How to Choose the Right Paralegal Training Program near Trumbull Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Trumbull CT and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational choices are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools within commuting distance of their Trumbull residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be taken into account also. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill comparable job roles and responsibilities, 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 paralegals and legal assistants help Trumbull CT attorneys with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their daily tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and very challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative duties 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, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education 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 opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to begin your career as a paralegal in Trumbull CT is by earning a certificate, which may require just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and may be acquired 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. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Connecticut to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Trumbull CT area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant factors to consider also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick need to be accredited by a reputable 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 focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify 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. Numerous Trumbull CT law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several Trumbull CT law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation 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 exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also present a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Trumbull CT legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Connecticut legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Connecticut or the state where you plan to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to develop relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may want to first investigate those schools that are within the Trumbull CT area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be available to help offset some of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Trumbull CT. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Trumbull CT, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Training
Online legal assistant or paralegal schools have become more prevalent and can be a good alternative for those searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to students who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Trumbull CT?
If you live near Trumbull Connecticut or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Trumbull is a town located in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It borders on the cities of Bridgeport and Shelton and the towns of Stratford, Fairfield, Easton and Monroe. The population was 36,018 during the 2010 census. Trumbull was the home of the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation for thousands of years before the English settlement was made in 1639. The town was named after Jonathan Trumbull (1710–1785), a merchant, patriot, and statesman when it was incorporated in 1797. Aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky lived in Trumbull during his active years when he designed built and flew fixed-wing aircraft and put the helicopter into mass production for the first time.
The area comprising the town of Trumbull was occupied by the Paugusset Indian nation for thousands of years before English colonists arrived here during the Great Migration from England and established the town of Stratford, Connecticut in 1639.
In 1725, Stratford residents living in the northern part of the town petitioned the Colony of Connecticut to establish their own separate village. They wished to call their new village Nickol's Farms, after the family who lived in its center. However, the Colony named it Unity instead. The village of Unity merged with the village to its west called Long Hill (organized in 1740), to form the town of "North Stratford" in 1744.
Paralegal Degree Requirements Trumbull CT
Enrolling in the right legal assistant training program 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 Paralegal Degree Requirements. But as we have discussed 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 Trumbull residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to obtain your education 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 selection. And with the right training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Trumbull CT.
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