How to Pick a Paralegal Certificate Program near Addison Illinois
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Addison IL and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will get the comprehensive 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 academic options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Many prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Addison homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into consideration also. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Addison IL with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but some of their regular tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Addison IL paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks 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 cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Addison IL as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive 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 available also. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Illinois to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment 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 school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Addison IL.
Online Paralegal Classes
Paralegal online programs have become more common and may be a good alternative for those in Addison IL searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can often be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can start the process of assessing Addison IL area schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical aspects to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Addison IL law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Addison IL paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school 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 confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while attending school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin creating contacts within the Addison IL legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Illinois legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Addison IL local region.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Addison IL. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Addison IL, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in provides that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Addison IL?
Adele Addison (born July 24, 1925 in Springfield, Massachusetts) is an African-American lyric soprano who was an acclaimed figure in the classical music world during the 1950s and 1960s. Although she did appear in several operas, Addison spent most of her career performing in recital and concert. Her performances spanned a wide array of literature from the Baroque period to contemporary compositions. She is best remembered today as the singing voice for Bess (played by Dorothy Dandridge) in the 1959 movie Porgy and Bess. Addison can be heard on numerous recordings, of which her baroque music recording are perhaps her best work. Known for her polished and fluent tone, Addison made a desirable baroque vocal artist. Many of her recordings were made with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein.
Addison began studying voice seriously as a teenager and, following high school, won a scholarship to study at Westminster Choir College. Further scholarships enabled her to pursue graduate studies at Princeton University and at summer sessions at the Berkshire Music School at Tanglewood. At Tanglewood she studied with Boris Goldovsky.
Addison made her professional recital debut in Boston, in 1948 while still a student at Princeton. Following graduation she moved to New York City to pursue a career as a classical soprano. Of her 1952 New York City recital debut The New York Times wrote, "The recital season reached a high point last night when Adele Addison, soprano from Springfield, Massachusetts, made her debut in Town Hall." Following her New York debut, she continued to study voice at the Juilliard School with Beverley Peck Johnson and with Povla Frijsh. In 1955 she made her New York City Opera debut as Mimi in Puccini's La bohème. The New York Post said the following of her debut, "Adele Addison is about the most appealing interpreter of the little Parisian seamstress yet to appear on the City Center stage. Small, frail looking, and pretty, Miss Addison enhanced these assets by acting and singing with moving poignancy and sincerity." That same year, Addison was invited by Aaron Copland to perform the world premiere of his Dirge In Woods at a concert sponsored by the League of Composers.
Although Addison was offered more opera roles with several companies, she did not appear in many more opera productions as she preferred to sing in recital and on the concert stage. She did appear in a few more productions with the New York City Opera, the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company, and the New England Opera Theatre. Her other opera roles included the title role in Handel's Acis and Galatea, Liù in Puccini's Turandot, Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto, Micaela in Bizet's Carmen, Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte, and Nannetta in Verdi's Falstaff among others. In 1959, Addison sang the role of Bess in the film version of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. The role was initially supposed to be sung by Urylee Leonardos, but apparently Leonardos' voice sounded too shrill when recorded so they replaced her with Addison at the last minute. In a 1996 Opera News interview she said, "Today, young singers are almost forced to make a choice, because they are counseled that becoming established in opera is the way to make a career in music. I never had to make a choice. I loved the song repertoire from the start, and as I began to sing, for even the smallest ladies' clubs, etc., those inviting me expected and accepted that.... Even as the years passed, and I sang all the rest of the repertoire – opera, oratorio, chamber music, etc. – the first love remained.... My curiosity, joy and love for song never changed. It still has not."
Select the Ideal Paralegal Degree Program near Addison IL
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal training program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Addison residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Several types of private and public institutions offer paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you elect to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to examine each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Addison IL.
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