blog posts written by Legal Studies

Law School: Good Grades vs. Experience

What matters more—your law school GPA or work experience? This is what many law students and would-be law students often wonder about when it comes to getting a job in the legal industry. After all, law school life involves balancing mountains of paperwork and readings with other demands for your time. So which one should you prioritize? Are you better off going for a 1L, or spending your time getting a rounded CV and sacrifice your GPA? That will depend on some factors. Why Good Grades Matter At an early age, parents and teachers underscore the long-term benefits of getting good grades. “Study hard,” they say, and you won’t spend your life “flipping burgers” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). In law school, getting good grades is certainly important. There are certain jobs you can only land if you have excellent grades, such as Supreme Court clerkships, Big Law jobs, and other related government opportunities. But while academic achievement is certainly important, it’s not the be-all and the end-all of reaching that first huge step on the corporate ladder. Why Work Experience Matters, Too Grades will only get you so far, even if they’re excellent, and even if you get that rare 1L grade from a prestigious law school. You may get the highest grade on your exam in Property I—but lawyering is more than that. Practicing attorneys spend the majority of their day meeting with clients, talking to an opposing party in a particular case, and doing other things that do not involve studying for an exam or writing some legal analysis. So if your plan is to tread the path to becoming an attorney, go for experience. Depending on the specific industry you’re planning to go to, work experience can jump-start your career. You might get sent to court, or be given the reigns on a case. These things are skills you acquire not by highlighting... Read more

Contribute to a Firm as a Paralegal

Paralegals are often thought of as just support for lawyers, but what the job lacks in prestige, it makes up for with training and contributions to a firm or company that has a legal team. The job, after all, requires great determination, knowledge and practical understanding—characteristics that can also pave the way for a career as an attorney or consultant. The Contributions You Can Make as a Paralegal A paralegal is a sought after job in law firms, insurance companies, financial consultancy firms, hospitals or clinics and other similar industries. Job descriptions vary depending on the needs of an organization. Paralegals work directly under lawyers and acts as a legal administrative assistant. They draft legal documents, prepare retainers, interview prospective clients and file motions for their firms. If you work for litigation firms, you will likely spend hours researching cases. The type of job you will do in this profession will depend on the specialty of your chosen organization. If you choose to work in real estate, you will fill out paperwork on purchase disclosures and contracts to make sure that a transaction follows all the legalities in a state. Corporate paralegals who work in consulting or insurance firms must cross-reference claims to prevent fraud and research about different cases before recommending an approval or denial. Before acceptance in a job as a paralegal, you must share certain skills with lawyers, including great attention to detail, good organization skills, grace under pressure and understanding of the law and its applications. To prepare you in your chosen career, getting a certification gives you an advantage. With programs from institutions such as The Center for Legal Studies, you are a step closer to achieving your goals. The Center for Legal Studies: Become a Paralegal The Center for Legal Studies provides a variety of courses that prepare you for an integral role in any organization’s legal department. The programs we offer enable... Read more

It’s Not Just Paper Trails: Anchoring Your Law Firm’s Operation with IT Know-How

If you work for a law firm, whether as a lawyer, legal secretary or paralegal, you know that computers are cogs in your operation. There’s no way you can come back to doing it all on paper. The automation, easy access, and all-in-one record storage revolutionized the way law firms work. But you probably know best that legal professionals poured sweat and blood on studying laws, not if 16GB of RAM will make for a seamless experience. Nonetheless, you or one of your staff should learn more than to turn a computer on and off. Law firms operate on a different level now than before, when it used to be all paper. Most importantly, you’ll avoid a pitfall of using software: not utilizing its full potential. Learning What’s Necessary Here at The Center of Legal Studies, we provide hands-on exercises to enhance proficiency in a number of legal-related software. Software such as PowerPoint, Clio, TrialDirector and more are vital to keeping a law firm functioning properly. You must know that these computer programs were built with a lawyer’s needs in mind. In addition, if your firm invested on five programs and you still can’t address some operational issues, you may not be using it fully. None of these software may guarantee a win, but trial tech prepares you and your team better than just reading case studies. It’s the best kind of groundwork you can ask for as a legal professional, and nothing wins cases better than a well-rounded strategy. Near-Complete Coverage Our six-lesson curriculum will cover in-house functions such as timekeeping and billing, and litigation support and courthouse presentation. We are confident that you will approach your daily tasks and trials much better after taking our course. We also provide multitudes of legal courses for engineers, nurses, and potential paralegals. Contact us today for more... Read more

Solving Modern Day Harassment | The Center for Legal Studies

Workplace harassment is one of the trickiest cases a paralegal – or even a lawyer – can handle, as there are many gray areas in such cases. The most common problem is that victims often don’t know that they’re already being harassed and assume that the behavior is part of the office culture. Even if they do recognize the red flags, chances are good that they won’t report anyone in fear of stigmatization or job loss. Balancing Knowledge and Emotion Future paralegals need to learn that the courage it takes for a person just to report someone is significant, and they need all the support they can get. Paralegals will need preparation to handle the emotions that such victim may carry. These feelings may include the trauma of the harassment itself, the frustration at any doubt of the claim, not to mention the pressure resulting from legal action. For a paralegal, or any legal professional, to remain effective in emotional cases is to have the ability to balance technical knowledge of the law and human empathy. A client will never respect the advice of a paralegal who doesn’t look like they know what they’re doing. Likewise, a client won’t feel comfortable with a counsel that doesn’t seem to care about their struggle. The Real Solution to Harassment Both the victims and the perpetrators of harassment aren’t gender specific; this is a problem that men and women suffer through and perpetuate. The only way such behavior can change is if the perpetrators are taken to task for their actions. A successful injury claim of this nature will send out a message that aggressive behavior in the office – or any place for that matter – is unacceptable. The only way for that to happen is if more people know how to handle such cases properly and send the right message. You can become one of those people with the right... Read more

An Associate’s Degree: Your Path to a Better Paralegal Future

The best way to land a good job in the legal field as a legal assistant is simple: receive proper foundation through Legal Assistant training. Fortunately, you have endless options to choose from—which is a combination of good and bad news. Good, because you have choices; bad, because knowing which is the best can be challenging. As an aspiring paralegal, you want to receive the best training possible within an adequate timeframe. Yes, You Should Get an Associate’s Degree Before you become a certified legal assistant, you should take courses in paralegal studies. The associate’s degree is one of the most popular choices for students. When you take paralegal courses, you receive proper foundation in general education, as well as extensive training in legal courses. Your school will provide you with the right amount of training and educational background to develop your skills. You will also learn how to properly manage legal paperwork, conduct legal research, and keep track of all your deadlines. The Duration of a Legal Assistant Degree For most schools, a paralegal’s associate’s degree takes at least two years. Some programs allow you to complete the year earlier by taking summer courses. In other cases, the school requires the student to take an additional quarter. An associate’s degree in paralegal allows you to earn your bachelor’s degree in the future (if you wish to pursue it). In the meantime, you can still work as a legal assistant. The Cost of Legal Assistant Associate’s Degree The cost of these courses varies according to your school of choice. A number of ABA-approved paralegal programs sometimes offer tuition assistance programs to aid their students. Other schools also offer programs with evening classes to accommodate working students. An associate’s degree in paralegal studies is an economical and wise decision. Once you finish your basic paralegal courses, it only makes sense to take one of these. Here at Legal Studies, we... Read more
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