Category Archives: Maryland

Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Sparks Glencoe MD 21152

How to Select a Paralegal Degree Program near Sparks Glencoe Maryland

Sparks Glencoe MD paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Sparks Glencoe MD and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the right 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 more and more academic options are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting range of their Sparks Glencoe homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be taken into consideration also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Sparks Glencoe MD law libraryParalegals and legal assistants basically both fill comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Sparks Glencoe MD with a wide variety of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their regular tasks can include:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
  • Preparing correspondence and legal documents
  • Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
  • Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
  • Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records

With all of their duties, the job of a Sparks Glencoe MD paralegal can be complex and quite 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 confined to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since 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 on their own.

Paralegal Education and Certification

law books and Sparks Glencoe MD judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to start your career in Sparks Glencoe MD as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require just 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Maryland to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Sparks Glencoe MD.

Online Paralegal Schools

attending paralegal school online in Sparks Glencoe MDParalegal online programs have become more prevalent and can be a good alternative for those in Sparks Glencoe MD looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to students who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.

Things to Ask Paralegal Schools

Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Sparks Glencoe MD area schools. But considering that there are so many 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 compare each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other important factors to think about as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.

Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Sparks Glencoe MD law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.

What’s the Reputation of the School? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Sparks Glencoe MD paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, such as 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 practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to start developing contacts within the Sparks Glencoe MD legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably 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 programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Maryland legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.

Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the community where you want to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first investigate those colleges that are within your Sparks Glencoe MD local area.

How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential earned and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Sparks Glencoe MD. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Sparks Glencoe MD, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you select provides that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Sparks Glencoe MD?

Sparks, Maryland

Sparks is an unincorporated community that is located in Baltimore County, Maryland, USA. It is situated approximately 20 miles north of Baltimore, Maryland and is considered to be a suburb of the City of Baltimore. The Gunpowder River runs through Sparks.

The popular North Central Railroad ("NCR") Hike-Bike Trail runs through Sparks along the basin of the Gunpowder Falls (a.k.a. the Gunpowder River). The town's ZIP Code is 21152 and it is frequently accessed at Exit 24, Belfast Road, along I-83, an Interstate Highway that runs from Baltimore, MD to Harrisburg, PA. Although Sparks is unincorporated and has no official town limits, the area that is usually considered to constitute Sparks runs from several miles west of I-83 to Carroll Road to the East, and from north of Hunt Valley/Cockeysville along York Road and I-83 to Hereford, Maryland. According to the 2010 US Census, 5,094 people live in the Sparks area. Glencoe, MD is a smaller community that is largely surrounded by Sparks and the area is sometimes collectively known as "Sparks Glencoe, Maryland."

In 1835, the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad constructed a track through Baltimore County which included a siding and switch near a large tract of land owned by the Sparks family. Railroad officials gave the name Sparks to the switch, and soon area residents began to refer to the location as "Sparks' Switch." Abraham Lincoln's body was carried through Sparks on the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad from Washington, D.C. on its way to burial in Illinois following his assassination in 1865.

For a number of years a creamery was operated for farmers who brought their milk in daily to be separated. (The stone structure which once housed the creamery can be seen today.) The cream was shipped to Baltimore while the skim milk was used by the farmers on their farms. With the passage of time, Sparks' Switch came to be known simply as "Sparks." In 1888, the area had grown to a point where "a substantial foot bridge 6 feet in width" had to be built across the Gunpowder River.

The location could not be found.

Select the Right Paralegal Training near Sparks Glencoe MD

Choosing 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 choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Sparks Glencoe home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in various lengths and formats. Several types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you choose to acquire your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your final selection. And with the appropriate education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Sparks Glencoe MD.

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    The Law Office of Marshall T Henslee
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