Real World Benefits of an ABA-Approved Paralegal Educational Program

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Perhaps one of the most dynamic, and in-demand, careers within the legal industry is the realm of paralegals. Because of this, there has been a massive increase in the number of schools which offer a paralegal training program. While this is excellent when it comes to allowing a higher number of students to undertake such training, whenever there’s an increase of interest within a particular industry, there’s always a proliferation of under-qualified – or scam – schools.

If you’re searching for a paralegal training program that will not only provide you with the highest-quality education but also an education that will truly prepare you to enter this dynamic workforce, then you should consider a paralegal training program that’s been approved by the American Bar Association. While you may think these training programs are expensive – or have no real-world benefits – you couldn’t be more mistaken. Although there are many reasons as to why you should attend a paralegal training program that’s been approved by the American Bar Association, the following are a list of real-world benefits.

paralegal-curriculumAdvantage #1 – Current Curriculum

The legal industry – like many other industries – is constantly evolving. While the foundation of the United State legal system is solid, as our society evolves, so do the laws governing it. Because of this, it’s essential that your training program offer the latest information when it comes to dealing with law. When you enroll with a paralegal training program approved by the American Bar Association, you’re aligning with a program that’s proven itself to be on the cutting-edge of this industry. Because an ABA approval certificate is only good for seven years, training institutions must regularly re-apply. Therefore, the school must continually showcase its dedication to altering and evolving their curriculum and training practices as the legal and educational industry evolves. Paralegal certification online aba approved course options are often appealing to students with day jobs or other responsibilities that may infringe upon a traditional school schedule. If this sounds like you, then you may wish to consider an online certification option that is ABA approved.

Advantage #2 – Greater Chance of Employment

Due to the wide scope of educational offerings within the paralegal field, when you choose an American Bar Association approved training program, you’re obtaining a high-quality education. Although there are many elements that go into getting employment after graduation, the quality of your education is perhaps the most important. Due to the strict guidelines a training institution must meet to gain approval by the American Bar Association, you can rest assured that your training will allow you to be competitive within this demanding and highly-popular workforce.

Advantage #3 – Availability of Training

The American Bar Association approves a wide variety of training programs. Therefore, it’s easy to find an approved program regardless of where you live or the level of training you wish to achieve. The ABA has actively approved certificate programs, two-year associate degree programs as well as more advanced degree programs.

The Benefits of a Paralegal Internship

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Perhaps one of the most common questions asked by aspiring paralegals is whether or not they should undergo a paralegal internship. While your situation and career goals may be unique, the answer to this question is a universally – yes. Internships provide unique on-the-job training that is paramount to cultivate an effective paralegal. There are several elements within a paralegal’s job that makes an internship so important.

Benefits-of-a-Paralegal-InternshipWhen you’re in paralegal school, you’ll explore the various theoretical aspects of working as a paralegal as well as the legal industry as a whole. Such as legal terminology, research skills, communication skills and how you operate within the entire legal industry. However, until you’ve actually put this knowledge into action, you’re only seeing half the picture. When you have a paralegal internship, you literally begin to piece together your entire paralegal training, which allows you to then see the big picture.

Benefit #1 – Learning from Your Mistakes

Paralegal Certification Scoop offers some solid advice, stating that one of the most effective ways to sharpen your skills as a paralegal is to simply learn from your mistakes. When you engage in a paralegal internship program, you’re literally able to put into action what you’ve learned in school. Unfortunately, this also means learning from mistakes you’ll most likely make throughout the internship. You won’t get it right all of the time; however, you aren’t expected to. As an intern, your supervisors are prepared to witness you make wrong decisions and make mistakes throughout the course of the internship. However, this is the perfect place to do this. Through your mistakes, you’ll learn clarity and correction. Therefore, when you enter the workforce, you’ll be a well-rounded and fine-tuned paralegal capable of handling anything the job throws at you.

Benefit #2 – Working as a Team

When you’re in school, you’re primarily working solo. However, as a professional paralegal you’ll play an important role within a team environment. Therefore, you must learn how to operate and excel within the legal team. This is where your communication skills will be sharped. Paralegals are often required to work extremely long hours. Therefore, you must be able to learn how to maintain effective and clear communication – even when your brain and body are exhausted. Along with learning how to work as a team member, you’ll also be presented with a unique situation that’s only available to interns – networking. Once you’ve graduated your training program and are ready to hit the job market, the connections you’ve made during your internship could help lead to a job within the firm you interned at or within a similar law firm or office.

Tips for Creating the Best Paralegal Resume and Cover Letter

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There you are, searching for a job within the paralegal industry, when it happens. You locate the perfect job for you – so now what? Now comes the time to create your resume and cover letter. While the quality of your education and your previous work experience is of great importance, if you don’t know how to clearly convey this experience on your resume and cover letter, then you may never get a chance to interview. While there are literally thousands of tips when it comes to drafting an effective resume and cover letter, there are several tips you can follow to help streamline this process and ensure your information is clearly and accurately relayed.

resume draft

Tip #1 – Drafting Your Resume

An employer typically receives hundreds of resumes for a single position. So how do you branch out and get your noticed? The answer is relatively easy: be clear, succinct and accurate. As you write your resume, keep in mind what an employer is looking for when hiring a paralegal. They need a professional who is clearly organized, able to effectively communicate, and one that holds above-average analyzing skills. Write your resume so that these qualities in your experience and training are clearly detailed.

Tip #2 – Experience Section

When organizing your resume’s work experience section, it’s important to avoid using “fluff” words – or being too wordy. Make sure your information is clear and concise. If you use too many words, it won’t read well (and likely, the hiring manager won’t even read it). Structure your experience starting with your most recent employer and working your way back through time. Dates of employment are essential as are including quantifiable data. Use action words at the beginning of each bullet point. However, don’t become too overwhelmed by including a variety of details. Put only the most important words within the detail section and save your wordy explanations for the actual interview.

Tip #3 – Drafting Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is an incredible opportunity to showcase not only your writing skills, which is important for this position, but also your experience as it pertains to a specific job. Like your resume, make sure your cover letter is clear, concise and to the point. Tailor your cover letter for the job you’re applying for. Never use a “form” cover letter, as this is impersonal and may not clearly demonstrate your competencies as it relates to the job you wish to perform.

Source: https://www.roberthalf.com/legal/legal-jobs/career-center/resume-writing/what-is-the-best-resume-format-for-paralegals

What to Look for in a Non-ABA Approved Paralegal Program

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While one of the best decisions an aspiring paralegal can make when it comes to their training is to enroll in a program approved by the American Bar Association, this isn’t necessarily an option for many students. Although the American Bar Association has approved a vast array of paralegal training programs throughout the United States, there are many students are not geographically located near an ABA-approved program. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret. There are hundreds of training institutions which feature high-quality paralegal training. However, there are several elements you must keep in mind when selecting a non-ABA approved paralegal program.

Law-BooksWhen you’re searching for a paralegal training program, you should engage in your search in the same manner that the American Bar Association does when it’s approving a school. The majority of reputable training institutions are more than happy to answer all of your questions to help you make the best educational choice. While you may have your own unique set of questions, use the following as a tool to help guide you to the best training program for you.

Questions to Ask a Potential School

1.) What are the faculty qualifications? What professional experience does the paralegal department faculty have?

2.) What are the full course descriptions?

3.) What is the cost of the program? Nationally, paralegal certification cost can vary significantly. Be sure to weight your options as you look to select a paralegal school.

4.) What are the legal library facilities like? Do they offer the most current legal updates? Is the majority of this information in hard copy or digital format?

5.) What research tools does the school offer? Are tools such as LexisNexis and Westlaw easily available to students? Is there coursework designed to explain how to fully and efficiently utilize these research tools?

6.) What are the clearly defined goals of the paralegal program?

7.) What type of student services does the school offer for paralegal students? Is there readily available tutoring, job placement and career counseling services?

8.) Does the school easily connect students with internship programs? Are there volunteer programs designed for paralegal students? How does the school foster relationships with the local and national legal industry?

9.) What is the accreditation status of the school and the paralegal department? Is the school locally, statewide and federally accredited?

10.) What professional associations s the school a member of? How long has the school been a member with these organizations/associations?

11.) What are the current hiring statistics for recent paralegal study graduates?

12.) What is the full tuition for enrollment? Is there financial aid assistance for those who cannot fully afford the cost of training?

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