Are you interested in becoming a paralegal but still determining if you want a formal education first? There are many benefits to attending a Paralegal Studies program. First, let us look at how to become a paralegal.
How Do You Become a Paralegal?
Although some paralegals start as legal secretaries and move up the career ladder, with some experience, you can jump to the top of the line by completing an Associate of Arts degree in Paralegal Studies. In as little as two years, Florida National University will provide you with the foundational skills needed to begin working at a law firm as a paralegal and then provide you with life-long career services after graduation.
What Do You Learn During a Paralegal Studies Program?
In addition to general education courses and an elective course, you will master the foundational skills needed to succeed in the legal profession by completing the following classes:
Introduction to the Law
This course introduces the study of the law, the legal system’s organization, and a paralegal’s role. During this course, you learn about the law, its classification, and the steps in the litigation process. You also review contracts, torts, real property, constitution, and criminal law.
Legal Research and Writing I and II
A two-part course that introduces you to legal research techniques and legal terminology, including problem analysis, resource materials, research techniques, presentation of research, writing memoranda, and writing legal briefs.
Introduction to Civil Procedure
An introduction to civil lawsuits, pleading, and the most commonly used motions in court. The curriculum will help you assist trial attorneys in preparing for civil litigation.
Introduction to Torts
An introduction to the laws of negligence, intentional wrongs, slander and libel, product liability, strict liability, and other private wrongs. You also learn about theories governing tort law, systems and procedures used in tort cases, trial procedures, and appeal processes.
Professional Ethics and Liability
A course that allows you to examine and evaluate the ethical obligations and responsibilities of being a paralegal. You gain a basic understanding of ethical and legal conduct, the importance of ethics to the law, and the ethics and rules governing the law.
What are the Benefits of Attending a Paralegal Studies Program?
In the ever-evolving landscape of legal careers, the path to becoming a paralegal is straightforward but offers diverse entry points. While it’s true that one can become a paralegal without a formal degree, the benefits of pursuing a formal education in paralegal studies are substantial. They can significantly enhance your career prospects and capabilities.
Benefit #1: Competitive Advantage / Qualify for NALA CP Certification
Opting for a formal education in paralegal studies provides a competitive edge in a job market that values expertise and specialized knowledge. In a field where precision is paramount, employers often prioritize candidates with a solid educational foundation. A degree showcases your commitment to the profession and signals to potential employers that you have the skills to excel. In addition, an Associate of Arts degree may qualify for the National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Paralegal Examination (confirm current NALA eligibility criteria)
Benefit #2: Upward Professional Mobility
An Associate of Arts degree not only prepares you to meet employer expectations upon graduation but also opens the door to upper-level educational opportunities, like a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies, which can then lead to law school admissions in pursuit of a juris doctorate degree or graduate school for a master’s degree. The Associate of Arts is a springboard to unlimited opportunities.
Benefit #3: Comprehensive Knowledge
Formal education equips you with a comprehensive understanding of the legal system, its intricacies, and the ethical considerations that guide it. A structured curriculum covers various legal areas, exposing you to civil and criminal law. This knowledge empowers you to make an informed decision about your specialization while fostering a holistic understanding of the legal landscape.
Benefit #4: Choosing a Specialization
As you delve into the diverse facets of civil and criminal law during your education, you gain insights to make an informed decision about your specialization. Your exposure to the nuances of each area allows you to align your strengths and interests with the path that resonates most with you, setting the stage for a fulfilling and purpose-driven career.
Benefit #5: Increasing Responsibility
With the expense of employing attorneys, many law firms use paralegals to take on tasks that attorneys once completed. As a paralegal, you can conduct case research, interview witnesses, and prepare cases for trial. Attorneys rely on paralegals to support the legal team with substantive legal work. This work requires knowledge of legal concepts, and paralegals with a formal degree will be prepared to take on this additional responsibility.
Benefit #6: Intellectual Stimulation
In addition to clerical work, many paralegals engage in high-level legal functions. Paralegals must stay current on changing laws and procedures, with continuous learning paramount.
Benefit #7: Opportunity to Make a Difference
If you want to make a difference in the lives of others, becoming a paralegal is an excellent way to help. For example, winning a court case may mean a parent gets custody of a child. Paralegals help those in need, and this role can be rewarding.
Benefit #8: Fast-Paced Schedule
As a paralegal, you will work on tight deadlines to prepare for hearings and court dates. There is never a dull moment, but this helps keep you engaged in your job. If you like working in a fast-paced environment, becoming a paralegal is your right career path.
Benefit #9: Value of Lifelong Career Services
Florida National University’s career services guide job searches, resume building, and interview preparation, giving you a head start in the competitive job market.
Benefit #10: Personalized Instruction
Florida National University’s Paralegal & Legal Studies Faculty provides instruction that is personally designed to streamline your mastery of the foundational skills needed to succeed in the legal profession.
Opting for a structured education in paralegal studies offers substantial benefits that extend far beyond the classroom. With a degree, you position yourself for a successful and rewarding career by gaining a competitive advantage, comprehensive legal knowledge, and practical experience. As you reflect on your journey into the legal field, remember that your choice today can shape your trajectory for years to come.
Want to Learn More?
This Paralegal Studies program has been designed for those students seeking a career in law. Students will take courses that survey the American legal system and courses in communication, humanities, behavioral science, mathematics, natural science, and computers. After graduation, Florida National University will award an Associate of Arts in Paralegal to those students who complete the necessary requirements.
Contact us today to learn more about our Paralegal Studies program.