How to Choose a Paralegal Studies Program near Whitethorn California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Whitethorn CA and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to be successful. 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 becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Whitethorn residences. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be considered too. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Whitethorn CA with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering 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 conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their routine tasks can involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Whitethorn CA paralegal can be involved and rather challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more suited 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 ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to handle 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 requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Whitethorn CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require just six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. 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 earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Whitethorn CA.
Online Paralegal Classes
Paralegal online programs have become more popular and can be an excellent alternative for individuals in Whitethorn CA searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to individuals who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the process of evaluating Whitethorn CA area schools. But because there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. 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 issues to consider as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Whitethorn CA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Whitethorn CA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Whitethorn CA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal schools 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 large networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ among states, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification 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 live outside of their districts. So you might want to first investigate those schools that are within your Whitethorn CA local region.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be accessible to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Whitethorn CA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Whitethorn CA, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed due to work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Whitethorn CA?
The first Cistercian monastery for women, Le Tart Abbey, was established at Tart-l'Abbaye in the Diocese of Langres (now Dijon), in the year 1125, by nuns from the Benedictine monastery of Juilly, and with the co-operation of Saint Stephen Harding, abbot of Cîteaux. At Juilly, a dependence of Molesme Abbey, Humbeline, the sister of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, lived and died.
The Cistercian nuns of Le Tart founded successively Ferraque (1140) in the Diocese of Noyon, Blandecques (1153) in the Diocese of St-Omer, and Montreuil-les-Dames (1164) near Laon. In Spain the first Cistercian monastery of women was that of Tulebras (1134) in the Kingdom of Navarre. Then came Santa María la Real de las Huelgas (Valladolid) (1140), Espírito Santo Olmedo (1142), Villabona, or San Miguel de las Dueñas (1155), Perales (1160), Gradefes (1168), Cañas (1169) and others. The most celebrated was Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas near Burgos, founded in 1187 by Alfonso VIII of Castile. The observance was established there by Cistercian nuns who came from Tulebras, under the guidance of Misol, who became its first abbess. The second abbess was Constance, daughter of the founder, who believed she had the power of preaching in her church and hearing confessions of her religious. In the following year, 1190, the eighteen abbesses of France held their first general chapter at Tart. The abbesses of France and Spain themselves made the regular visits to their houses of filiation. The Council of Trent, by its decrees regarding the cloister of nuns, put an end to the chapter and the visits.
In Italy, in 1171, were founded the monasteries of Santa Lucia at Syracuse, San Michele at Ivrea, and that of Conversano, the only one in the peninsula in which the abbesses carry a crosier. A century later the Cistercian nuns had established houses in Switzerland, Germany (St. Marienthal Abbey in 1234), and Flanders.
The decline which manifested itself in the communities of monks of the Cistercian Order towards the middle of the fourteenth century was felt also in the monasteries of nuns. It was at this time that the Conceptionist Order was founded in Toledo, Spain, by Beatrice of Silva. Her nuns were quick to abandon the Cistercian Rule for that of the Poor Clares. In France Jeanne de Courcelles de Pourlan, having been elected Abbess of Tart in 1617, restored the regular discipline in her community, which was transferred to Dijon in 1625. Owing to the hostility of the Abbot of Cîteaux to the reform Abbess de Pourlan had the Holy See withdraw her abbey from the jurisdiction of the Order of Cîteaux. In 1602, another reform was effected at Port-Royal des Champs by Angélique Arnauld, who, to provide for the ever-increasing members of the community, founded Port-Royal de Paris, in the Faubourg of Saint-Jacques (1622). Queen Marie de Medicis declared herself protectress of this institution, and Pope Urban VIII exempted it from the jurisdiction of the Abbot of Cîteaux, placing it under that of Paris. The religious of Port-Royal de Paris and of Port-Royal des Champs ended by consecrating themselves to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. However, the vicinity of the Abbé de Saint-Cyran became dangerous for them, and they saw the suppression and destruction of Port-Royal des Champs by order of the Louis XIV in 1710, while they themselves were dispersed. The property and abbatial titles were annexed to Port-Royal de Paris, which subsisted up to the time of the French Revolution, before being transformed first into a prison, and then into a maternity hospital.
Select the Ideal Paralegal Degree Program near Whitethorn CA
Selecting the right paralegal educational 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 attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Whitethorn residence. Paralegal academic programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Various kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you decide to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to assess each program and make your final selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Whitethorn CA.
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