Perhaps one of the most common questions that people ask a paralegal is why they chose to be a paralegal instead of a lawyer. There are literally hundreds of answers to this question. Not only is law school incredibly expensive, but it takes years to successfully complete. On the other hand, to work as a paralegal, you only need to attend a fraction of schooling and the initial investment is far more affordable.
If you’re interested in becoming a paralegal, and wish to truly succeed regardless of the specialization you choose to take part in, there are several tips that will help ensure your success. Of course, true success can’t be delivered in handful of tips. However, these pieces of advice can help steer your career toward a positive a successful direction.
Tip #1 – Understand What’s Expected Of You
The quickest way to fail at becoming a paralegal is to be unaware of what’s expected of you. When you’re first starting out, you obviously need a solid resume. However, there is so much more than that. You need to ensure you have excellent communication skills and above-average interpersonal skills. You should be aware that your days will be a mixture of administrative tasks and other deep-level research and communication tasks. You should hold a solid understanding of the legal regulations that pertain to what job functions you’re legally allowed to do and always be prepared for an unexpected shift in your day.
Tip #2 – Attend a Solid School
While there are no strict educational requirements to begin working as a paralegal within the Untied States, there are several suggestions that can make your career one filled with success. The first is obtaining at least an associate’s degree in legal studies. However, more and more professionals are finding that in order to compete within this highly competitive industry, they need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree with a certificate in paralegal studies. To obtain your certified paralegal certification credentials, it is at minimum required that you enroll in a paralegal certificate program, which typically takes nine to twelve months to complete. It’s important to ensure you enroll in a training institution that’s accredited by the American Bar Association. The ABA accredits both degree and certificate training programs.
Tip #3 – Always Engage In Continuing Education
The most successful paralegals are those who are constantly seeking out greater understanding of the legal industry. Whether you wish to change specializations or simply want to be at the forefront of knowledge, engaging in annual continuing education courses will help keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to changes within the industry as well as making yourself much more marketable to potential employers.