Perhaps you watched a few legal movies or TV shows in your time. The drama of the courtroom unfolds before the jury, and you sit in tense anticipation of what pitfall the lawyer must overcome next. The mystery and the action revolve around the attorney.
Maybe you are inspired by all that high drama and envision yourself perhaps one day becoming a lawyer. Perhaps you are not quite sure of all that goes into getting there. Have you ever considered the people behind that attorney; those who get all the groundwork laid before litigation ever occurs? That is where the paralegal enters the picture.
Entering the prestigious world of the legal profession is not as difficult as you may think. It does not require years of education at some Ivy League school to enter a fulfilling career field that comes with excellent compensation.
Paralegal Coursework You Should Expect
Taking paralegal courses in NYC can set you on a path that you may never have considered. Working side by side with outstanding attorneys can open many opportunities.
You may be asking yourself, what kind of paralegal courses in NYC do I need to take? Simply put, you could be on your way to a great career in a law firm within a couple of short years.
The most common route to getting started in the paralegal profession is to pursue an Associate’s Degree. Depending upon the institution you choose for your studies, the AOS Degree is usually attainable within two years or less. If you have a previous college degree, a shorter certificate course that can be completed in 8-12 months may be your best route.
While there are many variables involved, such as previous college coursework, pursuing paralegal courses in NYC should require a mix of both general studies work and specialized courses in the legal field. For your general education coursework you can expect to take one or more courses in:
- College English
- Oral and Written Communications
- College Mathematics
- Computer Concepts
Your general education coursework should be well blended with specialized coursework in the legal field to prepare you for the nuts and bolts of a career in the legal community. That means that you should have coursework that is a mixture of both college level general education classes blended with paralegal curriculum during each term. If you have taken some of these courses previously, schools will generally accept those classes so you would not have to take them again while pursuing a paralegal credential.
Most probably, the most important skill you will need is that of reading and writing. A paralegal will spend the greater part of their career writing legal documents, and not necessarily filling out court documents.
Each of the basic courses is going to introduce you to the nuances of legal terminology and the threading of previous case law into those writings.
A general list of paralegal coursework you should expect to take over the course of several terms includes essential instruction in the following areas:
- Introduction to Law
- Civil Litigation
- Family Law
- Law Office Management
- Legal Research/Writing
- Real Estate Law
- Contract Law
- Preparing Legal Documents
- Tort Law
- Advanced Legal Research
- Professional Elective
- Legal Internship
Choosing a professional elective should be an option for you when choosing paralegal courses in NYC. This course should be selected near the end of your educational experience. It is here where you will ultimately choose a particular legal specialty that you wish to pursue.
The legal specialty you choose will ultimately be something that you hold a passion for whether it is criminal law, corporate law or even elder law. There are multiple fields to choose from and to select the field you want to pursue must come from the heart.
Internships are Key to the Learning Process
Another curricular area that should be offered by the educational institution you select is that of an active internship. Learning about your craft in the classroom is one thing; getting valuable hands-on paralegal experience is another. There is nothing that can glue all the pieces together better than performing the craft you have learned in a real legal environment. This is an important element when selecting key paralegal courses in NYC.
The internship should match you up with a participating legal firm that will place you under the mentorship of highly skilled professionals with experience in the legal field. This experience is very akin to that of the aspiring teacher who serves in a real classroom environment for a time practicing their craft before being awarded a teaching credential.
Paralegals Make a Difference
Paralegals perform a vital service within the legal community. They are the backbone of every law office; the people who get things done so attorneys can do what they do best – litigate. Some will say it is far from glamorous, but that it is without a doubt one of the most fulfilling career positions in the law office. What you do there can make or break a legal case. The lawyers you work for will depend upon you for your insight and expertise.
Of course, we probably will never see a motion picture about the paralegal. However, that does not make them any less important in the real world of the legal profession, which reminds me of a cartoon I ran across recently where a lawyer is doing a crossword puzzle and asks, “What’s a nine letter word for indispensable?” The reply that came was cute and to the point, “A paralegal.”