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Author Topic: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?  (Read 3613 times)

lawrookie

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Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« on: July 14, 2009, 02:59:17 PM »
I signed up for an online paralegal course to help prep me for lawschool, and to help me find work while in school as a paralegal if I need to. It isn't an ABA approved course though. Is this a big deal?

Denny Shore

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 06:24:50 PM »
I doubt it.
There is no license for paralegals.  Successfully completing coursework earns you a certificate.  Many working paralegals have no formal training, though the better paying positions may desire one.
I looked into paralegal courses as well and met with an advisor from my law school to see if it would help me in law school.  She told me that it *might* help with the writing courses, but not so much otherwise.
I'm certainly not going to discourage you from going through the coursework.  Just don't expect it to be the difference maker in law school.  It should help your writing skills and *maybe* your research skills, but paralegal work has little to do with substantive legal issues and more to do with composing documents/doing research an attorney might find irritating.
If you intend to get a certificate, go for it!  ABA be damned!

lawrookie

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2009, 12:39:00 AM »
Thanks. I saw that first year law students have to take torts and civil litigation which are part of the one at AU(the online school that I picked) so I figured it couldnt hurt. I honestly thought that there was at least some licensing requirment for paralegals though, but I guess not. Thanks for the update.

Ninja1

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2009, 06:10:35 AM »
When are you planning on heading to law school?
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

lawrookie

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2009, 11:26:42 AM »
not sure. Depends on what my own lsat results are in september.

Denny Shore

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2009, 01:42:33 PM »
http://www.bls.gov/k12/law05.htm

"HOW DO YOU GET READY?    Back to Top
There are several ways to become a paralegal. Most people go to a community college for a 2-year degree. A few schools offer bachelor's or master's degrees in paralegal studies. Some people become paralegals after getting a bachelorís degree in something other than paralegal studies.

Some people learn on the job. Sometimes, legal secretaries become paralegals.

Paralegals need good research and writing skills. They should also be able to use computers. Paralegals often deal with the public, so they should be polite. They also have to be honest and ethical.

To start getting ready for this job, students can take English classes to learn how to write and do research. Social studies classes teach about research and the law. People who want to be paralegals need strong reading skills."

It won't hurt to take the courses, as they will prepare you for complex legal research, legal writing, and get you more comfortable with legal terms and concepts.  Understand that while it isn't a bad thing to do, it won't give you any sort of monster advantage when law school comes around.  While some paralegals certainly believe they are just like lawyers, the truth is that they are more like legal secretaries who understand and are capable of document review, legal research, and basic legal writing.  Paralegals do a lot of briefing and memo creation under careful, direct supervision of attorneys.  As a current law clerk, I do a lot of paralegal type work and can tell you that it does help you understand research, terminology, and process.
Go for it!  Worst case scenario- you hate it and give up.  Best case scenario - you love it and it helps you in law school.  Mediocre case scenario - you decide you want to be a full time paralegal and find a career.  Being a paralegal at a bigger firm, you can earn $65k and up without having to spend $150k on a legal education.  I know a paralegal at a top firm in Chicago who works 50 hours a week and earns $120k a year with full benefits.  His bosses are always telling him to go to law school and he usually responds by pointing out that he doesn't think it's a good idea to quit a job that pays so well so he can spend $150k for the privilege of working 80-100 hours a week to earn the same (all for the possibility that he *might* earn more *if* he is given a partnership).  Being a paralegal can be a great job in the legal field without the high cost of admission that law students end up paying.  I know another paralegal who works like a consultant and he's made a great living working temporary jobs (he just told me that this year, a bad year, he netted around $50k working about 8 months out of the year - not bad).

lawrookie

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2009, 05:54:59 PM »
what is the difference between a paralegal and legal sercretary?

Ninja1

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2009, 06:56:32 PM »

There are several ways to become a paralegal. Most people go to a community college for a 2-year degree. A few schools offer bachelor's or master's degrees in paralegal studies. Some people become paralegals after getting a bachelorís degree in something other than paralegal studies.

...


BA or MA in paralegal... Why in the name of god...
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

Matthies

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2009, 08:03:44 PM »

There are several ways to become a paralegal. Most people go to a community college for a 2-year degree. A few schools offer bachelor's or master's degrees in paralegal studies. Some people become paralegals after getting a bachelorís degree in something other than paralegal studies.

...


BA or MA in paralegal... Why in the name of god...

yea why not just say JD in paralegal studies cuase in this economy that's about what it is
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Denny Shore

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Re: Do Paralegal courses need to be ABA approved?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2009, 06:51:11 PM »
what is the difference between a paralegal and legal sercretary?

A legal secretary and a paralegal have different responsibilities.  For example, a legal secretary does docketing and scheduling.  A paralegal will likely never be involved in such matters.

The legal secretary at my office works on expungements and basic motions with me (I usually do them, but when I'm not around, she does them all). 

Legal secretaries also answer phones, answer basic questions for clients, follow up on payments, bills, vendors, etc.

Legal secretaries are not paralegals and paralegals are not legal secretaries, though some of their functions and responsibilities may overlap.