Paralegal Certification and the Paralegal Job
A paralegal’s job is crucial to a lawyer and paralegal certification provides a unique opportunity for paralegals to play a major role in the legal business.
If not for their assistance, lawyers will not be able to do their legal tasks efficiently, including making effective court appearances, meeting and giving advices to clients, etc.
For this reason, it is important that a paralegal is competent and to gain his supervisor’s trust. You may be wondering how a new paralegal will prove his competence and gain his supervisor’s trust when he has now work experience yet? There is where the benefits of a paralegal certification comes in.
Paralegals as Legal Assistants
Paralegals are expected to be skilled and knowledgeable of the basic laws almost in the same way as their boss does but they are not allowed to practice law since they are legal assistants. They are the ones working behind the scenes. However, this does not make paralegals inferior since the amount of help they give their lawyers should not be taken too lightly. And for paralegals, especially the new ones, to be able to prove that they are competent enough to do these is by having a paralegal certification.
Getting the Certification for Paralegals
If a paralegal wanted to be recognized by the best lawyers or by the top ten law firms and stipulate a higher wage which commensurate his skills, he will be patient enough to get a paralegal certification first.
While a paralegal certification is not required in most of the jurisdictions in the United States, it is best to acquire at least one. When you search for the best paralegal schools online, you will find a numerous schools promising to give the best paralegal certification programs. Your guide here is that a school’s paralegal certification program should be accredited by the American Bar Association. More often than not, one of the things employers will look for in an applicant is a paralegal certification from one of these accredited schools.
There are also voluntary paralegal certifications being offered. One of these is the Certified Paralegal (CP), granted by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). This is for paralegals who have acquired certain educational and legal work experience. A CP examination will be given to the applicant and a grade of at least 70% is required to pass this examination.
You may also get the Registered Paralegal (RP) certification from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Requirements for this certificate are paralegal studies associate’s degree and six years of work experience or a bachelor’s degree and three years of work experience.
So as you can see from above, there are many ways of getting a paralegal certification and adding value to your set of credentials. Competition among paralegals trying to get a job is getting tough and one way of getting through is by having a paralegal certification.
Paralegal certification is indeed inevitable in the legal world especially for the paralegals so if you are a paralegal and planning towards getting this credential, then you are heading towards the right direction to being a sought after paralegal professional.
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