General Question

mirifique's avatar

For paralegals: is getting a paralegal certificate worthwhile?

Asked by mirifique (1511 points ) February 11th, 2009

It seems like (formerly hiring) law firms are seeking candidates with an ABA-approved paralegal certificate (sometimes in addition to a B.A.). Can any current paralegals, attorneys or legal hiring personnel attest to the importance of this for those seeking to continue a career as a paralegal (as opposed to entering the field)? What other certifications or courses would you recommend? Finally, anyone have thoughts about the future market for paralegals?

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5 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

No. Only 1 of the 8 legal assistants in my office has an actual papalegal certificate. A company can teach you everything you need to know.

thriftymaid's avatar

In my area it certainly is. You need a law degree or paralegal certificate in order for your company to bill for paralegal hours.

mirifique's avatar

@thriftymaid What is your area?
@tinyfaery I completely agree with you, but am concerned that simply not having one will hold me back from getting the best paralegal jobs. Is that a valid concern? Or do you think getting a paralegal certificate could potentially do more harm than good?

tinyfaery's avatar

@mirifique Having the certification can’t hurt. It could get you better jobs in less time. With no certificate you will probably have to work your way up, but you will be earning at the same time.

mirifique's avatar

@tinyfaery So you don’t think it would hurt me, though? I have a BA from an Ivy League school (which ostensibly did very little for me, gah) so I’m concerned employers might be confused as to why I would be getting a paralegal certificate. Unfortunately there are so few people in my boat that I have very little resources to answer this type of question. For most lawyers I speak with, they see paralegals as career paralegals who usually got an AA, or they got BA’s and go to law school… so I’m trying to determine (in the next few days as the program starts Monday whether or not I should shell out the $2k and get my local ABA approved paralegal cert.

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