How to Pick a Paralegal Studies Program near Warm Springs Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Warm Springs GA and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students start by looking for schools within commuting distance of their Warm Springs homes. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school should be considered too. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals essentially both fill comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Warm Springs GA attorneys with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals 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 handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, 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 prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career as a paralegal in Warm Springs GA is by obtaining a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected certifying organizations 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 school (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Things to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating schools. But since there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Warm Springs GA area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add 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 crucial issues to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Warm Springs GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact some Warm Springs GA law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Warm Springs GA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary among states, it might be beneficial to select a legal assistant school located in Georgia or the state where you want to work after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to develop relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially investigate those schools that are within the Warm Springs GA area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help minimize part of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Warm Springs GA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Warm Springs GA, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in offers that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Schools
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more available and can be a good alternative for those searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to students who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the right option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Warm Springs GA?
If you live near Warm Springs GA 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.
Warm Springs, Georgia
Warm Springs, originally named Bullochville (after the Bulloch family, the family of Martha Bulloch Roosevelt), first came to prominence in the 19th century as a spa town, because of its mineral springs which flow constantly at nearly 90 °F (32 °C). Residents of Georgia, particularly Savannah, began spending vacations at Bullochville in the late 18th century as a way to escape yellow fever, finding the number of warm springs in the vicinity of Bullochville very attractive. In the late 19th century traveling to the warm springs was attractive as a way to get away from Atlanta.[clarification needed] Traveling by railroad to Durand, they would then go to Bullochville. One of the places benefiting from this was the Meriwether Inn. Once the automobile became popular in the early 20th century, the tourists began going elsewhere, starting the decline of the Meriwether Inn.
In 1921, Franklin Roosevelt contracted a paralytic illness, diagnosed at the time as polio, now thought[by whom?] to be Guillain–Barré syndrome. He tried to regain strength in his legs by bathing and exercising in the warm water. His first time in Warm Springs was October 1924. He went to a resort in the town whose attraction was a permanent 88-degree natural spring, but whose main house was described as "ramshackle". It became famous as the Little White House, where Roosevelt lived while president, because of his paralytic illness. He died there in 1945 and it is now a public museum. Roosevelt first came in the 1920s in hopes that the warm water would improve his paraplegia. He was a constant visitor for two decades, and renamed the town from Bullochville to Warm Springs. The town is still home to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (Roosevelt's former polio hospital) which remains a world-renowned comprehensive rehabilitation center including a physical rehabilitation hospital and vocational rehabilitation unit. The springs are not available for public use as a bath/spa resort, but they are used by the Roosevelt Institute for therapeutic purposes.
As of the census of 2010, there were 485 people, 172 households, and 107 families residing in the city. The population density was 409.7 people per square mile (158.7/km²). There were 208 housing units at an average density of 175.7 per square mile (68.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.22% White, 31.75% African American, and 1.03% from two or more races.
Enroll in the Right Legal Assistant Training near Warm Springs GA
Enrolling in the best paralegal training program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Warm Springs residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to review each program and make your final decision. And with the right training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Warm Springs GA.
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