How to Enroll in the Right Paralegal School near Lineville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Lineville AL and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive 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 choices are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by searching for schools within driving distance of their Lineville homes. Of those choices, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program should be considered too. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic options 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 positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Lineville AL 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 practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their daily activities can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Lineville AL is by obtaining a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be earned at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help substantiate 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Lineville AL area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant aspects to think about as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can 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 obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Lineville AL law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several Lineville AL law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs give 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 creating contacts within the Lineville AL legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it might be beneficial to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Alabama or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. Also, it will be important to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may want to initially investigate those colleges that are within the Lineville AL region.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help reduce some of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Lineville AL. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while getting their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Lineville AL, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose makes available that option. Last, ask what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Degrees
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more available and can be an excellent alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Lineville AL?
If you live near Lineville Alabama or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Native Americans were the first to inhabit the area now known as Lineville. The Creek Indian War of 1813, however, resulted in their removal. The first white settlers in the area were William and Thomas Lundie. Their settlement became known as Lundie's Cross Roads after a trading post opened in the 1830s to serve pioneers and miners searching for gold. In 1856, Lundie's Cross Roads became known as County Line, probably for the Baptist Church, founded in 1848 and located on what was then the boundary line between Talladega and Randolph counties. Also in 1856, a post office was established in County Line, schools were consolidated and corn and cotton became cash crops.
The Town of (Crooked Creek) Lineville was built on what was at that time the dividing line between Talladega and Randolph Counties, hence the name, Lineville. John H. Ingram, Sr. of Lineville, Alabama furnishes the following early history: “Crooked Creek Baptist Church, later Lineville, was organized in 1839 and built one and one quarter miles west of the town of Lineville about 200 yards northwest of the home of Frank Pittard; and the first literary school of the community was nearby. Some years later the church was moved a short distance and a house was built on the left side of the public road near the residence of the late Thomas H. Harris. In about 1863 the church was moved into the town of Lineville and a house built just west of the present grammar school building; the name was changed to Lineville Baptist Church in 1881 and legally incorporated in 1912; the first Circuit Court that was held in the new County of Clay, was held in the Lineville Baptist Church in 1867, with John Henderson of Talladega, Alabama, as a judge. The present new brick building was built in 1915 and 1916, with the first service held on March 1st, 1916, with prayer and thanksgiving service conducted by J.H. Ingram, Sr., and C.N. James, pastor.”
One of the newest attractions in Clay County in the 1920s, was the chicken business. Millions of chickens and eggs and long chicken houses In or about 1921, Reverend Secelar Claxton Ray took one hundred, day-old chicks to the Clay County Fair and put them under an oil burning brooder and called attention to the advantage of using chickens on the farm to supplement the ‘all cotton’ cash crop. This was something new, but it did gradually got the attention of the local farmers. He was now fully in the poultry business, and named it Goodwill Poultry Farm and Hatchery. He bought houses then idle at the local graphite mines in Clay County and hired neighbors in their spare time and built the hatchery and chicken houses and an extra tenant house on the farm, southeast of Ashland, Alabama whose population of close to one thousand had grown considerably from two hundred in 1881.
Accredited Paralegal Certificate Online Lineville AL
Enrolling in the right legal assistant training school is an essential 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 Accredited Paralegal Certificate Online. But as we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Lineville residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you elect to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to evaluate each school and make your final decision. And with the right training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Lineville AL.
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