A paralegal is also known as a legal assistant. He or she performs legal work but under the close supervision of a qualified lawyer. Mostly, paralegals work in government offices, corporate legal departments and in law firms but they can also work anywhere that deals with regulations, legal documents and contracts. They perform all the tasks that a lawyer would do except actually practicing law.
Both lawyer and paralegals will prepare documents in preparation for a case, research cases and draft the contracts but only a fully qualified lawyer can provide courtroom counsel, advice clients legally and set the legal fee. A paralegal will only research and prepare documents that the lawyer relies on. There is no central body governing paralegals but each state has its own restriction.
There no any requirements set by law to becoming a paralegal. However, two major organizations; the national federation of paralegal association (NFPA) and the national association of legal assistant (NALA) voluntarily regulate paralegal. These two organizations give certification exams where passing the exams indicates that a certified paralegal meets the required standards of capability and education in legal matters.
The paralegal schools in Florida, the paralegal schools in California, the paralegal schools in New Jersey, the paralegal schools in Michigan, the paralegal schools in New York, the paralegal schools in Texas and the paralegal schools in Pennsylvania offer a bachelor’s degree, an associate, degree, a certificate in the different states. The programs provided are approved by American Bar Association.
Most of these schools offer online classes as well part time classes. You can enroll in the paralegal school of your choice by paying an enrollment or tuition fee that ranges from about 7000 dollars to 25000 every year but it depends on each state.
To be able to find schools that are accredited by ABA (American Bar Association) in the above states, Visit the official website of ABA for a list of the accredited paralegal colleges.