If you’re thinking of becoming a paralegal, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. You might simply be lucky enough to have been appointed to the job without formal training. In most cases, however, you’ll have to get either an associate or bachelor’s degree. As a student spending two to five years getting a degree in the 21st century, you’ll have access to many online tools and apps that’ll help you in your quest to become a paralegal.
1. Black’s Law Dictionary
Designed specifically for mobile devices, this app grants the user access to all 50,000 legal term definitions and references in the printed volume. As an added bonus, the app also provides inline citations and references to primary sources regarding each term and definition, which is incredibly useful for not only law practice but also research. Currently, the app costs $49.99, but it’s worth it to have all those definitions and terms at your fingertips without having to schlep a heavy book around everywhere you go.
Law libraries can be intimidating and so can research libraries. The National Union Catalog is over 200 volumes just by itself. While printed records of case law are crucial for research, electronic copies are equally so. Fastcase will not only help you find a particular case quickly and easily, it will also let you search through the database by legal precedent and then provide you with a list of cases. The app will even tell you how many times a particular case has been cited in previous case arguments, which highlights the most relevant cases for you in the blink of an eye.
With definitions and case precedents in hand, you’ll also need to know the correct procedures to follow. LawStack is a free app that provides instant access to all the requisite federal “T” crossing and “I” dotting for the following:
For quick and easy access, the app also provides a copy of the United States Constitution. Although LawStack is free, the app also provides paid access to other databases of relevant procedures, such as up-to-date changes to the law enacted by various legislatures around the country.
LogMeIn works with both mobile devices and desktop computers. It lets you access files on your home or office desktop and retrieve them. Such access will be crucial if you’ve traveled hundreds of miles to help your internship boss take a deposition and find that you left the hard copies of the relevant case law sitting on your desk. With LogMeIn, you just get the files off of your computer and print them at your present location.
In school or on the job, your career as a paralegal is bound to be complicated and time-consuming. You’ll need a way to keep track of the myriad things you must do every day, and SnapAppointments gives you the order out of the chaos. Not only can you book appointments, meetings, and such, but others can send you requests for meetings and appointments too. The interface is intuitive and powerful, and the app allows for desktop integration to maximize its flexibility.
These apps will give any paralegal student a strong and varied arsenal of tools to gain information, collate that information and maintain an even keel during a hectic period of study. By using these, and other, tools, you’re more likely to be successful. Good luck!