Paralegal professionals have been ranked among the top jobs in the US according to US News. This area of legal education is gradually gaining popularity all across the country. Most often, legal careers are considered limited only to lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and attorneys. But a lot of work goes on backstage where the role of paralegals and assistants is highlighted. These are basically skilled individuals who help lawyers and other legal professionals with day to day tasks. From preparing trial documents to conducting legal research, paralegals provide a range of support services to lawyers.
Kaplan University Online
Liberty University Online
Keiser University Graduate School
Paralegal education has acquired a distinct position in academics. Students can pursue this area as a specialization and acquire a certification. There are a number of campus-based and online paralegal schools in the country that provide high quality paralegal education. From basic associate paralegal degrees to professional certificate programs, there are a number of course options one can choose from.
The main aim of a paralegal educational program is to provide students with the skill and necessary legal knowledge needed to become an assistant. There is more than one academic route towards becoming a paralegal. The coursework will depend upon which paralegal course you enroll in. However, the general objective of paralegal programs is the same. In the program, you will learn how to prepare trial papers, conduct legal researches, conduct office tasks, and also acquire familiarity with legal terminology. Some of the subjects that you may find in the curriculum have been listed below:
Paralegal contract law
Paralegal family law
State law procedures
Research and writing
You can pick a specific field of law to specialize in, depending upon your area of interest. Those looking forward to working in corporate law firms can opt for contract law/business law. On the other hand, those wanting to work in family law firms can pick family law as their main specialty area. Some of the leading law specialty areas that have gained popularity in recent years include intellectual property law, international business law, employment benefits law, real estate law, and accident law.
The curriculum will vary slightly from program to program and will also depend upon the institute offering the program. Before you enroll in any program, make sure you check the accreditation status of the institute. There are a number of accrediting agencies and associations that approve paralegal courses and paralegal schools online such as the American Bar Association. Apart from this, the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) is also a leading organization that provides paralegal certification programs and professional development programs.
With the skill and qualification, you can seek work in a law firm. You can start off with on-the-job training programs. Gaining familiarity with office settings will help you boost your professional skill set and income level. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median income of paralegals in 2010 has been reported to be $46,680. This career is expected to grow at a fast rate in the next few years.