What does a "paralegal training program" involve? What subjects and topics would be covered? Where can you apply for these training programs? All this is answered below! There has never been a better time to start a new career and this article is devoted to the career of a paralegal/legal assistant.
Paralegal Training Overview
Becoming a paralegal can easily fit into your life - start your paralegal training online, via distance learning or on campus. There has never been a better time to train.
Paralegal Profession & Training
A paralegal program gives you the necessary training required to obtain employment in this field. A paralegal career is indeed a challenging one and one where communication skills both oral and written are pertinent as is knowledge of law. A paralegal program will give you solid training in legal practice, procedure and documentation.
When looking for the right paralegal school to undergo training, you should look for a school that offers extensive hands-on training in negotiation tactics, client advocacy, criminal investigation, drafting of documents, interviewing skills and other skills that you need to help you become a successful legal assistant. You should also undertake training in the regulation of e-commerce.
Paralegal training programs tackle the basics of law and allow you to find an area that really interests you. A training program also includes teaching you the basics of the latest software used within legal departments.
Other subjects covered in a training program will include:
- Civil court structure
- Legal procedures: proceedings, summary judgments, trial preparation, cost estimates in handling a client's case, and so on.
- Divorce law
- Financial law
- Property law
- Estate law
- Laws related to bequests, legacies, estate administration, executors and probate
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To succeed as a paralegal professional - certain traits or characteristics are necessary to develop. These are:
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Above average analytical ability
- Able to think logically
- Can carry out his/her duties accurately with minimal supervision
- Can handle multiple projects
- Can perform responsibilities well under pressure
4 Types of Paralegal Programs
There are four main types of paralegal programs you can undertake if you want to become a paralegal. These programs can be found in: private colleges and universities, community colleges, trade and vocational schools. The thing you need to look out for in any program is to ensure that it is ABA approved (i.e. accredited).
- 1 Year Certificate in Paralegal Studies
- 2 Year Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies (Most popular and min. required by employers today).
- 4 Year Degree in Paralegal Studies
- Master’s Degree in Paralegal Studies
Where To Find Approved Paralegal Training Programs?
To further help you find the right school to undergo paralegal training, you should check out the following resources:
- American Bar Association (ABA).This is the largest professional association in the world that has more than 400,000 members. It accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education and offers information about the law.
- American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI). This organization was founded in 2003. It promotes collaboration among paralegal, legal and other organizations.
- American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE). It supports quality paralegal education and promotes professional growth.
- National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It is the leading professional organization for paralegals. It offers professional certification programs for paralegal. It grants Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP) credential.
- ParalegalCareerFactsheet.com - A paralegal career site covering salaries, career types, paralegal job description and duties, school search engine and much more.
Where To Find Jobs
After obtaining the required paralegal training, you are now ready to find a job in this field. One of the best ways to look for a job in this area is to obtain a list of the law firms located in your city or the nearby cities you want to work in. This is often overlooked by new paralegal grads. Many employers do not list their vacancies online - so having such a list where you can send in your CV should be your first stop.