How to Pick the Right Legal Assistant Training Program near Summit Kentucky
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Summit KY and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students start by trying to find schools within traveling range of their Summit residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be considered as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both hold comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Summit KY lawyers with a wide range of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but some of their routine activities might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to start your career as a paralegal in Summit KY is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might choose to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Kentucky to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges in the Summit KY area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to 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 driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other significant issues to think about as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Summit KY law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance 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 programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Summit KY law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to start creating contacts within the Summit KY legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Kentucky legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in Kentucky or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to initially look at those schools that are within the Summit KY area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help offset part of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Summit KY. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many legal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Summit KY, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Schools
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more prevalent and can be a good option for those searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a respected organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Summit KY?
If you live near Summit Kentucky or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Summit, New Jersey
Summit is a city in Union County, New Jersey, United States. At the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 21,457, reflecting an increase of 326 (+1.5%) from the 21,131 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,374 (+7.0%) from the 19,757 counted in the 1990 Census. Summit had the 16th-highest per capita income in the state as of the 2000 Census  According to Bloomberg, Summit ranked as the 72nd richest town in America in 2018, with an average household income of $220,971.
Originally incorporated as Summit Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 23, 1869, from portions of New Providence Township (now Berkeley Heights) and Springfield Township, Summit was reincorporated as a city on March 8, 1899.
Possible derivations of Summit's name include its location atop the Second Watchung Mountain; the Summit Lodge, the house to which jurist James Kent moved in 1837 and which stands today at 50 Kent Place Boulevard; and to a local sawmill owner who granted passage to the Morris and Essex Railroad for a route to "the summit of the Short Hills".
Paralegal Programs Online Summit KY
Enrolling in the right paralegal studies training school is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Paralegal Programs Online. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Summit home. Paralegal education programs are provided in many formats and lengths. Several types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to acquire your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to examine each program and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Summit KY.
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