The Center for Legal Studies Blog

Online Paralegal Certification vs. Traditional School: What You Need to Know

Deciding between getting your paralegal certificate online or at a local school can be a little difficult. There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches, so read on to find out what they are. For your education as a paralegal, you have options, and two of the most popular ones are enrolling in a college campus near you or taking classes online. There’s always been a bit of a debate about which route is better and how they compare, although both result in you receiving education and some type of certification as a paralegal. The truth is that each approach has its own set of pros and cons, so the right option for you likely depends on your personal circumstances. Check out the benefits and drawbacks of each type of schooling shown below. National Paralegal College Offers bachelor’s and associates degrees May offer certificate programs Social interaction and people skills development Personal connection to professors Tangible student benefits, such as events and gym access Fewer distractions Instant credibility While the benefits of a traditional school can’t be denied, there are certainly some significant drawbacks. A traditional college is quite expensive, both financially and in terms of the time you spend commuting and trying to find parking. It’s also not very flexible at all, and you will essentially have to plan your work and personal life around your school schedule. This can become very difficult if you work or have children. Paralegal Certificate Online Offers certificates Receive certificate in less than 15 weeks Can be done anywhere No time wasted on commute Fast access to professors Get grades immediately Incredible flexibility As with traditional schooling, the benefits of an online certificate program can’t be denied. You can take your classes anywhere and make your course schedule work around your personal one. The drawbacks here vary depending on the program. Some programs don’t have the instant credibility that traditional schools have,... Read more

Being a Mediator: Helping People Resolve Disputes Without Coming to Blows

Lawyers present disputing parties with a more civilized way of exchanging blows. With the use of laws and loopholes, both sides try to outdo each other until one has exhausted all resources and surrenders. This kind of pragmatism is present in all legal proceedings everywhere, and though it’s hostile, it’s normal within legal circles. There is a more peaceful way, but in the desire to inflict damage to other people, some clients often forget they have choices. If you have always felt this way, the Center for Legal Studies offers you an opportunity to do good by your terms. We can help you become an official mediator through our ADR (alternative dispute resolution courses). Less Glamor, More Interaction Without titles, your job will be less prestigious than attorneys. But, at least, you have the comfort of knowing you can actually help people come to a decision without being toxic. You will learn how conflict escalates and how to arbritrate properly. You may not realize it now, but you will be an important presence to contending parties. It’s also one of the things you will learn at the Center for Legal Studies: techniques for ADR. Being a mediator sounds like you only have to be the voice of reason, but it’s more complicated than that. When people are fighting over property or rights, it’s never as simple as that. This only makes your education directly vital to your efficiency as a mediator. Avenues of Learning At the Center for Legal Studies, we recognize that not everyone who enrolls in our courses have time for traditional schooling. With that in mind, we make our ADR course available in three formats: online, DVD and text-only. This way, you can choose what’s most convenient and effective for you. We also encourage you to check our other offerings, most of which have something to do with legal careers. When it comes to your goal... Read more

Newly Certified? Here’s What Employers Want From You

As a newly certified paralegal, you’ve got the education you need to become a valuable part of firm, but what about your skills? Read on to discover what tools you need in your chest to land your first job. Being a new paralegal can be a little tough when it comes to employment because while you have the knowledge, you don’t yet have the experience. Certification is definitely a competitive advantage in the job pool because it signals to potential employers that you’ve received an education and are committed to the field, but prospective employers will want more from you. Read on to discover what else employers look for in newly certified paralegals so you can get yourself in the best position for a job before you even send out your resume. Many paralegals juggle multiple jobs and cases at once, and the attorneys completely depend on that work to be completed on time to do their own jobs. Therefore, the ability to prioritize tasks is an absolutely vital skill for a new paralegal to have and one that you may not have learned from your paralegal training, no matter how comprehensive it was. Think about how you prioritize and multitask in your life now. If there’s room for improvement, make the effort to get better at identifying task importance because you’ll need to bring this skill to the table to succeed as a paralegal. Clear Communication As a paralegal, you will be communicating with others on a daily basis. This could come in the form of speaking to clients and witnesses, contacting people for research, scheduling court appointments, and special tasks your attorneys need you to complete. Strong, clear verbal and written communication skills in these fields are simply a must, so work on getting yours as sharp as possible whenever you can. Technological Know-How Technology in general has become more prominent over the last decade in just... Read more

Two Big Things You Need to Know Before Getting Your Paralegal Certificate

Getting a paralegal certificate will involve hard work and some time and money on your part. Before you go down this road, here’s what you need to know first. Becoming a paralegal is an important personal step that is the start of a new career. Whether you’re planning on trying a local school or opting for the flexibility of paralegal schools online, it’s a serious time investment that could impact your entire life. Before you commit to a paralegal certificate program, here’s what you have to consider. What Will I Be Doing? That might seem like a silly question, but common knowledge of a paralegal’s job often comes from some inaccurate sources, such as movies, TV shows and other works of fiction. It’s vital to know what your daily job will really entail because you are looking at the long-term, even if you plan to become an attorney yourself in the future. In a general sense, a paralegal’s job is to make the lives of their attorneys easier, and the work you will be doing the most will depend on your supervising attorney’s needs. Duties include helping attorneys during trials, preparing trial notes and/or legal briefs, doing legal research, organizing the case files, and sometimes even handling witness and client interviews. Try some in-depth research of your own. Check out your local paralegal or legal professionals association; they will often have members available to talk to people who are interested in the position. Look for the experiences of paralegals in your area on social media and forums. What Do I Need to Develop? Getting a degree from a school or a certificate from paralegal certification programs will prepare you on the education side of things, but they are not full substitutes for experience. By working on the skills you need to develop beforehand and seeing the job in action, you’ll be more at ease when you start working as... Read more

Community-Based Legal Assistance: Alternative Careers for Paralegals

People with paralegal degrees usually eye for careers in law firms or government agencies. Many also aspire to become corporate paralegals. Although they could get valuable experiences and develop a multitude of skills in these sectors, paralegal graduates should also know that the community needs them. Stepping into NGO territory is a risky business, especially when we’re talking about justice, but it is definitely worthwhile. Doing paralegal or legal work for community-based and international NGO can also be a rewarding and unique experience. At the Center for Legal Studies, we provide our students with sufficient knowledge and a mindset to handle community-based causes and empower the less-privileged members of society. Advancing a Community-Based Cause Every community has its own challenges and problems. It can range from poverty to homelessness, from environmental concerns to discrimination against immigrants. Community-based non-governmental NGOs are a perfect place for paralegals because they share the same interests regarding the overall welfare of a community. Paralegals can provide legal assistance to NGOs in advancing a cause and planning the right actions. They can work in pleading for a temporary junction to prevent the building of a dam, for example. Paralegals can also provide valuable insight in improving policies that govern different sectors of a community. Paralegals who wish to work for bigger NGOs should learn more about international law so they can help facilitate projects in remote villages across the globe. For broad causes such as medical missions to warring countries, paralegals may assist NGO members and volunteers in acquiring proper paperwork for visas to allow them to enter refugee camps. Empowering Members of the Community Paralegals can provide assistance to different members of the community that are in need of affordable legal services such as immigrants who need help with filing legal papers related to their visas. Usually, NGOs would set up legal clinics for people who are not financially capable of hiring legal help.... Read more
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