Paralegals, or legal assistants, can meet the requirements that lead to certification in this profession through on-the-job experience, applicable training, or by meeting educational guidelines. There are various schools that offer free on-line programs that include legal classes that are beneficial for those who are seeking to become paralegals. It is important that you verify that the free on-line program that you select can assist in preparing you for paralegal certification.
On-The-Job Paralegal Training
If you are currently employed by an attorney firm or you currently work in the legal field, then your past work experience or background might have already provided you with the necessary on-the-job training to aid you in becoming a certified paralegal. It is advisable that you inform the attorney(s) at the firm, where you are employed, that you are interested in receiving certification as a paralegal. The attorney(s) can instruct you regarding any additional training and/or experience that may be required. You might possibly be assigned a mentor to assist you in your quest to obtain your certification as a paralegal.
Free Legal Courses Offered On-Line
There are a number of schools, such as MIT, the University of California at Berkley, and University of Michigan, that offer free on-line legal courses so that those who are interested in pursuing the paralegal career can explore important legal terminology and conceptual ideas. These legal classes include subjects such as Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier, Intellectual Property and Information Law, Aims and the Limits of the Criminal Law, and Environmental Policy Perspectives, and Law and Society. These courses don’t provide college credits nor lead to a degree.
Also Education Portal provides free lesson transcripts to a legal course that can lead to college credit. Video instruction and self assessment exams are provided to ones who register for the course in exchange for a nominal fee.
Gaining Paralegal Certification
Paralegal or legal assistant certification is not mandatory. However the field is very competitive and employment opportunities are significantly higher for those who are willing to successfully prepare for certification. The rate of pay for a certified paralegal exceeds the wages for a legal assistant with no certification.
In order to become a certified paralegal, you must pass the paralegal certification examination. Once the certification has been obtained, it is vital to continue to meet the educational criteria necessary to keep the certification current.