In today’s economy everyone is looking for a way to get the advantage over other job seekers, looking for a career that is almost recession proof. Fortunately, there is one profession that is never going to fade away, and that is lawyers. While the though of going to school and becoming a lawyer may not thrill you, becoming a paralegal might.
A paralegal does work that is delegated to them by a lawyer that they are working with. They can do some of the same tasks that a lawyer can do, but may not have time for. They cannot however, present a case in court or give any legal advice of any type. What paralegals are able to do is, to help the lawyer prepare for trials, hearings, closings and meetings.
They help by investigating any facts that are pertinent to a case and making sure that the lawyer has any information that is needed as a case is prepared. This type of work includes gathering information regarding laws, judgments or other such materials that the lawyer might need to do try a case effectively. They make sure that the lawyer has every bit of information with in hands reach.
Paralegal education is generally the completion of an associates degree from either a local school or an online paralegal course. While most paralegal education will stop after the associates degree is accomplished, there are some institutions that offer a bachelors and even a masters degree in this field.
If you are in the process of deciding which course to take to become a paralegal, it is wise to pick a program that is endorsed by the American Bar Association (ABA). The ABA endorses approximately 250 of the more than 600 programs that exist to train people in the paralegal profession.
Many programs have internships available; it would be wise to take advantage of this program. This will allow you to get a hands on feel for the work that a paralegal does along side a lawyer. Look, too for a program that offers job placement, this shows that they believe in their graduates and stand behind their knowledge.
After the paralegal studies are completed and you have your paralegal certificate, it would be a good idea to pursue certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants. Most employers will not require this; it will make you stand out from other applicants. The Association has a set of standards that have been established for the 2-day course that tells potential employers that you are indeed a professional.
As with any profession that you are considering, it is important to do extensive research before starting the course of study to become a paralegal. Talk to people in the position and ask lots of questions. However, if you choose this path for yourself, you have the chance to accomplish two things. One, you will have a positon that will always be in demand and you will be able to put your knowledge of the law to use helping people. Good luck.
Linda Moore writes on a variety of subjects including family matters, personal enrichment, becoming a Paralegal and Project Management as a profession.