What is a Paralegal Program?
Who better to ask about the duties of a paralegal than the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Assistants? They define a paralegal's job as "specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." What does that mean? It means that paralegals are expected to be familiar with the responsibilities and documents that a lawyer might use and be able to perform these tasks and fill out and file these documents as a lawyer needs them.
What courses can I expect to take in a paralegal program?
As a paralegal, you will be asked to research cases and perform management tasks for them, draft documents and create exhibits for trial as well as interview clients. A paralegal program prepares you to handle these tasks with ease. Some courses you can expect will cover topics such as:
Basic legal concepts
Overview of core areas of law
Drafting legal documents
Conducting independent non-legal research
Conducting legal research
Drafting legal memoranda
What jobs will I qualify for with a certificate or degree from a paralegal program?
Paralegal programs will train you specifically to work as a paralegal but you will find that a few specialty courses can make you a shoe-in for the environment or law office of your choice. Whether you work in the district attorney's office, a private law firm, a bank, corporation, hospital or government agency, your official job title may be any one of the following:
Legal administrative assistant
Depending on whether you choose a certificate or degree program and the specialty law courses you choose, you could start in any one of these positions immediately upon graduation, no certification exam required!