Paralegal Certificate: If you’re considering working as a paralegal, it’s important to know how to get certification as a paralegal. This guide will walk you through the steps for how to get a paralegal certificateand give you some insights into what to expect from the process.
Step 1) Know What You Are Getting Into
If you want to become a paralegal, you’ll need to make sure that you understand all of your courses and fit everything in with your work and school schedule. You’re also going to have to be patient, dedicated, and flexible. If you sign up to places like ParalegalEDU.org, all the information you need will be on the website itself.
Step 2) Choose Your State Bar Association’s Board
The next step is choosing which state bar association you want to earn your certification through. Each state has its own certification board, so you must select yours based on where you live. Visit your state’s website and click Certification Board under member services, or call your state bar association for information.
Step 3) Complete Required Paralegal Courses
The time has come to complete your paralegal coursework and pass the state exam. You know what you have to do to graduate, but how do you get there? Before taking any exams, make sure you know exactly what information they’ll ask of you and how much time you’ll have for each question. Also, look at sample questions online or in textbooks to prepare yourself for what’s coming up.
Step 4) Earn Legal Experience
It’s not enough to just read the material and understand it; you have to be able to apply it. When preparing for your certification exam, try to take practice tests before you sit down for a real one. This will help you gauge how much time you have and which areas of your studying need more attention.
Step 5) Study For the Exam
Studying for an exam can feel like a daunting task. The good news is that if you go through some of your study materials and make flashcards, it’s not as hard as you may think
Step 6) Pass the National Paralegal Certification Exam (NPCE)
States design this test to ensure that you possess a baseline knowledge about legal concepts and practical skills, like legal research. You’ll need to be a paralegal for at least three years before taking it. Firms don’t require certificates in all states—check with your state’s bar association website for more information.
Step 7) Complete continuing legal education (CLE)
Once you become a paralegal, you’ll want to keep your skills sharp by earning continuing legal education (CLE) credits. To earn CLE credit, join one of many organizations that offer continuing legal education courses, such as the American Bar Association and the National Alliance of Legal Assistants.
Step 8) Practice Writing Legal Documents & Serve as An Assistants
After you’ve taken your required CLE courses, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Legal research is a skill that requires hours and hours of practice. The best way to do so is by working with a paralegal who will supervise you as you draft legal documents. When practicing on actual clients, be sure to pay attention to form and communication skills.
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