How to Find a Paralegal College near Kapolei Hawaii
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Kapolei HI and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational options are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving range of their Kapolei homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be considered too. Later in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the educational 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 positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Kapolei HI with a wide range of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their daily activities may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Kapolei HI paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to begin your career in Kapolei HI as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Hawaii to work as a paralegal, certification can 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 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Kapolei HI.
Online Paralegal Classes
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and may be a good option for students in Kapolei HI searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Kapolei HI area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical issues to research also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Kapolei HI law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Kapolei HI paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely 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 verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Kapolei HI legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Hawaii legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws differ among states, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to initially investigate those schools that are within your Kapolei HI local area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Kapolei HI. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Kapolei HI, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making up missed classes due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Kapolei HI?
Kapolei is a master-planned community in Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States, on the island of Oahu. It is colloquially known as the "second city" of Oahu, in relation to Honolulu. Officially, it is a census-designated place (CDP) within the consolidated city-county of Honolulu.
The community takes its name from a volcanic cone, Puʻu o Kapolei. In the Hawaiian language, puʻu means "hill" and Kapo lei means "beloved Kapo". According to legend, Kapo, Goddess of Fertility was sister to Pele, Goddess of Fire and Nāmaka, Goddess of the Sea.
Much of the land is part of the estate of industrialist James Campbell. Kapolei's major developer is Kapolei Property Development, a subsidiary of James Campbell Company. Kapolei sits primarily upon former sugarcane and pineapple fields.
 In 1955 the Kapolei master plan was drafted and revised 3 different times beginning in 1974. In 1977 the new General Provision Plan adopted the Oahu General Plan which dubbed Kapolei "second urban center" (SUC) on the island of Oahu. In 1986 the Ewa Master Plan was revised to include the SUC and the initial residential construction in the Kapolei area began in the late 1980s with commercial developments springing up shortly thereafter. Nearly two decades later, in 2006 the Kapolei area had more than 800 companies, agencies, and organizations making up approximately 25,000 jobs. As of the 2010 census, the Kapolei CDP had a population of 15,186 people.
Select the Right Paralegal College near Kapolei HI
Enrolling in the right paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Kapolei residence. Paralegal academic programs are provided in many formats and lengths. Several kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you decide to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Kapolei HI.
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