Legal Studies Courses Castro Valley CA

How to Select the Right Legal Assistant Degree Program near Castro Valley California

Castro Valley CA Paralegal doing legal researchCongratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Castro Valley CA and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying career 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 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 options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students start by looking for schools within commuting range of their Castro Valley homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be taken into consideration too. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

Legal Assistants and Paralegals

Castro Valley CA law libraryLegal assistants and paralegals basically both fill comparable job roles and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Castro Valley CA lawyers with a wide variety of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial 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 attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their regular activities can include:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
  • Preparing correspondence and legal documents
  • Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
  • Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
  • Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records

With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.

Paralegal Programs and Certification

legal assistant meeting with Castro Valley CA attorneyAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career as a paralegal in Castro Valley CA is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.

Things to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Questions to ask Castro Valley CA paralegal schoolsNow that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Castro Valley CA area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial factors to consider also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.

Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a recognized organization 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 online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Castro Valley CA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.

What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact some Castro Valley CA law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. 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 Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present a means for students to start creating contacts within the Castro Valley CA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the School Located? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in California or the state where you wish to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the 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 reside outside of their districts. So you might want to first look at those colleges that are within the Castro Valley CA region.

How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be available to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Castro Valley CA. Of course if you opt to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Castro Valley 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 offers that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.

Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Degrees

student attending online paralegal certificate program in Castro Valley CAOnline paralegal or legal assistant programs have become more common and can be a good alternative for individuals looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the right choice for you.

 Attending a Paralegal School near Castro Valley CA?

If you live near Castro Valley 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.

Castro Valley, California

Castro Valley is a census-designated place (CDP) in Alameda County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, it is the fifth most populous unincorporated area in California[7] and the twenty-third most populous in the United States.[citation needed] The population was 61,388 at the 2010 census.

With the arrival of Europeans, Castro Valley was part of the land granted to Mission San Jose in 1797. The area Castro Valley now occupies was part of the extensive colony of New Spain in what was the state of Alta California.

Castro Valley was part of the original 28,000 acre (110 km²) land grant given to Castro in 1840, called Rancho San Lorenzo. This land grant included Hayward, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley, including Crow Canyon, Cull Canyon, and Palomares Canyons. Castro had a gambling habit and had to sell off portions of his land to pay gambling debts. The last of his holding was sold in a sheriff's sale in 1864 to Faxon Atherton for $400,000.[8]

Legal Studies Courses Castro Valley CA

Selecting the ideal paralegal training school is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Legal Studies Courses. But as we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Castro Valley residence. Paralegal education programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to examine each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the right training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Castro Valley CA.

Other California Locations That May Be Of Interest

  • Legal Assistant Online Courses Moss Beach CA
  • Best Paralegal Certificate Programs Villa Park CA
  • Paralegal Law School San Dimas CA
  • Degree In Paralegal Studies Stevinson CA
  • Paralegal Courses Online Oak View CA
  • Master Of Legal Studies Online Delano CA
  • ABA Approved Online Paralegal Certificate Programs San Ramon CA
  • School For Legal Assistant Trabuco Canyon CA
  • Best Online Paralegal Certificate Programs Fall River Mills CA
  • What Is A Paralegal Degree Panorama City CA
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