How to Select the Right Paralegal Studies School near Port Gibson Mississippi
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Port Gibson MS and start your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students begin by looking for schools within driving range of their Port Gibson homes. Of those choices, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be considered also. Later in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine 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 instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both fill comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Port Gibson MS attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their everyday activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be involved and very demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career as a legal assistant in Port Gibson MS is by earning a certificate, which may involve just six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. When you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Mississippi to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 address the benefits 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.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Port Gibson MS area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true if 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 searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important factors to research as well, for instance 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 researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Port Gibson MS law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking 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 call a few Port Gibson MS 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 the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Port Gibson MS legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Mississippi legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it may be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in Mississippi or the state where you wish to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish 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 wish to first investigate those schools that are within the Port Gibson MS area.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be available to help offset some of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Port Gibson MS. Of course if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Port Gibson MS, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you select provides that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.
Online Legal Assistant and Paralegal Classes
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more available and can be a good alternative for individuals searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Port Gibson MS?
If you live near Port Gibson Mississippi or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Port Gibson, Mississippi
Port Gibson is a city in Claiborne County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,567 at the 2010 census. Port Gibson is the county seat of Claiborne County and home to the Claiborne County Courthouse.
The first European settlers in Port Gibson were French colonists in 1729; it was part of La Louisiane. It was chartered as a town in the U.S. in 1803 after the Louisiana Purchase. Due to development of cotton plantations in the area after Indian Removal, planters in the state imported thousands of African-American slaves from the Upper South. The county had a black majority established well before the Civil War; they were overwhelmingly enslaved.
Several notable people are natives of Port Gibson. The town saw action during the American Civil War. Port Gibson has several historical sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places (National Register of Historic Places listings in Claiborne County, Mississippi).
Best Online Paralegal Certificate Programs Port Gibson MS
Selecting the best paralegal training school is a crucial 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 Best Online Paralegal Certificate Programs. 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 Port Gibson residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Several types of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to examine each program and make your final decision. And with the right education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Port Gibson MS.
Other Mississippi Locations That May Be Of Interest
Bing: Mississippi Paralegal Certificate Schools Search results
How to Become a Paralegal in Mississippi, Paralegal ...
Paralegal Certification Process in Mississippi There is no requirement to become certified to work as a paralegal in Mississippi. For paralegals looking to bolster their careers, however, there is the possibility of becoming certified through a national organization like the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
How to Become a Paralegal in Mississippi - MS | Paralegal ...
Is There Paralegal Certification in Mississippi? Aspiring paralegals are choosing education over on-the-job training in greater numbers. Earning a certificate or a degree can help distinguish entry-level job candidates from their peers as well as prepare paralegals to take one of the national certification exams.
Mississippi Paralegal Schools | Paralegal Certification in ...
Paralegal Certificates Mississippi College A Christian college in Clinton, Mississippi College offers a 27-hour certificate in paralegal... Estimated Program Cost: $13,608 (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition) Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree ABA Approved: No Format: On-campus Mississippi Gulf ...
Mississippi Paralegal Association (MPA)
The Mississippi Paralegal Association ("MPA") was founded in 1980 by paralegals in Mississippi who wished to encourage a higher order of ethical and professional attainment. The main purpose of MPA is to promote the profession of paralegals statewide.
NALA Certification - Mississippi Paralegal Association (MPA)
Obtaining the Certified Paralegal credential is different from being awarded a Certificate of Completion from a school or training program. The professional certification earned through NALA "signifies that a paralegal is capable of providing superior services to firms and corporations.". The American Bar Association recognizes the CP credential as a mark of high professional achievement.
16 Accredited Paralegal Schools in Mississippi
The number of students graduating from the 16 accredited paralegal schools in Mississippi is increasing. In 2006, 141 students graduated from paralegal courses in Mississippi. And in 2010, 148 students graduated. There was an increase in the number of paralegal school degree or certificate graduates in Mississippi by 5%.
Paralegal Schools in Mississippi | Paralegal Degree ...
Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA Mississippi University for Women University of Southern Mississippi
Best Paralegal Schools in Mississippi
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Mississippi An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school's programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Coahoma Community College (Clarksdale)
Paralegal Schools in Mississippi - MS | Paralegal Studies ...
We put together some recommendations for the best online paralegal programs from the best schools in the nation serving students in Mississippi. These schools offer degree programs and certificates that cater to a wide range of students – from recent high school graduates just getting their careers off the ground, to mid-career professionals ...
Accredited Paralegal Schools in Jackson, Mississippi
There is one degree and certificate program in paralegal offered by Jackson's paralegal school. Student Completed Paralegal Degrees In Jackson In 2010 approximately 4 students completed paralegal courses. Paralegal Faculty Salaries in Jackson, Mississippi