How to Select a Paralegal Studies Program near Rolling Fork Mississippi
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Rolling Fork MS and start your journey that will result in a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Many potential students start by looking for schools within driving range of their Rolling Fork residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be taken into consideration too. Later on in this article we will review a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Rolling Fork MS attorneys with a wide variety of job duties, including 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 are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their everyday tasks can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career as a paralegal in Rolling Fork MS is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. After you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may want to continue and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Mississippi to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can start the process of evaluating schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Rolling Fork MS area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of 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 aspects to think about also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Rolling Fork MS law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several Rolling Fork MS law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Rolling Fork MS legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Mississippi legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school located in Mississippi or the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to first look at those schools that are within the Rolling Fork MS area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be available to help minimize part of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Rolling Fork MS. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Rolling Fork MS, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose offers that option. Last, find out what the protocol is for making up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Legal Assistant and Paralegal Degrees
Online legal assistant or paralegal schools have become more prevalent and can be an excellent option for students looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Rolling Fork MS?
If you live near Rolling Fork MS 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.
Rolling Fork, Mississippi
Samantha Vinas located here in 1828, and was the first settler in the county. Deer Creek flows through the settlement, and Chaney called the place "Rolling Fork" because of the swiftness of the water at a fork in the creek there.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,486 people, 820 households, and 620 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,774.2 people per square mile (685.6/km²). There were 875 housing units at an average density of 624.5 per square mile (241.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.19% African American, 29.69% White, 0.04% Native American, 0.32% Asian, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.97% of the population.
There were 820 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.9% were married couples living together, 32.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.3% were non-families. 22.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.40.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal School near Rolling Fork MS
Selecting the best paralegal degree program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Rolling Fork residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in many formats and lengths. Several types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, 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 certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each school and make your final selection. And with the right education you can accomplish your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Rolling Fork MS.
Other Mississippi Locations That May Be Of Interest
Bing: Mississippi Paralegal Certificate Search results
Mississippi State University – Paralegal Certificate ...
Mississippi State University. ... Paralegal Certificate Course. Live course format student’s access will expire on the first business day after the last day of class, regardless of when Westlaw is purchased. Please Note: Access is required for the entire course duration.
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However, the Mississippi Paralegal Association recommends national certification through an organization such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) in order to further your career aspirations and advancement as a paralegal in Mississippi. The following certifications are available through NALA:
Mississippi Paralegal Association (MPA)
The Mississippi Paralegal Association ("MPA") was founded in 1980 by paralegals in Mississippi who wished to encourage a higher order of ethical and professional attainment. The main purpose of MPA is to promote the profession of paralegals state wide.
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Paralegal Schools in Mississippi. ... Law offices and other employers in Mississippi have come to rely on paralegals with the kind of expertise that can only come from earning a certificate or degree in paralegal studies.
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Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Mississippi Paralegal Certificates. Mississippi College. A Christian college in Clinton, Mississippi College offers a 27-hour certificate in paralegal studies for those who’ve already completed a four-year degree. Student learn and perform basic legal research and analysis and gain an ...
Best Paralegal Schools in Mississippi
Mississippi Paralegal Schools. As of May 2018, about 1,820 paralegals were employed in Mississippi, with the majority working in the Jackson metro area. 1 Mississippi paralegal schools have seen a greater influx of students as paralegal job opportunities are increasing as more firms look to administrative professionals to fulfill support tasks. . Mississippi schools offer prospective ...
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Is There Paralegal Certification in Mississippi? Aspiring paralegals are choosing education over on-the-job training in greater numbers. Earning a certificate or a degree can help distinguish entry-level job candidates from their peers as well as prepare paralegals to take one of the national certification exams.
Paralegal Schools in Mississippi | Paralegal Degree ...
Paralegal Schools in Mississippi. The following guide to paralegal schools in Mississippi is designed to help you find the information you need to make an informed choice to support your career as a paralegal/legal assistant.
Mississippi Paralegal Association (MPA) | NALA Certification
We are a professional organization dedicated to the paralegal and legal assistant profession in Mississippi. We support paralegals by promoting professional development, education, and certification examinations. Please contact us at @MSParalegals or [email protected]
How to Become a Paralegal in Mississippi, Paralegal ...
Certification: Mississippi does not certify paralegals or require paralegals to be certified. Age: Adults over the age of 18 are allowed to be paralegals in Mississippi. Licensure: You do not need to have a license to become a paralegal in Mississippi. Degree: Most paralegals will complete a paralegal studies degree program that has been ...