Steps on How to Become a Paralegal
This article is going to take the attention of the individuals who want to know how to become a paralegal. But before anything else, let us first tackle on the basics and start off by simply giving the meaning of what the word paralegal is. This is very important if one wants to have the knowledge on the steps on how to become a paralegal.
How To Become a Paralegal – What is a Paralegal?
If you want to find out how to become a paralegal, you are expected to know what a paralegal is. Basically, a paralegal assumes a very vital role in the law firm or office. A paralegal is a legal assistant or a person often employed by the law agencies and given the responsibility to do research, investigations or do the behind-the-scenes work to back up a lawyer’s efforts. Those who want to know how to become a paralegal are expected or required to have the knowledge on the basic procedures and methods which are all related to legal practices. However, as what most of us know, there are also some limitations and restrictions to what these paralegals are capable of doing.
Those interested of studying or training on how to become a paralegal must know that there are certain universities that offer 16 weeks of education/courses in paralegal studies. Meaning to say, it is very much possible that you become an official or certified paralegal in a short span of 16 weeks or even lesser through the completion of a certificate program on how to become a paralegal. However, it is imperative that it must come to your senses and knowing that not all universities or institutions are accredited by the American Bar Association. Thus, you must really filter out your choices in which among the institutions that offer courses on how to become a paralegal that you are going to take part of.
Furthermore, the work of a paralegal has also been in great connotation with assisting a lawyer. Knowing how to become a paralegal equates to the requirement of knowing that your primary role is to assist a lawyer in providing services to the clients. To tell you a fact about paralegals, they are increasingly taking a very important role in the effectiveness of the legal profession. This is because they increase the efficiency of the work that is carried out in any law offices. The only emphasis on the scope of a paralegal’s job is that they aren’t allowed to give actual legal counselling and advices. That is why if you want to know how to become a paralegal, you must also be equipped with the knowledge on the scope of responsibilities of a paralegal.
Training on How to Become a Paralegal
The question now here is how does one become a paralegal? Outlined below are some useful steps on how to become a paralegal.
- First of all, ask your high school guidance counsellor for any recommendations of institutions offering certificates and degrees on how to become a paralegal.
- Secure school catalogs and flyers and make sure that the paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association. However, there could be some that are not accredited by the said organization but can still be provided with work in the future. However, if the lawyers or law agencies you are eyeing on to be a part of require or prefer ABA-college programs, then you have no other choice but to learn how to become a paralegal on the approved paralegal learning centers or institutions.
- Then, you have to apply for a paralegal training program when you want to be practiced on how to become a paralegal. You will be required to hand in your high school diploma. Go over the course or prospectus of the curriculum offered and make sure that you are willing to commit your time and effort for that schedule. Also do check for programs on how to become a paralegal in your community or even over the internet, whichever you prefer.
- You may also want to decide if you want to train on how to become a paralegal for either 2 years or 4 years.
- Then you can choose what specific legal field of specialization you want if you are plan to work as a paralegal one of these days. Options may include real estate law, criminal law, corporate law, and patent and copyright law.
- It is imperative in training on how to become a paralegal that you become proficient in legal software programs and online computer research. You have to be aware that most of your time requires that you work in front of the computer monitor.
- Lastly, plan that you eventually become certified by NALA or National Association of Legal Assistants through CLA or the Certified Legal Assistant designation. Doing so will set you on track and put you on a faster career improvement.
How To Become a Paralegal – What does a Paralegal Do?
So basically, if you want to be trained on how to become a paralegal, you must be prepared to aid a lawyer in preparing for a case. As mentioned in the earlier part of this article, you will be tasked to research on materials in preparation for a case. Expect that you will also be asked to interview clients/witnesses on behalf of the lawyer. In addition to the researcher responsibility that comes with your practice on how to become a paralegal is to research on statuses and case laws that may happen to support that of your own. Last, but definitely not the least among the responsibilities that come in the practice of how to become a paralegal is helping record excerpts of interviews carried out on.
Learning how to become a paralegal may seem to be very challenging but it is definitely up to you to make that dream and ambition of yours happen. Step your best foot forward and venture on the field of the paralegal profession.