How to Select the Right Paralegal Studies Program near Grand Canyon Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Grand Canyon AZ and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students begin by looking for schools within commuting range of their Grand Canyon homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be taken into consideration as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both hold the same job positions and functions, 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 legal assistants and paralegals help Grand Canyon AZ lawyers with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their everyday tasks may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be involved and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Grand Canyon AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just six months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Grand Canyon AZ area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true when 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 looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other critical issues 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 schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive 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 get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Grand Canyon AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking 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 call some Grand Canyon AZ law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start establishing contacts within the Grand Canyon AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be beneficial to choose a paralegal school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you plan to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to first investigate those colleges that are within the Grand Canyon AZ area.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Grand Canyon AZ. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many legal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Grand Canyon AZ, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in offers that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Schools
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more common and can be a good option for students looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Grand Canyon AZ?
If you live near Grand Canyon Arizona or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
The Grand Canyon (Hopi: Ongtupqa,Yavapai: Wi:kaʼi:la, Navajo: Bidááʼ Haʼaztʼiʼ Tsékooh,Spanish: Gran Cañón) is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).
The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.
Study Paralegal Grand Canyon AZ
Enrolling in the ideal legal assistant training school is an important 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 Study Paralegal. But as we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Grand Canyon residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful 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 have the ability to review each program and make your final decision. And with the right education you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Grand Canyon AZ.
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