How to Pick a Paralegal Training Program near Wing North Dakota
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Wing ND and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the best school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational choices are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by looking for schools within traveling range of their Wing residences. Of those choices, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school should be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both fill comparable job roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Wing ND lawyers with a wide variety of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their everyday activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career as a legal assistant in Wing ND is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in North Dakota to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. 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 address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Points to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Wing ND area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant aspects to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training 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 Wing ND law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including 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 Wing ND law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Wing ND legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with North Dakota legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws vary from one state to another, it may be advantageous to enroll in a legal assistant school domiciled in North Dakota or the state where you plan to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to first consider those colleges that are within the Wing ND region.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce part of the expense, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Wing ND. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous legal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Wing ND, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up classes missed due to work, illness or family obligations.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Schools
Online paralegal or legal assistant schools have become more available and can be an excellent option for individuals searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into 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 conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Wing ND?
If you live near Wing ND 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.
102nd Intelligence Wing
The United States Air Force's 102nd Intelligence Wing (102 IW), of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, is a military intelligence unit located at Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. Its primary subordinate operational unit is the 101st Intelligence Squadron. According to the Air Force, the history of the 102nd begins with the 318th Fighter Group, which was active during World War II. After the war, the 318th was inactivated, and eventually the 102nd Fighter Wing was formed, which had a direct lineage link. In 1946, the 102nd was activated at Logan International Airport where it stayed until 1968, when it moved to Otis Air Force Base. Beginning in 1946, the wing began regular patrols of the Northeastern United States which took place in conjunction with Air Force active duty units. In 1968, the 102nd was moved to Otis, where it continued its regular patrols until 1973.
During the time that the wing had a flying mission, the wing deployed to many locations around the globe to assist in missions for the Air Force. In 1961, the wing deployed to France during the Berlin Crisis. Twenty eight years later, the wing deployed to Panama during Operation Coronet Nighthawk. It also participated in Operation Northern Watch, helping to patrol the No-Fly Zone north of the 36th parallel in Iraq. During the 11 September attacks, the 102nd Fighter Wing deployed the first Air Force aircraft toward New York City, but they arrived too late to stop the attacks.
Over the years, the wing has controlled many other Air National Guard units. Following the inactivation of the 67th Fighter Wing in November 1950, the wing was put in charge of a few fighter units on the Atlantic Coast. In 1976, the wing even became responsible for the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, located in Texas.
Select the Right Legal Assistant Certificate Program near Wing ND
Selecting the right paralegal training program is an important first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Wing residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you elect to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to assess each program and make your final decision. And with the appropriate education you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Wing ND.
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