How to Select the Right Paralegal Studies Program near Angoon Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Angoon AK and begin your journey that will result in a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by trying to find schools within commuting distance of their Angoon residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account also. Later on in this article we will review a list of concerns that you need to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both hold comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Angoon AK lawyers with a wide range of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be involved and very demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more apropos 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 take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career as a paralegal in Angoon AK is by earning a certificate, which can require just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges in the Angoon AK area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of 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 important aspects to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Angoon AK law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing 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 contact a few Angoon AK law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while attending school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin establishing contacts within the Angoon AK legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in Alaska or the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to develop relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the area where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first look at those colleges that are within the Angoon AK area.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be available to help offset some of the cost, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Angoon AK. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many legal students continue working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Angoon AK, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers that option. Last, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Degrees
Legal assistant and paralegal online programs have become more common and can be an excellent alternative for those searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a respected agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Angoon AK?
If you live near Angoon Alaska or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Angoon (sometimes formerly spelled Angun) (Tlingit: Aangoon) is a city on Admiralty Island in Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 572; by the 2010 census the population had declined to 459. The name in Tlingit, Aangóon, means roughly "isthmus town."
Admiralty Island has long been the home of the Kootznoowoo Tlingit group, or Xootsnoowú Ḵwáan in Tlingit. Kootznoowoo means "fortress of brown bears", literally xoots-noow-ú "brown.bear-fortress-possessive". Angoon has a less-rainy climate than most of southeastern Alaska and was valued by the Tlingit for that reason.
In 1878, after the 1867 Alaska Purchase, the North West Trading Company established a trading post and whaling station on nearby Killisnoo Island and employed Angoon villagers to hunt whales. Whaling, a school, and a Russian Orthodox church attracted many Tlingits to neighboring Killisnoo.
Education Requirements For Paralegal Angoon AK
Choosing the right paralegal training program is an essential 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 Education Requirements For Paralegal. But as we have covered 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 Angoon home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Different types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Angoon AK.
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