How to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program near Uncasville Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Uncasville CT and begin your journey that will lead to a fulfilling profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate 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 one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by looking for schools within traveling distance of their Uncasville homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be considered too. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both fill comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Uncasville CT attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career as a legal assistant in Uncasville CT is by obtaining a certificate, which may require as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. When you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Connecticut to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges in the Uncasville CT area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial issues to think about as well, including 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 considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Uncasville CT law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some Uncasville CT law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while attending school. They can also present an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Uncasville CT legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested 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 difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Connecticut legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ from one state to another, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in Connecticut or the state where you want to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first look at those colleges that are within the Uncasville CT area.
What is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential obtained and the amount 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 also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Uncasville CT. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous legal students continue working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Uncasville CT, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you select provides that option. Last, ask what the process is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Classes
Online paralegal or legal assistant programs have become more prevalent and can be an excellent option for students searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional 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 address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Uncasville CT?
If you live near Uncasville 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.
Uncasville is an area in the town of Montville, Connecticut, United States. It is a village in southeastern Montville, at the mouth of the Oxoboxo River. The name is now applied more generally to all of the east end of Montville, which is the area served by the Uncasville ZIP Code.
In 1994 the federal government officially recognized the Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut, which had historically occupied this area. That year Congress passed the Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claim Settlement Act. It authorized the United States to take land into trust in northeastern Montville for the Mohegan tribe's use as a reservation. Since gaining a reservation, in 1996 the tribe developed the Mohegan Sun casino resort. It has also built the Mohegan Sun Arena on their land. The Mohegan are one of the Native American peoples of the Algonquian languages family.
Uncasville takes its name from Uncas, the 17th-century Mohegan sachem. The Mohegan, originally part of the Algonquian-speaking Pequot people, became independent through the 17th and 18th centuries; they allied with the English during the Pequot War of 1637. Uncas established a fortified village for defense, now known as Fort Shantok, on an elevated site next to the Thames River. He later welcomed English colonists to the Mohegan lands.
Certificate In Paralegal Studies Uncasville CT
Selecting the ideal legal assistant certificate program is a vital 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 Certificate In Paralegal Studies. But as we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Uncasville home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you elect to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Uncasville CT.
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