How to Pick the Right Paralegal Program near Holbrook Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Holbrook AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive 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 more and more educational options are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools within commuting distance of their Holbrook residences. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be taken into consideration as well. Later in this post we will cover 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 choice. But before we do, 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.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals essentially both fill comparable 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 are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Holbrook AZ attorneys with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they work, but some of their daily activities might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complex and very demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education 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 requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Holbrook AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected 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 paralegal degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the process of evaluating schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Holbrook AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant issues to consider as well, including 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 researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Holbrook AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several Holbrook AZ law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Holbrook AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary from state to state, it may be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you plan 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 receive your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first investigate those colleges that are within the Holbrook AZ area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Holbrook AZ. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Holbrook AZ, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you select offers that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making-up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Training
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more common and can be an excellent option for those searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Holbrook AZ?
If you live near Holbrook 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.
Holbrook (Navajo: Tʼiisyaakin) is a city in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city was 5,053. The city is the county seat of Navajo County.
The Holbrook area was inhabited first by the Anasazi, then Puebloans, then the Navajo and Apache. In 1540 (some seventy years before Jamestown or the Pilgrims) Coronado searched for the Seven Cities of Cibola and camped some sixty miles east of Holbrook. Coronado sent an expedition west to find the Colorado River, and they crossed the Little Colorado some twenty-five miles east of Holbrook and found a wonderland of colors they named "El Desierto Pintada" - The Painted Desert. The expedition was then led by the Hopis to the Grand Canyon.
After the Mexican–American War ended in 1848 the area was ceded to the United States. From 1851 to 1857 the U.S. Army sent three expeditions along the 35th parallel, the third led by Lt. Beale who created a ten foot wide wagon road. The area was known as Navajo Springs, after a spring a dozen miles northeast of Holbrook. Soon afterwards a store and saloon were established at the confluence of the Rio Puerco and Little Colorado Rivers two miles east of Holbrook, and the area became known as Horsehead Crossing.
Associate Degree In Law Paralegal Studies Holbrook AZ
Choosing the ideal legal assistant training school is an important 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 Associate Degree In Law Paralegal Studies. But as we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Holbrook residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you decide to acquire your education 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 selection. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Holbrook AZ.
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