How to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Training Program near Dewey Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Dewey AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Many potential students start by searching for schools within commuting distance of their Dewey homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be taken into account also. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill the same job positions and functions, 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 classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Dewey AZ attorneys with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. 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 practice could help with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day tasks may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to begin your career as a legal assistant in Dewey AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and may be earned at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded 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 paralegal certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Dewey AZ area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant issues to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Dewey AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Dewey AZ law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to start creating contacts within the Dewey AZ legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to build relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may want to first investigate those schools that are within the Dewey AZ area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help reduce some of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Dewey AZ. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Dewey AZ, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Schools
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more common and can be an excellent alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an added benefit, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Dewey AZ?
If you live near Dewey Arizona or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Dewey–Humboldt is a town in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. The population of the town was 3,894 according to the 2010 census. The Dewey–Humboldt area was a census-designated place (CDP) at the 2000 census, at which time its population was 6,295.
Dewey–Humboldt was incorporated on December 20, 2004, from the existing unincorporated towns of Dewey and Humboldt, located adjacent to one another in the Agua Fria River Valley, 15 miles east of Prescott.
After discovery of gold on Lynx Creek in the spring of 1863, the Dewey area was settled around the summer 1863 by pioneer prospector, rancher and Indian-fighter King Woolsey (1832–1879), who founded the Agua Fria Ranch, in what was then known as "Woolsey Valley," to supply the miners. Woolsey used stones from a prehistoric ruin to build his ranch house, built an irrigation system off the Agua Fria (probably part of a prehistoric system), and introduced some of the first cattle into newly organized Yavapai County (1864). At the "falls" of the Agua Fria at present Humboldt, Woolsey built a small quartz mill to work gold ores from the nearby hills and a small water-powered grist mill. During 1864, he led the storied Woolsey Expeditions to the east in retaliatory raids on Apache and in search of gold; all failed to find a new Eldorado. All these activities caused his bankruptcy, and sale of the ranch property to the Bowers Brothers, sutlers at Fort Whipple. The brothers continued to use the house and farm the lands to supply the region with corn, barley, and other agricultural products. (The ruins of Woolsey's ranch house can still be seen between the old Black Canyon Highway and the Agua Fria River about one mile north of Humboldt. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.)
Training For Paralegal Dewey AZ
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal studies training school is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Training For Paralegal. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Dewey residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to review each program and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Dewey AZ.
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