How to Pick the Right Legal Assistant Certificate Program near Ninety Six South Carolina
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Ninety Six SC and start your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools within driving distance of their Ninety Six homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program need to be taken into account also. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals essentially both hold the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Ninety Six SC attorneys with a diverse array of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may 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 just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but some of their daily activities may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be involved and rather 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 they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career as a paralegal in Ninety Six SC is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in South Carolina to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Ninety Six SC area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important aspects to think about as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Ninety Six SC law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school 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 contact some Ninety Six SC law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while attending school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Ninety Six SC legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with South Carolina legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ among states, it may be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in South Carolina or the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to establish relationships in the area legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially look at those schools that are within the Ninety Six SC area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be accessible to help reduce part of the expense, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Ninety Six SC. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these added costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Ninety Six SC, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you choose offers that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Training
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more common and may be an excellent option for those looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online programs can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Ninety Six SC?
If you live near Ninety Six South Carolina or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Ninety Six, South Carolina
Ninety Six is located in eastern Greenwood County at 34°10′24″N 82°1′18″W / 34.17333°N 82.02167°W / 34.17333; -82.02167 (34.173211, -82.021710).South Carolina Highway 34 passes through the town as its Main Street; it leads west 9 miles (14 km) to Greenwood, the county seat, and east 27 miles (43 km) to Newberry. Lake Greenwood State Park is 5 miles (8 km) northeast of town, and Ninety Six National Historic Site is 2 miles (3 km) south of the center of town.
There is much confusion about the name, "Ninety Six", and the true origin may never be known. Speculation has led to the mistaken belief that it was 96 miles (154 km) to the nearest Cherokee settlement of Keowee; to a counting of creeks crossing the main road leading from Lexington, South Carolina, to Ninety-Six; to an interpretation of a Welsh expression, nant-sych, meaning "dry gulch". No one is able to confirm that founder Robert Goudey (sic) was Welsh, English, Scottish, or German. An examination of early maps indicates markings such as "30" and "60" and "90" at different points, possibly indicating chains, a surveying measurement. Since Ninety-Six was located in Clarendon Parish, it is possible that parish linear measurements as used in England were used on colonial maps to measure distances in "chains". In England, according to a British and Welsh booklet designating linear measurements, parish maps used a rule of "4 chains to the inch". In using that parish rule on an early map of colonial South Carolina, 90 "chains" on a map would probably cover approximately 24 inches (610 mm), the map distance from "Saxe Gotha" (modern Lexington, South Carolina) to Ninety-Six. Using the same measurements for the distance from Ninety-Six to the Savannah River, the measurement would be approximately 2.5 inches (64 mm), or (very) roughly 6 "chains", hence 96. Even so, the origin of the name "Ninety-Six" remains a mystery.
Ninety Six was established on the frontier in the early 18th century. For a time it was known as "Jews Land" because some prominent Sephardic Jewish families of London bought extensive property there. The Salvador and DaCosta families bought 200,000 acres (810 km2), intending to help some poor Sephardic families relocate from London to the New World.
Accredited Paralegal Programs Online Ninety Six SC
Selecting the ideal paralegal degree school is an important 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 Accredited Paralegal Programs Online. But as we have discussed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Ninety Six home. Paralegal academic programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Several types of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that 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 irrespective of how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, 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 education you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Ninety Six SC.
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