Law Secretary Seeks Transition to Paralegal Career


Jennifer writes:
Can you tell me what classes and how long and what I need to do to become a
paralegal? I work for a law office as a legal secretary right now and they want to
promote me to a paralegal once I go to school for it. Can I go to my community
college for it??? Help!



The Career Doctor responds:
First let me congratulate both you and your employer. You are obviously a
great employee and it’s wonderful to see your employer wants to help you
grow as a legal professional. Before you take the next step please make
sure this career step is one you want to take. I assume working in a law
office you have a good idea of pros and cons of being a paralegal… but if
not now is the time to do the research. Since you are obviously very good
at what you currently do there is no shame in staying a legal secretary if
becoming a paralegal does not appeal to you.
OK. Now to your question. There are several ways to become a paralegal.
If you do not have a college degree one option is to attend a local
community college’s paralegal program leading to an associate’s degree.
If you do have a college degree there are certificate programs that lead to
a certification in paralegal studies in just a few months. If your local
community college does not offer paralegal studies there are numerous
online programs that do — but make sure you find an accredited program.
You do not necessarily need a program approved by the American Bar Association but graduating from an ABA-approved school should enhance
your options (if something happens with your current firm).
Once you complete your education you may also want to look into
becoming certified through the National Association of Legal Assistants
or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
Find more useful information here:

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Jennifer writes:
Can you tell me what classes and how long and what I need to do to become a
paralegal? I work for a law office as a legal secretary right now and they want to
promote me to a paralegal once I go to school for it. Can I go to my community
college for it??? Help!



The Career Doctor responds:
First let me congratulate both you and your employer. You are obviously a
great employee and it’s wonderful to see your employer wants to help you
grow as a legal professional. Before you take the next step please make
sure this career step is one you want to take. I assume working in a law
office you have a good idea of pros and cons of being a paralegal… but if
not now is the time to do the research. Since you are obviously very good
at what you currently do there is no shame in staying a legal secretary if
becoming a paralegal does not appeal to you.
OK. Now to your question. There are several ways to become a paralegal.
If you do not have a college degree one option is to attend a local
community college’s paralegal program leading to an associate’s degree.
If you do have a college degree there are certificate programs that lead to
a certification in paralegal studies in just a few months. If your local
community college does not offer paralegal studies there are numerous
online programs that do — but make sure you find an accredited program.
You do not necessarily need a program approved by the American Bar Association but graduating from an ABA-approved school should enhance
your options (if something happens with your current firm).
Once you complete your education you may also want to look into
becoming certified through the National Association of Legal Assistants
or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
Find more useful information here: