The Paralegal Certificate ProgramWritten by Sara Jenkins
A paralegal or legal assistant “is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”
A paralegal has a limited task that can perform. He cannot represent a client on a trial or accept a case. He cannot also give legal advice. In short, a paralegal cannot perform functions that are considered as a law practice. The paralegal performs some duties of attorney such as but not limited to conducting and interview to client, locating witnesses, conducting investigation, legal research, and interviews, drafting legal document, correspondents and pleadings with supervision of an attorney.
To become a certified paralegal or Certified Legal Assistant CLA, he or she must achieve requirements such as graduating from a paralegal certificate program that is approved by ABA; “or an associate degree program; or a paralegal post-baccalaureate certificate program; or a paralegal certificate program with 60 semester hours of which at least 15 semester hours are substantive legal courses.” He can also be a paralegal if he or she has any bachelor’s degree plus a one year experience as a legal assistant with a completion of at least 15 semester hours or substantive legal assistant courses. Or he or she could have a high school diploma or equivalent to seven years experience as a legal assistant under supervision of a member of Bar.
If an individual want to become a paralegal through paralegal certificate program, many educational institutions are offering paralegal certificate program as a professional course. It is aimed to prepare future paralegal certificate program holders in paralegal career. The paralegal certificate program of some institutions are focused of practical skills and research while other are focused on classroom lectures while other paralegal certificate program can be acquired online.
Paralegal Training Programs for Career Advancement Written by Sara Jenkins
With recent year’s significant increase in legal world’s activities, lawyers and attorneys are also equated with intensified workload that they cannot uphold these duties on their own anymore. With this matter, paralegals or legal assistants come into action. And this would also mean an additional task to their responsibilities that might require them for knowledge enhancement. But no worries as paralegal training programs are offered by paralegal schools to equip potential paralegal students with expertise in their fields. Paralegal schools prepare students for a rewarding career in paralegal world through their paralegal certification or paralegal education. The students are offered privileges to develop their skills and knowledge that supply them with efficiency to perform their duties as paralegals or legal assistants. Typically, paralegal training programs offer courses that would augment student’s abilities to take up paralegal duties and responsibilities entitled to them under an attorney or lawyer’s supervision. Paralegal training would equip students with introduction from general duties of paralegals including legal terminologies and knowledge in court system. They are also taught to conduct legal research and interviews. After this level they are taught on how to analyze and compose this analysis into an effective legal document.
With prevalence of expansion of law firms’ duties, another field of career opportunities is now open for their advancement in their career. Once students have completed general courses, they can elect to continue their paralegal studies with different specialized areas offered by paralegal training program. Specialized courses offer choices of elective courses leading towards specific fields of study. This would allow students to gain additional expertise in a specific field and enable them to perform a number of tasks in paralegal exercises. By taking special paralegal courses, students will be provided with foundation on paralegal profession and render them more competence in job market. With unpredicted changes in legal market, it is deemed essential to prepare these students into more challenging areas of paralegal matters so that they can be more equipped with specialization which other matters lawyers are handling may be conveyed unto paralegals. Just like any education, all paralegal training programs come with subjects that train students in areas of legal ethics and as well as professional responsibilities.