What Does It Take to Become A Paralegal?

Criminal Justice Articles

What Does It Take to Become A Paralegal?

A paralegal plays a very important role in the justice system. Paralegals assist attorneys and judges with the various ins and outs of court cases. They must have a good understanding of legal terminology and be aware of the basics of new laws, both state and federal. It's important for paralegals to communicate effectively and take dictation. They deal with people from all walks of life on a daily basis, including jury members, clients, witnesses, judges, and more. A paralegal needs to be accurate; they are responsible for compiling and filing reports for the attorney's case files and scheduling meetings.

There are many different paralegal programs available. It is a good idea to make sure the program one chooses is certified by the ABA (American Bar Association) and lawyers know it is legitimate. Some programs are only two years long, while others last for four years, much like a traditional college degree. The courses can be found at local community colleges or universities, or online through e-courses. It's a good idea for potential paralegals to shop around for various programs and look into the testimonials of others to make the best informed decision.

Sometimes, it's necessary to perform internships and work without pay, even after school courses have been completed and certification has been granted. Many attorneys prefer that paralegals have on the job training and experience before they will hire someone full time. Do not forget that there are many different sectors of law, so determining which type of law you'd like to be involved in is very important. For example, one might prefer real estate law over criminal law. This distinction is very important since it will determine whom you choose for an employer later on.

There are many different legal research and law related software programs. Find out what is available and look into learning its operations before venturing out into the world of paralegal practice. Remember it takes some time to become a full time paralegal and one must show perseverance and have thick skin. Make sure all bases are covered when it comes to required practices, classes, and certifications, and remember that each state has different guidelines. With hard work and patience, paralegals will find a rewarding and dynamic career that allows them to explore their love of the legal justice system.

Schools OfferingParalegal Courses: