How to Select the Right Paralegal Studies School near Pleasant Grove Utah
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Pleasant Grove UT and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic options are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by trying to find schools within driving range of their Pleasant Grove homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find 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 should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be taken into account too. Later in this article we will cover a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both hold comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Pleasant Grove UT attorneys with a wide range of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents 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 follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their everyday activities can involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And because 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 on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career as a legal assistant in Pleasant Grove UT is by earning a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Utah to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But since there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges in the Pleasant Grove UT area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant issues to research also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Pleasant Grove UT law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact a few Pleasant Grove UT law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Pleasant Grove UT legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering 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 good relationships with Utah legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it might be beneficial to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Utah or the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. 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 first consider those schools that are within the Pleasant Grove UT area.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be accessible to help offset some of the cost, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Pleasant Grove UT. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many legal students keep working while receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Pleasant Grove UT, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Degrees
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more available and can be an excellent option for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Pleasant Grove UT?
If you live near Pleasant Grove Utah or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Pleasant Grove, originally named Battle Creek, is a city in Utah County, Utah, United States known as "Utah's City of Trees". It is part of the Provo–Orem Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 33,509 at the 2010 census.
On July 19, 1850, William H. Adams, John Mercer and Philo T. Farnsworth,Mormon pioneers sent by Brigham Young, arrived at the area now known as Pleasant Grove and staked out farms in what is now the southwest corner of the city. A small community was established September 13, 1850, consisting of George S. Clark and his wife, Susannah Dalley Clark, Richard and Ann Elizabeth Sheffer Clark, John Greenleaf Holman and Nancy Clark Holman, Lewis Harvey and his wife Lucinda Clark Harvey, Johnathan Harvey and Sarah Herbert Harvey, Charles Price and wife and child, Widow Harriet Marler and children, John Wilson, Ezekiel Holman, and possibly one or two others, relatives of those mentioned. Of note, Bro and Sis Reynolds in 1852 brought Ellis Reynolds Shipp to live, which Shipp became the legendary MD, Obstetrician, and Pediatrician, through the young women's midwife training program of Dr. Richards and Eliza Snow, beginning her training in young women's MIA in Pleasant Grove. Pleasant Grove was officially incorporated as a town January 18, 1855, by which time the settlement had grown to 623 people.
The original name of the city was Battle Creek. It was named for a battle which took place there in 1849 between Mormon settlers and a small band of Ute Indians, wherein all the male Utes were massacred because Brigham Young believed they had stolen some of his horses (which were found before the attack on the Utes occurred). The settlers later decided they needed a more uplifting name and began calling their town Pleasant Grove after a grove of cottonwood trees located between Battle Creek and Grove Creek, near the current-day intersection of Locust Avenue and Battle Creek Drive. A monument with a plaque describing this battle is located at Kiwanis Park, at the mouth of Battle Creek Canyon.
Paralegal Courses Pleasant Grove UT
Enrolling in the best legal assistant training school is an important 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 Courses. But as we have covered in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Pleasant Grove residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to assess each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Pleasant Grove UT.
Other Utah Locations That May Be Of Interest
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