How to Choose the Right Paralegal Degree Program near Anaheim California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Anaheim CA and begin your journey that will result in a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students start by searching for schools within traveling distance of their Anaheim homes. Of those choices, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be taken into consideration too. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, 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 Anaheim CA attorneys with a wide range of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their routine tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Filing 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 duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Anaheim CA is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges in the Anaheim CA area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical issues to consider also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some 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 choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Anaheim CA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some Anaheim CA law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Anaheim CA legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from state to state, it might be advantageous to select a legal assistant school domiciled in California or the state where you wish to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to create 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 want to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first investigate those colleges that are within the Anaheim CA area.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Anaheim CA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Anaheim CA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose makes available that option. Last, find out what the protocol is for making up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Degrees
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more prevalent and may be an excellent alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Anaheim CA?
If you live near Anaheim California or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Anaheim (/ˈænəhaɪm/) is a city in Orange County, California, part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 336,265, making it the most populous city in Orange County and the 10th-most populous city in California. Anaheim is the second-largest city in Orange County in terms of land area, and is known for being the home of the Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim Convention Center, and two major sports teams: the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey club and the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.
Anaheim was founded by fifty German families in 1857 and incorporated as the second city in Los Angeles County on March 18, 1876; Orange County would later be split off from Los Angeles County in 1889. Anaheim remained largely an agricultural community until Disneyland opened in 1955. This led to the construction of several hotels and motels around the area, and residential districts in Anaheim soon followed. The city also developed into an industrial center, producing electronics, aircraft parts and canned fruit. Anaheim is a charter city.
Anaheim's city limits extend from Cypress in the west to the Riverside County line in the east and encompass a diverse collection of neighborhoods and communities. Anaheim Hills is a master-planned[peacock term] community located in the city's eastern stretches that is home to many of the city's affluent.Downtown Anaheim has three mixed-use historic districts, the largest of which is the Anaheim Colony. The Anaheim Resort, a commercial district, includes the Disneyland Resort, with its two theme parks, multiple hotels, and retail district, and numerous hotels and retail complexes. The Platinum Triangle, a neo-urban redevelopment district surrounding Angel Stadium, is planned to be populated with mixed-use streets and high-rises. Anaheim Canyon is an industrial district north of California State Route 91 and east of California State Route 57.
Paralegal Online Course Anaheim CA
Selecting the ideal paralegal studies training program is a vital first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Paralegal Online Course. But as we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Anaheim home. Paralegal education programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Different types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you decide to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to review each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Anaheim CA.
Other California Locations That May Be Of Interest
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