How to Select a Paralegal Degree Program near Romney West Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Romney WV and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by looking for schools within commuting distance of their Romney homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be considered too. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you need to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are available to earn a paralegal certificate or degree.
West Virginia Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both hold the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Romney WV lawyers with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their daily tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for Romney WV attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career as a legal assistant is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at numerous Romney WV area community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in West Virginia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected certifying agencies in the field are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a degree or certificate from an accredited Romney WV area program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Degrees
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more available in Romney WV and can be an excellent alternative for students searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at Romney WV area junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other crucial issues to think about as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Romney WV law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the West Virginia legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since Romney WV employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other Romney WV legal operation while attending school. They can also provide a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Romney WV legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to choose a legal assistant school located in West Virginia or the state where you wish to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to build relationships in the area Romney WV legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you choose to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially look at those schools that are within your local area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help offset part of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Romney WV. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous legal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Romney WV, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you enroll in provides that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Select the Right Paralegal Program near Romney WV
Choosing the ideal paralegal degree program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Romney residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in numerous lengths and formats. Different types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you choose to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal education you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Romney WV.
More About Romney West Virginia
Romney, West Virginia
Romney is a city in and the county seat of Hampshire County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 1,940 at the 2000 census, while the area covered by the city's ZIP code had a population of 5,873. The population was 1,848 at the 2010 census.
Established by consecutive acts of the Virginia House of Burgesses and approved by the governor on December 23, 1762, Romney and Mecklenberg (later renamed Shepherdstown), in Jefferson County, are the oldest towns in West Virginia. The bill containing the Act for establishing the town of Romney, in the county of Hampshire, and for other purposes therein-mentioned, is listed 20th on a list of approved "publick and private bills" and is immediately followed by An Act for establishing the town of Mecklenburg, in the county of Frederick. 
Originally settled in 1725 by hunters and traders, Romney was known as Pearsall's Flats and was the site of the French and Indian War stockade Fort Pearsall. Named for the Cinque Ports town of Romney, Kent, England by Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, the town still bears place names and symbols from its colonial past such as its Marsham Street, named for Robert Marsham, 2nd Baron Romney. It is also home to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind and the nation's First Confederate Memorial in Indian Mound Cemetery.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally cold winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Romney has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
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Hampshire County Schools - Official Website
111 School Street. Romney, WV 26757. Jeffrey Pancione. Phone: (304) 822-3528. Fax: (304) 822-3540.
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Hampshire County Schools - Official Website
Physical Address: 45 School Street Romney, WV 26757. Phone: (304) 822-3018. Fax: (304) 822-4201
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Colleges in Romney, West Virginia and Colleges near Romney
There are 97 colleges within 100 miles of Romney. Located in West Virginia with a population of 1,848, the closest colleges are ranked by distance from Romney. The nearest college is Potomac State College of West Virginia University at a distance of 13.7 miles from Romney center. This directory is inclusive of nearby two and four year schools, both public and private.
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How to Find a Paralegal School near Romney West Virginia. Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Romney WV and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed.
Paralegal Certificates | How to Become a Paralegal Romney ...
How to Choose a Paralegal Program near Romney West Virginia. Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Romney WV and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to achieve success.