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Paralegal Blog

Paralegal Career Change: From Texas Oil and Gas to Sunny California Tinseltown

Posted by Center for Advanced Legal Studies [CALS]

May 19, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Kelli.pngWhen I was laid off from the oil business for the second time in my 15-year career, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe I was out of work again. Ups and downs are normal for the energy sector, and Texans are used to it. But the 2014 oil bust in Houston was particularly harsh for me. What was supposed to last a year at most would never come back, at least not like it used to be in the boom days.

By 2015, I had nothing in savings and I needed to work. Because I was a contractor who worked on a project basis, the 2014 down cycle was harder on me because I was not eligible for a severance nor unemployment benefits. Losing my career was not only financially devastating, but emotionally devastating as well. Most of my adult life I had a title and a hefty paycheck, and my identity was tied up in my career. I lost my identity when I lost my job, and I had no choice but to start over. If I wanted to have a better life long term, I had to find a career that was stable and offered more security.

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Topics: paralegal certificate, graduates and alumni, career, featured

Paralegal Program Length: Is your paralegal program comprehensive enough?

Posted by Eric H. Happe

Nov 16, 2015 1:59:48 PM

Make sure the paralegal program contains at least 24 semester hours (38.4 CEUs) of skills-based paralegal training.

As a paralegal, you will work with attorneys who value higher education and have devoted a significant amount of time and expense to pursue a legal career. Your paralegal education will matter to them.

Is the program comprehensive enough to give you the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to work alongside an attorney? One way to make certain is to evaluate the program length to insure adequate attention is paid to critical subjects areas. Further, recognized authorities in paralegal education have established minimum standards regarding program length. The State of California requires “the successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization” as one criteria for a person to call themselves a paralegal.1

Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in the career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession.2

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Topics: paralegal certificate, paralegal degree, education and training, featured

The Importance of Accreditation

Posted by Eric H. Happe

Nov 12, 2015 3:12:13 PM

accredited.jpg

The first step to becoming a paralegal is to get your degree or certificate from an accredited institution.

What is accreditation? Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.1 Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency’s evaluation and that meet an agency’s criteria are then “accredited” by that agency.2

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Topics: online classes, paralegal certificate, credentials, education and training

Learn How Paralegals Gain Leverage With Good Interviewing Skills

Posted by Gail Armatys

Jan 16, 2014 1:32:00 PM

There is no doubt about it, attorneys often come to rely on their paralegals to conduct client interviews. In fact, most of the lists that outline the responsibilities of paralegals include 'conducting interviews'. The National Association of Legal Assistants - Paralegals and most other paralegal - related organizations place the following item at the top of their list:

  • Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with the client, so long as the client is aware of the status and function of the legal assistant, and the legal assistant works under the supervision of the attorney.  

Having good, solid interviewing skills and technique is important and can help you gain leverage whether you are just starting out as a paralegal or have legal experience.  The ability to interview clients is valuable enough that many campus and online paralegal programs include an Interviewing and Investigation course.

Here are a few basic interviewing tips that will help you as you prepare for and advance your paralegal career. 

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Topics: online classes, paralegal certificate, paralegal degree, career

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Paralegal Program

Posted by Gail Armatys

Jan 10, 2014 3:46:00 PM

There are specific reasons people choose to buy one product over another. 

Choosing a Paralegal Program

Selection criteria might be made based on size, color, texture, fit, cost, what your girlfriend said or what your mother prefers.

There is a lot to consider. If you are going to be pleased with your purchase you want to enjoy what the product provides and be happy with the benefits, service, and results.

Choosing where to receive your paralegal education is no different. Size of classes, depth and breadth of courses, tuition, class structure, graduate success, and employer satisfaction all play into making the right choice.

Here are 8 things to consider when choosing the right paralegal program.

1.  Specialization. Today, people understand the importance of specialization.  Probably foremost from experiences with the medical field.  A more recent move to specialization has taken place in law firms. It makes sense; focus on a specific area to gain more knowledge, ability, and success.

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Topics: online classes, paralegal certificate, paralegal degree

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