The professional certification of a paralegal is a voluntary process for granting recognition to an individual who has attained adequate education requirements and experience. Therefore, a certified paralegal is a person who has fully updated educational qualifications and experience, and is able to assist lawyers in different legal matters. A Certified Paralegal is also referred to as a Certified Legal Assistant, who works closely under lawyer’s supervision.
The certification process is carried out by non-government entity, comprising of a Certifying Board. This board comprises of highly experienced lawyers with advanced certification on legal matters. The certification process is highly honored by both legal professionals and the employers.
A certified paralegal has the ability to handle legal duties like any lawyer, but can’t participate as a legal adviser in any court trial. But in specific court cases, this rule may be overlooked due to various legal reasons and circumstances. However, a paralegal is not allowed to carry out a legal task that involves signing of documents on client’s behalf. Also, paralegals are not entitled to set or receive any legal fees.
How to become a Certified Paralegal
- A person looking to become a certified paralegal must consider the available credentialing bodies. There are different bodies from which an individual can obtain essential knowledge and specialty. Large legal firms are best suitable for a person who wants a career paralegal, since they offer mentoring and in-house training programs. The paralegal certification enables one to become a Certified Legal Assistant, who can work in large legal firms.
- It doesn’t matter in some cases, whether you begin as a file clerk or a receptionist in a legal firm. It’s even better in such positions that don’t involve any direct legal tasks, but you get the opportunity to enter into the ongoing training programs offered in the firms. The training will enable you to acquire knowledge and experience that is required for one to become a certified paralegal. These firms’ trainings administer examinations in the course of training lessons. Therefore, by identifying various credentialing bodies available will help you get paralegal certification.
- A paralegal Degree certificate is quite important for an individual to get into a large law firm, and start ongoing training programs. This is one of the eligible requirements one needs to qualify for certification examination. However, if a person holds a bachelor’s degree and at least one year experience from a legal firm can qualify to take the examination. It’s worth noting that attaining a degree through an approved program will add you an advantage since many law firms are likely to hire you.
- Gathering adequate information from several sources that are legitimate proves that you have gained knowledge about legal matters through various academic researches. It’s also similar to the education achievements that indicate your track record as a graduate student from a college or university. Education curriculum should indicate vital lessons in regard to law, such as English and Science classes. Legal specialty training should include legal writing and research, as well as, torts, probate, and contracts class topics.
Finally, professional paralegals that need to get higher ranking must pursue certification in their legal specialty of interest. Alongside certification, one must have paralegal degree through an approved program. The paralegal professional should also work in the field of professions to acquire more knowledge pertaining to law. There is much of paperwork and research that the certified paralegals perform. Therefore, lawyers are only engaged in relatively larger legal matters. Career paralegals can search for jobs in insurance firms, government agencies, and law firms.