How to Select the Right Paralegal Studies Program near Shepherdsville Kentucky
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Shepherdsville KY and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by trying to find schools within commuting range of their Shepherdsville homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be considered also. Later in this article we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both hold the same 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 separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Shepherdsville KY attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their regular tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching related cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and very demanding. However, 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 limited to clerical or administrative functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Shepherdsville KY is by obtaining a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Kentucky to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help substantiate 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges in the Shepherdsville KY area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial issues to research also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating 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 enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee 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. A number of Shepherdsville KY law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some Shepherdsville KY law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Shepherdsville KY legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Kentucky legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it may be beneficial to enroll in a legal assistant school located in Kentucky or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to initially consider those schools that are within the Shepherdsville KY area.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help offset some of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Shepherdsville KY. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Shepherdsville KY, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose provides that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Classes
Legal assistant and paralegal online schools have become more common and can be a good alternative for students searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Shepherdsville KY?
If you live near Shepherdsville Kentucky or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Shepherdsville is a home rule-class city on the Salt River in Bullitt County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county, located just south of Louisville. The population was 11,222 during the 2010 U.S. Census.
The vicinity was originally known by European Americans as "Bullitt's Lick" for the salt licks discovered by surveyor Capt. Thomas Bullitt in 1773. The area was home to Kentucky's first commercial salt works. These were shuttered in the 1830s because of competition from Virginian works along the Kanawha River (now in West Virginia). Shepherdsville developed around the mill and store erected along the Salt River by Adam Shepherd, who had purchased 900 acres (360 ha) in the area. The city received its charter in 1793 and was designated as the county seat when Bullitt County was formed in 1796.
The first post office opened in 1806. In 1836, a mineral water spa called Paroquet Springs opened. The mineral water was believed to have medicinal properties, so sufferers from a variety of maladies visited Shepherdsville to drink and bathe in the water. In the mid-1850s, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad's mainline was constructed nearby.
How To Be A Paralegal Shepherdsville KY
Selecting the best paralegal certificate program is a crucial first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about How To Be A Paralegal. But as we have addressed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Shepherdsville residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Different types of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting 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 examine each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Shepherdsville KY.
Other Kentucky Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 22