How To Become A Paralegal

What exactly is a paralegal?

A paralegal is an assistant to an Attorney at Law. Most paralegals have a paralegal certificate and a 4-year college degree. They help conduct legal research, interview clients and prepare legal documents. They are usually the middle person between an attorney and his clients.

Just as there are many specialties within the law, there are a variety of types of paralegal careers. This can range from a civil litigation to criminal law. The duties can also vary depending on the experience and skills the paralegal may have.

What can’t a paralegal do?


A paralegal cannot give legal advice. A paralegal career can involve
assisting others in administrative hearings, but cannot represent
someone else in court. A paralegal must work under the direction of an
attorney. In the United States, business profession code §6450
prohibits paralegals from giving out legal advice. For more specific
information outside the United States, check you local jurisdiction for
rules and codes that may apply.


How to become a paralegal?



A person interested in receiving a paralegal certificate can
contact the Extension Studies of their local university. Other options
include programs offered at a community college or online training. It
is preferable that the Bar Association in your jurisdiction approves
the training program. Contact you local Bar Association for more
information.

Can I receive online training to become a paralegal?

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Yes, you can receive online training. It is imperative, though, that
the instructors are fully licensed legal professionals. At the very
least the director of any online paralegal training program should be a
licensed and practicing attorney. This will help assure that your
paralegal career starts with training that includes the most up to date
information in regards to the ever-changing legal system. Ideally, you
will have a chance to interact with fellow students and instructors via
a blackboard system over the Internet.

How long does it take to become a paralegal?

On average it takes about 1-2 years to obtain a paralegal certificate.
A person interested in obtaining a degree in paralegal studies will
need to contact their university of choice for specific requirements
regarding admittance and graduation. A degree in paralegal studies can
take 4-5 years to complete.

Do I need an ABA Approved Certificate to be a paralegal?

While having a paralegal certificate is not required to enter a
paralegal career, it is highly desirable. Most law firms will not hire
an applicant without a paralegal certificate. For one thing, it shows a
certain level of expertise. Secondly, it shows a commitment to pursuing
a career in the legal field. An exception to having a paralegal
certificate is if you were grandfathered in. Basically, that means that
you were assisting an attorney in the same manner a paralegal does for
a certain number of years, prior to the rule was established requiring
a paralegal certificate. For more information contact your local Bar
Association.

Where can a paralegal find work after receiving the paralegal certificate?

Paralegal careers can consist of work in both the private and public
sector. While most paralegals work for private firms, many corporations
and government agencies have a legal department. Many paralegals prefer
to work for corporations and government agencies because they do not
have to worry about keeping track of their time for billing purposes.
Most private law firms require that paralegals track their time so that
clients are billed for their work. The income potential for paralegals
varies by region, years of experience and the type of law. For the most
part, Intellectual Property paralegals are paid the most.

And last but not least, some paralegals freelance. They are able to do
this as long as they are working under the direction of a licensed and
practicing attorney

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One Response to How To Become A Paralegal

  1. Pingback: Top 15 Highest Paying Jobs with an Associate Degree | Instant Career Advice

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