Choosing the Right Paralegal Courses

By: John Pawlett

Paralegals typically have a bachelor's degree to help them professionally assist lawyers or corporations and government agencies dealing with the law. Paralegals help lawyers navigate the large amounts of paperwork generated in legal proceedings by indexing, photocopying, and filing. Paralegals also may hold hearings or interview witnesses. A job as a paralegal may help a recent college graduate get into law school, it may help a professional make connections and gain experience to enter law, business, or government, or it may be a rewarding career in itself.

In 2001, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) estimated that 84 percent of paralegals had formal paralegal education beyond an associate's or bachelor's degree. Numerous courses exist to help paralegals advance their careers.

Before choosing any program, however, the NFPA urges paralegals to critically evaluate the program. Make certain the program is approved by the American Bar Association. The NFPA provides a list, for a small fee, of accredited paralegal training programs. Online directories can also help a paralegal find a program, either online or at a local college or university.

Many of these paralegal programs are also online. A quick search on the Internet reveals several online paralegal courses. Kaplan University, Keiser College, Saint Leo University, the University of Phoenix Online, and Berkeley College all offer online paralegal education programs. Online schools can lead to paralegal certificates, paralegal associate degrees, paralegal bachelor's degrees, or law certificates. Online courses let paralegals learn, for the most part, at their own pace.

Online introductory courses prepare a paralegal for the legal environment. More advanced studies allow paralegals to learn about management, or specialize in fields like civil litigation, criminal law, or business contracts. Online courses may also boost the career of an experienced paralegal who does not have a bachelor's degree.

Online courses allow paralegals to learn more and specialize, opening the door to more opportunities for advancement in this rapidly growing field.

Paralegals typically have a bachelor's degree to help them professionally assist lawyers or corporations and government agencies dealing with the law. Paralegals help lawyers navigate the large amounts of paperwork generated in legal proceedings by indexing, photocopying, and filing. Paralegals also may hold hearings or interview witnesses. A job as a paralegal may help a recent college graduate get into law school, it may help a professional make connections and gain experience to enter law, business, or government, or it may be a rewarding career in itself.

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