in the state.
Around 1828, a large number of people traveled from Newberry, South Carolina, in covered wagons, oxcarts, on horseback, and by foot. In the group were preachers, farmers, masons, and most any other occupation of the day. The names read like a current register of the area, since these forerunners have numerous descendants still making their homes in Senoia. In the group from South Carolina were the Atkinsons, Addys, Pages, Youngs, Levells, Shells, Barnes, Falls, Moses and many others. They scattered across the countryside, each trying to find a new start. And find it they did in the rich land of eastern Coweta. Raising cotton, and livestock, the area was an agricultural Utopia.
Senoia is located in southeastern Coweta County at 33°18′7″N 84°33′12″W / 33.30194°N 84.55333°W / 33.30194; -84.55333 (33.301849, -84.553450). It is bordered to the north by Peachtree City in Fayette County.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Senoia has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14.1 km2), of which 5.4 square miles (13.9 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 2.03%, is water.
Enroll in the Ideal Paralegal Degree Program near Senoia GA
Selecting the right paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Senoia residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to review each program and make your final selection. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Senoia GA.
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