How to Find a Paralegal Training Program near Yorba Linda California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Yorba Linda CA and begin your journey that will result in a fulfilling profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students start by trying to find schools within traveling distance of their Yorba Linda homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be considered too. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals essentially 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 different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Yorba Linda CA attorneys with a wide range of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their regular tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. 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 proceeding. But they are not limited to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career as a paralegal in Yorba Linda CA is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected certifying organizations 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 obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But because there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges in the Yorba Linda CA area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical factors to research also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should 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 targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Yorba Linda CA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some Yorba Linda CA law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Yorba Linda CA legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws vary from state to state, it might be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in California or the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the area where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to first look at those colleges that are within the Yorba Linda CA region.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be accessible to help offset part of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Yorba Linda CA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Yorba Linda CA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you enroll in offers that option. Last, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Training
Online paralegal or legal assistant schools have become more available and may be an excellent option for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Yorba Linda CA?
If you live near Yorba Linda CA or perhaps you are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Yorba Linda, California
Yorba Linda ("Beautiful Yorba", in English) is a suburban city in Orange County, California, approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of Downtown Los Angeles. It is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area according to the US Census. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 64,234. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is located in this city.
In 1834, Jose Antonio Yorba's most successful son, Bernardo Yorba (after whom the city would later be named), was granted the 13,328-acre (53.94 km2) Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana by Mexican governor José Figueroa. Most of this original land was retained after the Mexican–American War in 1848 by descendants of the Yorba family. A portion of the city's land is still owned and developed by descendants of Samuel Kraemer, who acquired it through his marriage to Angelina Yorba, the great-granddaughter of Bernardo Yorba. The site of the Bernardo Yorba Hacienda, referred to as the Don Bernardo Yorba Ranch House Site, is listed as a California Historical Landmark.
Near that same site sits the second oldest private cemetery in the county, the historic Yorba Cemetery. The land was given to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Bernardo Yorba in 1858 since Orange County was not established out of Los Angeles County as a separate county until 1889. The cemetery closed in 1939 and was subsequently vandalized; however, in the 1960s, the Orange County Board of Supervisors took possession of the property to repair the damage, and tours are now available one day per month.
Find the Best Legal Assistant Degree Program near Yorba Linda CA
Enrolling in the best paralegal degree program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Yorba Linda residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in various formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you elect to acquire 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 final selection. And with the ideal training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Yorba Linda CA.
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