How to Find a Paralegal Studies Program near Wauregan Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Wauregan CT and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students start by trying to find schools within commuting range of their Wauregan homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program should be taken into consideration also. Later in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both hold the same job roles and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Wauregan CT lawyers with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their regular tasks may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complex and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to take on a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career as a paralegal in Wauregan CT is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be obtained 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. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and earn a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Connecticut to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can begin the process of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Wauregan CT area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other critical issues to think about also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Wauregan CT law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is a good 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 several Wauregan CT law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Wauregan CT legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Connecticut legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school located in Connecticut or the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to build relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to initially consider those schools that are within the Wauregan CT area.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be available to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Wauregan CT. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online school, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of legal students keep working while receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Wauregan CT, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Training
Legal assistant and paralegal online schools have become more popular and may be an excellent option for students looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover 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 organization, for instance 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 may be the right option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Wauregan CT?
If you live near Wauregan CT 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.
Wauregan is a village located in the northwestern corner of the town of Plainfield, Connecticut in the United States. Originally a mill village, Wauregan was established around a cotton mill powered by the Quinebaug River.
A 90-acre (360,000 m2) portion of the original village area is listed as a historic district, the Wauregan Historic District, encompassing structures that are directly related to the economic and social activities of the mill. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Extant buildings in the Wauregan historic district include the Wauregan Mill, an H-shaped building built from local fieldstone; James Atwood's home; the two boarding houses; the company store; and over one hundred workers' houses. Architectural styles represented include Greek Revival and Late Victorian architecture.
Named for a Mohegan word meaning "Pleasant Valley" Wauregan has a long history as an industrial village. In 1850, Amos D. Lockwood, who was involved with the Quinebaug Mill in Danielsonville, bought the water privileges and surrounding land at Wauregan. After the Wauregan Mills Company charter was approved by the Connecticut legislature in 1853, the first mill was constructed circa 1853-1854. Wauregan Mills was well known for its woven cotton goods, including various types of flannel. Lockwood became the mill's first agent and recruited James S. Atwood as his superintendent, who became responsible for setting up all machinery and starting production. The principal product of Wauregan was cotton sheeting.
Find the Ideal Legal Assistant College near Wauregan CT
Selecting the right paralegal educational program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Wauregan residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you decide to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to review each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Wauregan CT.
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