Continuing education is important for paralegals who want to remain certified. While certification is not a legal requirement, many paralegals obtain certification to enhance their resumes and advance their careers. Paralegals play an important role in a law firm because of the many services they provide to lawyers and the court system, so most lawyers look favorably on paralegals who obtain and maintain their paralegal certification. The type of continuing education required for paralegals depends a lot on the certifying agency Here are a few types of certifications helpful for paralegals.
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ABA Free CLE Series
The American Bar Association offers continuing education courses to paralegals who are members of the ABA. The courses, which are free and offered in live webinar format, help the paralegal earn 18 continuing education credits each year. Some examples of continuing education courses offered through the ABA include:
• Client Confidentiality and the Attorney-Client Privilege
• The Internet of Things: Everything Will Be Connected
• More Effective Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives
• Cancer Rights: An Overview of Relevant Legal Issues
Paralegals who use their paralegal degree program to meet the eligibility requirements for certification must have completed an ABA-accredited program, so the ABA continuing education courses are very helpful to a paralegal.
The Paralegal Institute
The Paralegal Institute offers various paralegal continuing education courses through its Personal Development program. These courses are most beneficial to paralegals who have obtained the National Association for Legal Assistants credential. The Paralegal Institute also offers certificate and degree programs for students pursuing careers as paralegals. Some of their online courses include:
• Legal Analysis and Writing
• Business Organizations
• Paralegal Today
• Trust, Wills and Estate Administration
• Legal Nurse Consulting: Principles and Practices
Institute for Paralegal Education
The Institute for Paralegal Education™ offers several paralegals continuing education courses through OnDemand audio, video webcast, audio webinar and live seminar. They offer students the option of earning as few as two continuing education credits or up to 12 with each course. Members of the institute have full access to a wide selection of courses offered in their library. The amount the student can earn depends on the course. Students can also choose continuing education courses that correlate with any legal area of specialization they may have. For instance, a paralegal working for a divorce lawyer may want to choose more courses dealing with divorce laws. Some courses offered at the Institute for Paralegal Education™ include:
• Auto Injury Claims from Start to Finish for Paralegals
• The Paralegal’s Guide to Estate Planning
• A Litigation Paralegal’s Guide to Case Management
• Organizing SSDI Claims for Paralegals
• Divorce Cases from Start to Finish for Paralegals
Importance of Continuing Education for Paralegals
Becoming a paralegal does not begin and end with completing a paralegal program and obtaining certification. Continuing education is very important not only to maintain certification. It’s also a good way to stay abreast of current laws, which seem to be always changing. Every day new statutes and bills are being introduced or modified. Staying current with the legal system through continuing education helps keep the paralegal knowledgeable and competitive in the job market.
Paralegals continue to be in demand because they allow lawyers to do less in the office and see more clients throughout the day. Paralegals are expected to see a job growth of 15% during the decade of 2016-2026 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Maintaining continuing education improves the career outlook for a paralegal even more.