Paralegal Programs Offer Fast Entry Into Legal Careers
Pick up a recent newspaper or browse through a news website and you'll find bleak reports about the job market published alongside articles about crippling student loan debt. Before commiting to a training program, prospective students want assurance of gainful employment opportunities, as well as the expectation that their skill sets will be in demand for years to come. New graduates or career changers interested in working in the legal field will find that paralegal training offers a cost-effective alternative to law school and a positive job outlook between now and 2020.
The U.S. News and World Report includes paralegal jobs on its list of "Best Jobs" of 2012, describing the anticipated occupational growth for paralegals to be "leaps and bounds above that of lawyers... (B)ecoming a paralegal a great option for individuals who are interested in law but do not wish to endure the longer process of becoming a lawyer." While practicing attorneys earn a higher salary than paralegals, the median annual wage for people with paralegal training is 37.8% higher than the national average (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Stony Brook University, in partnership with the Center for Legal Studies, offers a quick, affordable paralegal certificate program that prepares students for paralegal and legal assistant jobs. The 84-hour live-lecture course, which is held on Saturdays and Sundays, begins October 13, 2012.
Paralegals don’t practice law, but they are trained to help attorneys gather evidence, do research, interview clients and witnesses, and prepare legal briefs and forms. In short, companies and legal firms are looking save money by hiring paralegals to perform many of the tasks that were previously assigned to licensed attorneys.
“Most people just think of paralegals working in law firms,” said Gail Stowers, a paralegal course instructor with The Center for Legal Studies. “Many of them do work in law firms, but the job market is so much broader than that. Students are surprised when I tell them that paralegals are employed in 47 different areas of the law and settings. Some include corporate human resources or legal departments, government agencies, banks, insurance companies, the criminal justice system, lobbying organizations and legal aid offices. Employers can easily see the cost savings in hiring paralegals rather than attorneys for many legal tasks.”
Students who complete the Paralegal Certificate Course will receive their certificate from Stony Brook University, providing instant credibility in the local job market. The university has been ranked by Kiplinger’s as one of the 100 best values in public colleges and universities in the nation, and it’s been ranked in the top ONE percent of all universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
The comprehensive curriculum can be completed in 6 weekends for in-person instruction or completely online. The course teaches students how to investigate complex fact patterns, interview witnesses, research the law, prepare legal documents, and help prepare cases for courtroom litigation. Graduates of the program can specialize in such topics as criminal law, contracts, civil rights law, and environment law, just to name a few. Job search techniques are also included in the curriculum.
With tuition set at $1189 (plus about $400 for books), the Paralegal Certificate course is one of the quickest and most affordable paths available toward careers in the legal industry.
The Center for Legal Studies (CLS) is Stony Brook’s training partner. CLS has graduated more Paralegals, Legal Secretaries, Legal Investigators, Mediators, and Legal Nurse Consultants than any other legal education training facility in the country. To enroll or for more information, visit The Center for Legal Studies on the web or call 1-800-522-7737.
Stony Brook's Legal Training Programs—Offered Online or On-Campus
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Copyright 2012 School of Professional Development at Stony
Last modified on 09/25/2012.