How to Find a Paralegal School near Romney West Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Romney WV and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are becoming available, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students start by searching for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Romney residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be considered as well. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are offered 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 comparable 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 attorneys in Romney WV with a diverse array of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their routine activities may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Romney WV paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Romney WV as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in 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 want to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in West Virginia to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Romney WV.
Paralegal Online Schools
Online paralegal programs have become more available and may be an excellent alternative for those in Romney WV looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can often be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Romney WV area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially 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 already discussed, there are other crucial factors to research as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency 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 certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Romney WV law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Romney WV paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, 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 call some law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Romney WV legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with West Virginia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ from one state to another, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially look at those schools that are within your Romney WV local region.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce part of the expense, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Romney WV. Naturally if you choose 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 receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Romney WV, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in offers that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed because of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Romney WV?
Romney, West Virginia
Romney is a city in and the county seat of Hampshire County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 1,940 at the 2000 census, while the area covered by the city's ZIP code had a population of 5,873. The population was 1,848 at the 2010 census.
Established by consecutive acts of the Virginia House of Burgesses and approved by the governor on December 23, 1762, Romney and Mecklenberg (later renamed Shepherdstown), in Jefferson County, are the oldest towns in West Virginia. The bill containing the Act for establishing the town of Romney, in the county of Hampshire, and for other purposes therein-mentioned, is listed 20th on a list of approved "publick and private bills" and is immediately followed by An Act for establishing the town of Mecklenburg, in the county of Frederick. 
Originally settled in 1725 by hunters and traders, Romney was known as Pearsall's Flats and was the site of the French and Indian War stockade Fort Pearsall. Named for the Cinque Ports town of Romney, Kent, England by Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, the town still bears place names and symbols from its colonial past such as its Marsham Street, named for Robert Marsham, 2nd Baron Romney. It is also home to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind and the nation's First Confederate Memorial in Indian Mound Cemetery.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally cold winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Romney has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Select the Ideal Paralegal Certificate Program near Romney WV
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal degree program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Romney home. Paralegal academic programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to assess each school and make your final selection. And with the right education you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Romney WV.
Other Cool Cities in West Virginia