Paralegal Degrees

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Qualifications For, And the Employment Opportunities With, a Paralegal Degree What is a Paralegal? While most lawyers are responsible for the overall legal work assigned to them or their firms, it is not uncommon to find them delegating some of their work to paralegals. Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, are increasingly assuming new roles and are performing many of the duties that were traditionally designated for lawyers. However, they cannot carry out tasks that are defined by law to be duties of lawyers. Examples of such tasks include representing defendants in court, offering legal advice and setting legal fees. Duties of the Paralegal Some of the duties of legal assistants include: • Helping lawyers with preparations for corporate…show more content…
Education, Training and Qualification Requirements Most entrant employees have an associate’s paralegal degree. Some lawyers accept entrants with a bachelor’s degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies. The most common way of becoming a paralegal is to pursue programs in college that will lead to an associate paralegal degree. Those who already have another college degree can pursue a certificate in paralegal studies. A few schools offer bachelor’s and master’s paralegal degree programs. Finally, some employers train their paralegals in-house. Students studying for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree usually have to study other academic courses as well. The duration of certificate programs varies with some taking only a few months to complete. The certificate programs are usually intensive for students who have already finished college studies. Certification While most employers do not require certification, job applicants with certification from professional, local or national paralegal associations may have better chances of employment. Students are usually required to pass an exam for them to be…show more content…
(AAP) and the Nationals Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) are two professional paralegal associations that offer certification. The two have standards of certification that require students to have undergone particular training and education. The AAP administers the voluntary American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP) credentials, which is renewable every 2 years. The NALA administers Certified Paralegal (CP) or Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credentials. There is also an Advanced Paralegal Certification program for those who want to specialize. Pursuing a Paralegal Degree and Related Programs There are over 1,000 proprietary schools, law schools, universities and colleges that offer paralegal studies. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved approximately 260 paralegal programs. While it is not mandatory, graduating from an institution approved by the ABA can enhance employment opportunities. To be admitted for paralegal studies, students may be expected to have completed certain college courses or hold a bachelor’s degree. Some institutions accept those with legal experience or high school graduates while others may require personal interviews and standardized tests before admitting a student.

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