Paralegals work in law and government offices alongside lawyers to help them prepare for cases and conduct research. They are a lawyer’s most trusted sidekick, there to help with whatever has to be done. With all that responsibility, it is important that you know your stuff, and that all starts with the right education.
If you’re interested in this kind of legal work, make sure you get training that will prepare you. Here is what you should consider before you make up your mind.
Make sure the program you choose teaches you the basics, such as legal research, writing and terminology. You’ll need a deep understanding of the American legal system and constitutional law. Does the school you’re looking at offer courses that focus on that foundation? You’ll also want to see if they offer specifics in some areas of law you might have an interest, such as real estate, bankruptcy, family, and trial law. In a modern law office, it’s important that you know all about modern technology. Programs like Microsoft Word and QuickBooks are used in many businesses and law offices. If the classroom instruction is supplemented with lessons on the ins and outs of how legal offices actually run, and how you need to act within in them, you may have found the right program for you.
Okay, so you’ve found the what. But what about the how? If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to just listen to a lecture to learn, ask lots of questions about how the class will be taught. Will you get to use the lessons you learn right away on technology that's similar what to you'll see in an office. And will you get the individualized attention you need with small classroom sizes, and a good student-to-teacher ratio? Where a program is based is also an important factor to keep in mind. Have you ever taken an online course? They’re flexible and convenient. And they use the same kinds of technology you’ll use in an office setting. Online programs make it easier for you to manage other responsibilities while you earn your degree.
Opportunities for Experience
What you can learn in a classroom is only valuable if you can translate it to a real world experience. In your search for a paralegal program, make sure you consider externships and other workplace experiences. Opportunities like these allow you to put your skills to the test and see how you might like a certain position and gain experience in any number of areas, such as personal injury, immigration, criminal, or bankruptcy law.
If you’re interested in a paralegal career, give Career Quest Learning Centers a call in Lansing at 877-481-4930 or Jackson at 877-365-8144 to learn how to get started.