Paralegal - Legal Secretary FAQ
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Legal Career FAQ's - Paralegal and Legal Secretary Career College Course Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently and Specifically asked questions about high paying Legal Career Courses:

Read on, take your time and take some notes as your legal career questions should be answered here and more, giving you a full overview of important career decisions. If you have a question that is not listed here please let us know and we will consider including it.

Q: It seems like Legal Field Careers and THORNHILL Educational Systems are providing some very useful Articles and Advanced Tips on becoming a Paralegal and Legal Secretary with success at both LA Valley College and Santa Monica College, but is there a place on your site like a bulletin board that features Job Openings for either graduates or Interns?

A: Yes, we're always looking for new and valuable resources to offer. This is something we started offering last year. In case you're new to the LFC site stop by frequently and check in with the Employer Staff Resources Section found in that link. We never know when a New Opening is available, but we always update the New Listings when they become available. To get a sample of some of the latest and older listings just click on the Employer Staff Resources Navigation Link that will take you directly to that section.

Q: Will completing my paralegal education be of benefit if I decide to go to law school?

A: This is a question we have addressed a couple times in one form or another on the LFC site and we're addressing it here again in a slightly different angle because it is a popular question and bears extra attention.

The Answer - Yes, it certainly is. When you graduate from our Paralegal Academy and either right away or later on, enroll in as new law school student, you will most certainly have an edge on both the students who “don’t have a clue” about legal research, procedure, contracts, etc and the 'routine' of what it takes to understand many aspects of what you're about to learn in advance. You will find that a lot of the basic elements of law and theories you have learned will be repeating themselves in law school. But a side effect of having completed your PL Course at THORNHILL Educational System’s LFC courses is that you will find that you have actually acquired 'Extra' skills that won't be covered in law school whatsoever. As we state in many of our advanced articles, extra skills mean extra resources.

Q: The Reviews on the LFC site show great comments from graduates and students for your Paralegal and Legal Secretary as well as your Human Resource courses do you offer any additional Sources and Tips for enhancing a career in these fields?

A: Absolutely, check out our growing number of Articles and Creative Tips on our Home Page. Not only will youl find our Articles mind boosters to enahnce your thinking while taking our courses, but you'll also discover some very valuable creative tips you probably have never considered or even heard of to help you build your new career in a most exciting, creative and profitable way. Just Scroll down to the New Articles Career Boosting Tips From Legal Field Careers

Q: If you eventually want to get your law degree but can't afford it now, can a Paralegal course from Legal Field Careers help in supporting or achieving this later on?

A: While financially it may not, there are some positive aspects that can be very advantageous; A) You can transfer your Paralegal Credits towards a four year undergraduate degree at certain institutions.

B: You can work as a Paralegal, earning good money, while getting ready for law school.

C: Although, in most cases, you cannot work during your first year of law school, after that you can continue to work as a Paralegal and earn good money, even if you reduce your work time hours.

Q: The term Legal Assistant keeps popping up all over, what is the difference between Paralegal and Legal Assistant or is it one and the same?

A: It can be. Different offices refer to Paralegals differently, however, in most cases a Paralegal is just that and a Legal Assistant is a Legal Secretary. A Legal Secretary does not meet the qualifications of a Paralegal.

Q: Without any guarantees, can you give an approximate/average time it has normally taken for graduates of the Legal Field Careers Paralegal course to secure a job?

A: We do not have the manpower to keep records on this issue. We can tell you however, that our happy phone calls from graduates are numerous and I highly recommend you visit our Reviews Section on the LegalFieldCareers.com site.

Q: Are there other employment opportunities, other business categories, etc., for a Paralegal other than law firms?

A: Absolutely; corporations, government agencies, insurance companies, escrow companies, real estate firms, banks, etc., just to name a few.

Q: What opportunities are there for a Paralegal to actually go into business for themselves as opposed to seeking employment at a firm?

A: One such business is that of being a legal document preparer. This can be a most lucrative field as many would rather pay for assistance on filing documents rather than hiring an attorney. The Document Preparer actually assists you with filing various documents and presenting the appropriate paper work to the courts, although there are certain restrictions and bonding requirements. You can also work part time as a Paralegal or work independent and work for several attorneys that bring the work to you and you work as an Independent Contractor.

Q: If you complete your Paralegal course from LAVC in California, do these credentials/credits carry with you if you should move to another state, or would you have to start all over again?
Example: For lawyers, they would have to take a test and pass a bar exam for the state they are moving to in order to practice law, or associate with another lawyer in that state.

A: Every state is different and you would have to check with the laws of that state to be able to make an informed decision. Our program does teach both California and some Federal laws.

Q: Are there any Payment Plans that would help me pay for the Paralegal Program?

A: Yes, we have a plan that really lowers the monthly payment so it is very affordable. Call us and we will go over the available plans and we will work hard to get you in our program.

Q: Are the Extension Classes, such as Paralegal, Professional Credential Classes’?

A: Yes, upon successful completion of the program and meeting all your obligations of the program, you will receive an Affidavit of Completion. The Professional Paralegal Academy, through our Program, exceeds the mandate for paralegal educational requirements. The California Business and Professions Code section 6450 sets forth stringent requirements for certification of Paralegals. Our program not only meets but also surpasses the requirements for the ‘Professional Credential’. No one offers a better or more comprehensive program.

Q: Is attendance important?

A: Some classes do not give formal tests but are graded on PARTICIPATION ONLY so your
ATTENDANCE is vital. This method of grading is at the discretion of the instructor.
With those classes you cannot make up a failing grade. Remember, failing key modules or multiple modules will keep you from graduating. Each class is a building block. Part of your learning process is learned analysis; it’s not easy and it is a process that is based on regular attendance. Be timely and come to every class.

Q: Do I already have to know a lot about the law to join this class?

A: No, our program works on a building block approach. We will not only teach you all the material, we teach you the thinking process of the legal mind so you can be a true aid to the law firm for which you work. We teach the program from the ground up. You will also go through the entire program with the same group of students with which you started and you will learn as a group. We have been very successful with this concept and will continue this method of teaching.

Q: Can I specialize in a particular area of the law as a Paralegal?

You will find that Paralegals work includes a very wide range of industries - both with law firms and with private sector businesses. The areas of Specialities can be vast with everything from Product Liability, Family Law and Trusts, Medical Malpractice, Constitutional Law and Entertainment Law to highly sophisticated areas such as Maritime Law. Often the first job you get and accumulate experience with is the area you may become most comfortable. You can always look for a job in the area of law that most appeals to you and focus on your preferred field. You can also look for internships within the sector of interest so that you will be more prepared when you target a job in that specific area. Sometimes you get lucky and things happen quickly, other times things happen at their own pace.

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Q: I heard that there is a Practicum aspect of Paralegal Program, what is Practicum?

This is an end of term project that is a practical aspect of your training. Practicum is also a graduation requirement. The purpose of the Practicum is for you to apply all that you have learned into a final product. You will find this the most exciting and rewarding section of your program because it enables you to obtain “hands on” experience. Practicum is approximately 85 hours, of which approximately 15-20 hours is conducted in the classroom with an instructor. Practicum also serves as key piece of material to add to your portfolio and bring to job interviews. It often becomes a significant factor in the hiring process.

Q: What does the future hold for Paralegals?

A: Experts and the governmental statistics agree that Paralegal is a high rewarding profession. The coming years will probably have more career opportunities for Paralegals than Attorneys. The latest job search of the top 200 jobs in the country ranked Paralegal 17th while Lawyers were ranked 82nd.

Nationwide, there are more than 225,000 Paralegals working today in the private and public legal sectors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Paralegal jobs are projected to “grow much faster” than the average for all occupations through 2014. That’s a growth rate of 27% or more a year!

Q: What’s the difference between a Legal Secretary and a Paralegal?

A: While both professions are task oriented legal positions, they differ in the scope of their service. A Legal Secretary reproduces work product and a Paralegal can compose the work and assist with legal analysis, research and writing. The Paralegal drafts various types of legal documents, researches cases and can help an attorney prepare and organize information for trial. Paralegals have a much wider scope of duties and are generally considered more valuable to law offices.

It must be noted, that while a Paralegal cannot practice law or give legal advice, Paralegals can gather factual information about a client’s situation.

Q: Can a Paralegal work as a Legal Secretary?

A) Yes, a Paralegal is above a Legal Secretary in the hierarchy of a law office. Paralegals work closer with the attorney and are usually a more integral part of the law office.

Q: Should one become a Legal Secretary first and then seek to become a Paralegal?

A: Often, becoming a Legal Secretary is a first step before going on to become a Paralegal, but it is far from required. If you go through our Paralegal program there is no need to become a Legal Secretary, first before going on to become a Paralegal. We will walk you through it so you don’t have to duplicate your education.

Q: Will I have the education I need from this program?

A: Yes, with our Paralegal Program you will be a Paralegal qualified through education and training to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts, evaluation, organization, analysis and communication of relevant facts.

Q: I have heard the term ABA, is this program ABA?

A: It isn’t, and you may not want it to be. Don’t be misguided by the emphasis others give it. Our program surpasses and gives a wider range of learning than any other program. I believe you should find the paralegal school that works for you and your particular needs. The education that fits into your lifestyle and your budget is something that only you can determine. You should find the best program for you, and not be swayed by what you hear from others, who really have little knowledge on the subject. Decide what you really need and where you want to attend to get you where you want to go.

Nationwide, there are a large number of paralegal programs that meet the ABA standards but do not pursue ABA approval because of the costs associated with the process. There is a significant fee to join ABA. Remember that all costs are passed down to students through higher tuition.

Q: What Our Paralegal Students Learn?

A: The curriculum is designed to teach the student both substantive knowledge and practical application skills in paralegal studies. Competency-based learning includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Drafting and constructing legal documents

  • A thorough understanding of the litigation process

  • An understanding of the California Civil Code and California Code of Civil Procedure

  • Basic legal research

  • Memorandum and legal brief writing skills

  • Calendaring and legal document management and file organization

  • Client intake and evaluation

  • Legal analysis, and critical thinking

Our Program offers between 30-34 different legal subjects – what we call modules.

Q: What do Paralegals do?

A: National surveys indicate the following duties most common among this profession:

Conduct client interviews and intake

Perform manual and online legal research

Investigate facts and background checks

Draft legal documents, correspondence and pleadings

Manage litigation-related calendars (pre, trial and post trial)

Attend and summarize depositions, court hearings, trials and/or administrative hearings

Coordinate and facilitate tasks with legal vendors, court personnel and other attorneys

Conduct communication with clients and legal team members/colleagues

Perform administrative duties associated with client caseloads

Applying computer proficiencies in terms of word processing, database and software systems


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