How to Find a Paralegal Studies Program near Newville Alabama
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Newville AL and start your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational choices are being offered, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Newville residences. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be taken into consideration too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both hold 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 separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Newville AL with a wide variety of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, 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 responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their daily tasks might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Newville AL paralegal can be complex and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to start your career in Newville AL as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may 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 an option also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may want to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alabama to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected certifying organizations 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Newville AL.
Paralegal Online Classes
Online paralegal programs have become more available and can be a good option for students in Newville AL searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to those who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing Newville AL area schools. But since there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important factors to consider also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Newville AL law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Newville AL paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start creating contacts within the Newville AL legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to create relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the area where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first consider those colleges that are within your Newville AL local area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. 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 as well. Financial aid might be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Newville AL. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Newville AL, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select makes available that option. Last, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Newville AL?
James Madison Wells founded a village called "Wells" c. 1882. When the Abbeville Southern Railroad laid tracks through the town in 1893, its name was changed to "Wells Station". The post office was built in 1894. Wells Station incorporated as "Newville" in 1903.
The town of Newville became prosperous with merchants, banks, lodges, doctors, churches, Newville High School, Rosenwald High School, societies, a newspaper, a depot, sawmills, cotton gins, mule stables and all the elements required by a developing town. Newville's slow decline commenced after the Great Depression due to farm mechanization and loss of commerce.
James M. and Catherine Wells donated one-half acre of land in 1887 for the site of the church and cemetery. The oldest known grave is that of William Y. Kirkland who died April 10, 1891. The church paid W.M. Harris fifty dollars in 1901 for two and one-half acres of land for the cemetery. In 1947, burial spaces were sold for 25 center per square foot. Nancy Price gave the church one acre of land for the cemetery in 1958. There are over 700 marked and unmarked graves. The Newville Cemetery was listed on the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register in 2005.
The first known school in Newville was at Center Church in 1881. When Grange Hall was built in 1891, church service and school were held on the first floor. In 1913, Grange Hall was torn down and the wood was used to build a school. Newville Public School became Newville Junior High in 1920. In 1923, it was decided to build a modern brick school. Newville High School was opened in 1929. The school building at Concord was moved to Newville in 1935. In 1936, the school building burned. A new structure was built with five rooms and a large auditorium. In 1938, the Works Progress Administration built the Vocational builfing. When bathrooms were added in 1944, Newville School became one of the most modern buildings in Henry County. The Newville High School band was organized in 1961. In 1968, Newville High School closed.
Select the Best Paralegal Degree Program near Newville AL
Choosing the right paralegal training program is an essential first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Newville residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in various lengths and formats. Several kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you elect to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Newville AL.
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Paralegal Studies | California State University, East Bay
Area of study: Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Ideal for: Professionals interested in working with attorneys in all areas of civil and criminal law as a paralegal and who wish to meet the educational requirements dictated by California Law. Current paralegals who seek to differentiate themselves with an ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Certificate.