Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Lewiston ID 83501

How to Pick a Paralegal College near Lewiston Idaho

Lewiston ID paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Lewiston ID and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Lewiston residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program must be considered as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Lewiston ID law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill the same job roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Lewiston ID with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties 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 usually billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their regular activities might include:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
  • Composing correspondence and legal papers
  • 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 responsibilities, the job of a Lewiston ID paralegal can be complicated and rather challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined 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 because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.

Paralegal Education and Certification

law books and Lewiston ID judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career in Lewiston ID as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Idaho to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Lewiston ID.

Online Paralegal Certificates

attending paralegal school online in Lewiston IDParalegal online programs have become more common and can be an excellent option for individuals in Lewiston ID searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to students who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized 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 training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.

Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs

Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the process of assessing Lewiston ID area schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out 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 the majority of prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important aspects to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.

Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Lewiston ID law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically available only for accredited programs.

What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Lewiston ID paralegal programs you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify 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 graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Lewiston ID legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.

Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Idaho legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first consider those schools that are within your Lewiston ID local area.

How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be available to help minimize some of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Lewiston ID. Of course if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these additional costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Lewiston ID, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose makes available that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Lewiston ID?

Lewiston, Idaho

Lewiston is a city in north central Idaho and the county seat of Nez Perce County.[4] It is the second-largest city in the northern Idaho region, behind Coeur d'Alene, and ninth-largest in the state. Lewiston is the principal city of the Lewiston, ID-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Nez Perce County and Asotin County, Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population of Lewiston was 31,894, up from 30,904 in 2000.

Lewiston is located at the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River, thirty miles (48 km) southeast of the Lower Granite Dam. Because of dams (and their locks) on the Snake and Columbia River, Lewiston is reachable by some ocean-going vessels. The Port of Lewiston (Idaho's only seaport) has the distinction of being the farthest inland port east of the West Coast of the United States. The Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport serves the city by air.

Lewiston was founded 157 years ago in 1861 in the wake of a gold rush which began the previous year near Pierce, northeast of Lewiston. In 1863, Lewiston became the first capital of the newly created Idaho Territory. Its stint as seat of the new territory's government was short-lived, as a resolution to have the capital moved south to Boise was passed by the Idaho Territorial Legislature on December 7, 1864.

Lewiston’s main industries are agriculture, paper, and timber products, and light manufacturing. Ammunition manufacturing maintains a very important and growing presence in Lewiston, being the headquarters of ammunition makers CCI and Speer Bullet. The city is the primary regional transportation, retail, health care, and entertainment center of the surrounding area and serves as a recreation destination for the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

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Find the Best Paralegal Program near Lewiston ID

Selecting the best paralegal degree program is a crucial first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Lewiston residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in numerous formats and lengths. Various kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you decide to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each program and make your final decision. And with the right training you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Lewiston ID.

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