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Author Topic: Paralegal! Help!  (Read 4288 times)

CurlyLove143

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Paralegal! Help!
« on: August 19, 2004, 01:03:05 PM »
I want to be a paralegal .. I'm only in highschool(sophmore)
 Is there any classes i should take or do good in to become a paralegal?
& how many years in college would i need to go for?

Thanks for anyone who helps!


pepem

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Re: Paralegal! Help!
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2004, 02:32:50 PM »
there are several ways to be a paralegal.  you can get a two-year associates degree, or you can get a 6 month certificate I assume after you've taken some college, I assume an Associates in some other area.  You can also be like me and just get your bachelor's and hope a firm will hire and train you.  Technically I think that makes me a legal assistant, cause I don't have a certificate or degree, but depending on the firm you work for its the same thing.

If you don't get a specific paralegal course plan, make sure you take plenty of English, so you have good writing skills, and good computer skills.

jacy85

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Re: Paralegal! Help!
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2004, 09:52:07 AM »
Many firms require not only a BA (4 years of college) but also a paralegal certificate on top of that.

But as hoya Lawya said, sometimes you can find a firm taht will train you, but again you need a full college education.

I think many of the paralegal programs/associates degrees are hard to work with unless you get work experience prior to taking the course.  Many in those courses are legal secretaries or legal assistants that have been in the work force for at least a couple of years.  The WE is technically unnecessary, but it definitely helps.

If I were you, I would look around online and try to find a paralegal certification program in your area, and see what the requirements are so you know what you have to do in your last two years of school to get your ducks in a row.

M2

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Re: Paralegal! Help!
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2004, 01:45:49 AM »
I want to be a paralegal .. I'm only in highschool(sophmore)
 Is there any classes i should take or do good in to become a paralegal?
& how many years in college would i need to go for?

Thanks for anyone who helps!



Become a lawyer instead

akwolf

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Re: Paralegal! Help!
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2004, 02:02:23 AM »
I agree with the suggestion about becoming a lawyer. I am now a paralegal. I have a master's degree, and I am a certified (NALA) paralegal. If you become a seriously competent paralegal, you will be doing the work of an attorney for half the pay. The only reason attorneys make more money is because they are licensed to represent people. It's like a closed union shop -- the American Bar Association allows only so many people to represent others. Nevertheless, the demand for legal representation remains much higher than the supply of available attorneys. Hence, attorneys receive an unreasonably high salary. It sucks; it's America. You're better off spending an extra three years in any ABA-approved law school than working as a paralegal; at least, you will make more money. The only advantage to being a paralegal is that if you really screw-up badly somehow, the attorney you work for will take the rap instead of you. You will have a career to salvage and your attorney will not.

planejane

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Re: Paralegal! Help!
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2004, 09:47:51 PM »
The previous poster is right.  Go to law school.  I attend an ABA-approved bachelor's of science in paralegal studies degree completely online.  I will finish in six months.  I have been a paralegal in the past and it is worth going to law school the extra three years.  I ended up doing almost everything the attorney would supposed to do.  Why not get paid the extra bucks?  But for now, you may want to try an associates degree in paralegal studies just to see if this is the path you want to take.

Best of luck.

aryels

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Re: Paralegal! Help!
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2004, 03:32:06 PM »
Seriously, any high school students who want to be a paralegal should start by looking at the job ads. What do the lawyers want? A paralegal is likely to do the work of not only a paralegal, but also a legal assistant, legal secretary, and receptionist. Although the legal training does not happen until college, there are several high school courses which would provide a good headstart.

First, an excellent typist. A slowpoke like me (45 wpm) is not the first choice of a lawyer who needs someone to type legal documents. Eighty wpm is better, and some can type well over a 100 wpm. Some lawyers absolutely want a transcriptionist! Shorthand is not as popular as it was some years ago, but is a skill which some lawyers want their office assistants to have.

Second, business machines!  A 10 key machine might seem a little out of date, but many offices prefer someone who can operate one. Printers, copiers, fax machines, multi-line phone systems--some high schools allow students to work in the offices for practice. Proficiency with computer software programs, usually Microsoft, is important.

Third, paralegals answer phones, make presentations, greet clients, and sometimes represent their clients in court. Public speaking is a must.

Fourth, a lawyer's office also must consider accounts? Who will accept the fees, do payroll, pay bills, etc? Accounting is a preferred course, or some extra math courses, and some offices require knowledge of Quickbooks.

Fifth, a bi-lingual person has a definite advantage at any job. A foreign language is a big possibility.

Now, as I said, the legal training begins at college. If, after reading the previous posts, you should consider becoming a lawyer, be informed that getting accepted into law school requires a Bachelor's degree, letters of reference, good grades and an acceptable score on the LSAT. Good luck.
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