Paralegal careers in Virginia can be quite challenging; however, they can be extremely rewarding, as well.
It gives these professionals a terrific sense of accomplishment knowing that they have helped in such things as prosecuting criminals, settling wills, finalizing adoptions and protecting victims.
The best thing about choosing a paralegal career is that people can train in only one or two years and begin working.
There are many schools in Virginia that offer paralegal training, and the following facilities are some of most outstanding in the state.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Located in Richmond and accredited by the Commission on Colleges, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College offers a fascinating associate of applied science degree in paralegal studies with either a general practice or litigation emphasis. Those people, who would like to attend J. Sargeant, can phone the college’s main office at – 804-371-3000 or write to them at – Post Office Box 85622, Richmond, Virginia, 23285. They can also find the admissions requirements online at -http://www.jsr.vccs.edu.
Paralegal students, who choose the general practice track, will need to complete a variety of basic skills and law-specific courses to earn their associate degrees. The following courses are the basic skills requirements of the program – Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts, College Composition I and II, College Success Skills, Social/Behavioral Science elective, Oral Communication, Introduction to Mathematics, Personal Wellness elective, and a Humanities or Fine Arts elective.
The law-specific courses included in the program are as follows – Legal Research, Introduction to Law and the Legal Assistant, Legal Writing, Coordinated Internship, Real Estate Abstracting, Criminal Law, Family Law, Legal Aspects of Business Organizations, Ethics for the Legal Assistant, Information Systems for the Paralegal, Real Estate Settlement Practicum, Estate Planning and Probate, Bankruptcy, Virginia and Federal Procedure, and at least one additional Law-Related elective in the General Practice track.
Lord Fairfax Community College
Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown offers a wonderful certificate program in paralegal studies, accredited by the Commission on Colleges. People in the Middletown area, who would like to enroll within the program, can contact the college at – 540-868-7000, or they can write to the main office at – 173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, Virginia, 22645. They can also find the enrollment procedures online at – http://www.lfcc.edu.
For students to earn their paralegal certificates from Lord Fairfax, they must complete a variety of general education and law-oriented classes. The general education classes include Spanish I and II, College Composition I, and College Success Skills or Orientation to IT Professions.
The law-oriented classes required in the program are as follows – Business Law I and II, Law Office Administration and Management, Trial Preparation and Discovery Practice, Criminal Law, Legal Aspects of Business Organizations, Estate Planning, Legal Research, Ethics for the Legal Assistants, Real Estate Law for Legal Assistants, Family Law, Legal Writing, Trial Practice and the Law of Evidence, Professional Development, Torts, and Legal Transactions.
Mountain Empire Community College
Located in Big Stone Gap, Mountain Empire Community College has a delightful associate of applied science degree program in paralegal studies, accredited with the Commission on Colleges. Students, who would like a college catalog, can request one by calling – 276-523-2400 or by writing to Mountain Empire at – 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, Virginia, 24219. They can also find essential information at -http://www.me.vccs.edu/.
The paralegal curriculum is a two-year long program containing various common studies and law-related course work. The common studies portion of the program includes the following classes – College Composition I, Introduction to Computer Applications, Business Mathematics I, Business Communications, Health/Physical Education elective, US Government I, Preparation for Employment, Human Relations, and a Humanities elective.
The law-related portion of the programs includes the following courses – Word Processing I, Business Law I, Introduction to Law and the Legal Assistant, Legal Terminology, Orientation to Business Programs, Word Processing Advanced Operations, Real Estate Law, Family Law, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Trial Preparation and Discovery Practice, Criminal Law, Legal Office Procedures I, Estate Planning and Probate, Legal Transactions, and Internship/Legal Assisting.
New River Community College
New River Community College in Dublin offers an unbelievable associate in applied science/paralegal degree program, accredited with the Commission on Colleges. Prospective students can phone the college at – 540-674-3600 or write to them at – Post Office Box 1127, Dublin, Virginia, 24084. There is also essential information within New River’s website at – http://www.nr.edu.
Paralegal students will need to complete several liberal arts and law-oriented courses to earn their degrees. The liberal arts classes that they must take are as follows – College Composition, Introduction to Mathematics, Social Science, two Health or Physical Education electives, Oral Interpretation, and one Social Science elective.
The law-oriented classes that students must take are as follows – Introduction to Law and the Legal Assistant, Real Estate Law for Legal Assistants, Preparation for Employment, Word Processing I and II, Writing for Business, Family Law, Law Office Administration and Management, Real Estate Settlement Practicum, Microcomputer Office Applications, Legal Research and Writing, Criminal Law, Desktop Publishing, Torts, Trial Preparation and Discovery Practice, Estate Planning and Probate, and at least one additional Law-Related elective.
More Spectacular Paralegal Schools in Virginia
- Patrick Henry Community College – Martinsville
- Southwest Virginia Community College – Richlands
- Central Virginia Community College – Lynchburg
- Tidewater Community College – Norfolk
- Centura College – Chesapeake, Richmond and Virginia Beach
- Virginia Western Community College – Roanoke
- Northern Virginia Community College – Annandale
- Thomas Nelson Community College – Hampton
- Virginia Intermont College – Bristol
The Benefit to Obtaining Paralegal Certification
While it is not necessary for paralegals to obtain certification, it does broaden their employment opportunities. Most legal firms and private practice attorneys prefer to hire those paralegals whom possess certification over those who do not. There are four organizations that offer paralegal certifications, and they are as follows.
1. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, or NFPA, offers certifications to applicants whom pass a written examination. Study areas for the examination include legal terminology, criminal law, civil procedures, litigation, ethics, government and family law. The organization also provides applicants with a useful study manual and an online, 50 question practice test.
2. The National Association of Legal Assistants, or NALA, also requires that applicants complete an examination to receive their certification. The organization supplies applicants with three helpful study guides to help them study in the key areas of paralegalism.
3. The National Association of Legal Secretaries, or NALS, is another organization that offers paralegal certification. Applicants will need to pass a written exam; and people can find study materials for the exam at their local libraries or online.
4. The American Alliance of Paralegals, or AAP, does not require applicants to take an exam; however, they do require that they possess no less than five years of experience working as paralegals.