|Paralegals are an integral part of any law office, corporation or government agency that must work with lawyers. Paralegals keep the paperwork under control by indexing, photocopying, and organizing documents. Paralegals may also help draft legal documents, conduct hearings, and interview witnesses. The work of a paralegal depends both on experience, additional educational specialization, and the environment in which the paralegal works.
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations recommends that most paralegals have a bachelorís degree. Although a survey indicated that only 50 percent of paralegals had a bachelorís degree in 2001, the four-year degree is quickly becoming an expected standard in this rapidly growing field.
Paralegal certificate programs are offered by most colleges and universities, as well as online. Before enrolling in any program, make sure the program is approved by the American Bar Association. Paralegal certificate programs typically require a bachelorís degree, strong critical thinking and communication skills, a secure understanding of law ethics, a legal vocabulary, experience in a law office, and the ability to conduct legal interviews and research. Some programs also require a minimum college GPA.
Paralegal certificate program participants can choose a variety of classes, such as management, public administration, policy-making, ethics and public responsibility, interviewing and research techniques, writing, and introductions to criminal, commercial and government law and litigation. The courses may also provide the foundation for a bachelor of arts degree in justice.
Though California is currently the only state to have educational requirements for paralegals, many employers require similar standards, including certification. Paralegal certification may be granted by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), by examination, and by the NFPA, by examination. Both of these programs require educational requirements to take the examination, which is why a paralegal certificate program may help a paralegal become certified. NALA has different combinations of education and experience to qualify for the test, and NFPA requires bachelorís degree with at least two years paralegal experience.
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Paralegals Info provides detailed information about paralegal jobs, schools, training, courses, certificates, and services. Paralegals Info is the sister site of Notary Public Web.
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