How to Become a Certified Paralegal

Want To Know How To Become A Certified Paralegal? Follow These 5 Simple Steps

A paralegal is a person who works as a legal assistant to the lawyer or as an independent contractor for law firms. All over the world, paralegals have an essential position in a law office. They perform numerous duties that help lawyers and law firms search information for various legal processes and maintain a competitive edge by winning cases.

Paralegals aren’t allowed to try cases themselves, rather they assist lawyers during trials and participate in all legal processes that involve, performing research work, interviewing the witnesses, writing legal documents and creating agreements to resolve financial issues.

There are many areas of law in which you can specialize to become a paralegal. These areas include criminal law, family law, tax law and real estate. For becoming a paralegal to assist a lawyer or a law firm, you aren’t required to have some kind of special training or degree in the field of law, but it is better to have a degree or certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), which offers a status of a Certified Legal Assistant to the association’s members.

Process For Becoming A Successful Paralegal

The paralegal position is open for anyone who has specialized in litigation or who has acquired knowledge of the paralegal field. Some paralegals prefer to start their own business, while others work for consulting firms. Following are some steps that will help you become a successful paralegal:

1. Choose A Certification

The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) recommends that candidates who want to become a paralegal should attend a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) which includes a coursework of 60 hours. First, obtain a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in any subject. Then decide which program or certification you want to have as a paralegal. The ABA offers a wide variety of approved programs for you to choose from.

2. Specialize In A Particular Area

Although specialization isn’t required, it will help you later in your job search. You can specialize in areas such as real estate, criminal law and many others. Search for different specializations and their costs. Many colleges are now offering specializations in fields related to law.

3. Improve Your Research And Technical Skills

Learn various computer programs such as word processing, file management, etc and work on your research skills. Get familiar with the latest computer programs lawyers are using and conduct training sessions to teach these programs to other paralegals. Moreover, you need to become familiar with the cataloging system for law libraries and how to use online databases and access various other resources. You also need to improve your typing skills in order to type clear, legal documents.

4. Learn New Techniques

To become a successful paralegal, you should also learn various paralegal management techniques. These can include collaborating with other paralegals having specialization in the same case subject. You can also employ your skills by volunteering with government or corporate agencies. You can also write articles for paralegal magazines that explains your understanding in a particular field of law. Practice determining client’s needs and study all stages of project management.

5. Send Your Resume

Before sending out your resume, remember to add your experience and qualifications. Follow up and contact law firms in which you’re interested to work. If you want to work as an independent paralegal on a limited-term contract, then make sure that lawyers in your area know that you’re available.

About the author: Brendon Taylor is a content marketing specialist at coursework point , a leading academic consultancy service in the UK. He also contribute to education blogs as a freelance writer.

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