Pros and Cons of Legal Assistant Certification

Legal Assistant Certification is something to consider if you want to advance yourself in the legal field. While it is not mandatory at this time to have a certification, it might be in the near future. You can opt to get your certification ahead of time, before any laws go into effect.

Paralegal Certification, a Certified Paralegal, or CP is the same thing as a Certified Legal Assistant, or CLA. If you become certified, you can choose which title you would like to use.

Pros
First, we will cover the advantages to earning your Legal Assistant certification.

In becoming a CLA or CP, you earn the distinction of professionally using either of those designations after your name. You show potential employers, colleagues, and the world at large that you are a driven individual with the credentials to back it up.

Having earned a certification can set you apart from other applicants during a job search. Certification makes you better qualified and perhaps more educated than other candidates. Having Legal Assistant certification can get you in the door for an interview, and give you the advantage to get the job.

Legal Assistant certification can give you an edge at promotion time or if you are asking your employer for a raise. Some employers will even pay or refund you for the cost to become certified. Increased earnings are not limited to salary; you additionally increase your legal knowledge through studying for the certification exam. Your new found skills may qualify you for more tasks and increased responsibilities.

Cons
You need to also understand the following information, which you may find to be disadvantages in becoming a CLA.

A major time commitment is involved in order to earn your certification. It is a requirement of nearly all of the certifying establishments that you take a test that will gauge your legal aptitude. You must devote time to studying before you take the certification examination in order to pass. Some of the organizations who certify Legal Assistants require a certain number of years’ experience prior to taking an examination. Another time consuming aspect is that you will need to occasionally participate in Continuing Legal Education (CLE) classes to keep your certification up to date.

Obtaining certification can be expensive. Each certifying institution sets its own prices, which range from $75 to $275 USD. Costs include the application and exam fees. One agency offers an online Legal Assistant Certification preparation class for an added fee of $395. Costs for required Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses are an additional expense. Re-certification fees are also required every few years to maintain certification status.

It is not difficult to get a job in the legal field if you are not certified. Particularly in areas where there is not a lot of competition for Legal Assistant jobs. It is mostly in major cities or large corporate offices where certification becomes more of an issue due to increased competition. No state in the U.S. requires certification to operate as a Legal Assistant at present.

Conclusion
Some states in the U.S. have passed or begun legislation in order to address certification. Check with your local jurisdiction whether your state has requirements as to whether you can call yourself a Paralegal. Certification may be a requirement in the future. If you become a CLA now, you will not have any issues in the future to be able to meet any necessary criteria to be a Paralegal.

Legal Nurse Certification – A Lucrative Opportunity For Registered Nurses

The demand for legal nursing consultants will continue to grow in the coming years as the health care system increases its reliance on experts with vast knowledge about medical-legal issues and proceedings. A career as a legal nurse consultant is rapidly becoming one of the most lucrative jobs in the country with an average salary of $120 per hour of consultation, generating an average annual income of approximately $80,000.

Many nurses are seriously considering a career as legal nurse consultant because it gives them the opportunity to practice their profession in an entirely different setting. A career as a legal nursing consultant is perfect for registered nurses who want to venture into other nursing specialties apart from bedside care. Legal nurse consultants are given the chance to work in legal corporations, government agencies, and insurance companies. Some legal nurse consultants have the option to be self-employed consultants while they continue to work in bedside care settings.

To become a legal nurse consultant, a nurse must first be a current licensed registered nurse in the state or country. Prospective students who are interested in becoming a registered nurse must complete all nursing prerequisites with satisfactory grades to be considered for admission in the nursing program. Registered nursing programs offer associate degrees (ADN or ASN) that are usually completed in two years. An associate degree in nursing can be obtained in community and junior colleges and in technical-vocational schools. A bachelor degree (BSN) in nursing is conferred to students who completed 4 years of nursing education in universities or in 4-year colleges. ADN and BSN graduates of schools accredited by the Nursing League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. are all eligible to sit in the state registered nursing licensure examination.

To practice as a consultant, the experienced registered nurse does not necessarily need a certification. However, as the responsibilities of legal nurse consultants in legal and hospital settings become more intense, the majority of employers prefer certified consultants. Certification increases the chances of better job opportunities, career advances, and higher salary wages. A certification demonstrates the nurse’s comprehensive knowledge on medical-legal proceedings and the health care system.

Current registered and licensed nurses are deemed qualified to practice legal nursing consultation if one of the following requirements is fulfilled:

a. Successful completion of a legal nursing consultant program in an accredited educational institution. The legal nursing consultant program must have a minimum of 90 days of formal lecture.
b. Certification will be granted to individuals who are currently practicing as a legal nurse consultant with at least 1,000 hours of work within the last 3 years.
c. Recertification will be granted to individuals if continuing education was completed with 50 hours of coursework within the last 3 years.

Public Schools – Our Education Garbage Dump

Suppose a contractor was building a house for you, and for some strange reason he convinced you to build your house on a garbage dump. The house was supposed to cost $150,000 to build, but the contractor is having problems. Every time he tries to lay his foundations, the foundations sink in the earth that has been rotted out by garbage.

So the contractor keeps trying new ways to fortify the earth to hold the foundations. He tries steel rods in the earth. He tries a different kind of concrete. But everything he tries doesn’t work because the garbage dump simply won’t support any foundation he tries to pour. Every time the contractor tries something new, the price of the house escalates. His “experiments” push the price to $350,000. Of course you are getting disgusted and think maybe the problem is a structural one that can’t be fixed — that you’ll never be able to sink a solid foundation on a garbage dump.

The contractor, who doesn’t seem to have a waiting list of other customers, keeps saying if you give him another $100,000, then another $100,000, he is sure he’ll be able to come up with a way to lay your foundation and build your house. But you are bankrupt by now, so you have to walk away from the house.

The same scenario has been running for the past fifty years in our education garbage dumps called public schools. As the education they’re giving our kids gets progressively worse, the educrats and Boards of Education keep whining in unison that they don’t have enough money to do a good job, the schools are overcrowded, teachers salaries are too “low,” millions are needed to repair the dilapidated schools, and on and on.

“Just give us more money,” the educrats whine. “Look at the condition of our schools. See how overcrowded they are. How do you expect to get good teachers if you don’t pay them more? All we need is more money, more billions. Then we will teach your children better.” It’s the same chant, over and over again. It is one of the favorite excuses spewed out by the educational establishment to rationalize the failure of public schools.

The problem is that our public schools are a government-controlled education garbage dump. No matter how much money we pump into them, they will not improve because the foundations of the system are structurally rotten. They will not improve because a government-run system, by its nature, strangles educational quality and innovation.

Innovation only comes from the fierce competition of a free market. That’s why our cars, food, and computers, keep improving in quality every year. Every manufacturer who competes for your consumer dollar has to constantly improve his products to convince you to buy from him. Every car or computer maker must prove to you that his product is better, safer, or cheaper than his competitors. The only way he can do this, and maintain your loyalty as a customer year after year, is to live up to his promises. Competition constantly drives the free-market to continually improve quality, competence, and innovation in all the products we buy.

Public schools, in contrast, are government-owned and operated as a monopoly. There is little competition. The schools get their students by force, through compulsory attendance laws. They get their funds by force, through compulsory real estate taxes. If the school is incompetent, it does not go out of business. If the tenured teachers are incompetent, it’s almost impossible to fire them.

Most private schools are expensive. Also, parents who struggle to send their kids to private school still have to pay compulsory real estate taxes to “support” public schools. The average family pays almost forty percent of their income in taxes, leaving little extra for private schools. That’s why most parents can’t afford these schools. The high taxes force both parents into the workforce, making it difficult for one parent to stay at home to home-school their children. As a result, government schools may not have a legal monopoly to educate our kids, but they have a de-facto monopoly, and the educrats know this.

That is why the educrats can experiment on our kids like guinea pigs, trying out every wacko educational theory their teacher colleges dream up. One such theory was the disastrous “whole-language” reading instruction method that turned millions of kids into illiterates. That is their idea of “innovation.”

The only problem is that their “innovations” are not tested in the crucible of the free market. Parents are not given the right or ability to accept or reject these “innovations” by public-school commissars. If the educrats’ “innovation” doesn’t work, and parents think the school is incompetent, the school doesn’t go out of business.

To cover their embarrassment at the constant failure of these “innovations,” the educrats then blame everyone but themselves. They blame the kids, the parents, “poverty,” or “society.” Or, they say they need more billions of dollars to try a new variation of the “innovation” that didn’t work for the last ten years. Parents can’t take their kids out of these failed schools because they can’t afford the private schools. The free-market can’t punish these public schools for their incompetence and poor results because these schools are an insulated government monopoly and the teachers are protected by tenure.

If government schools ruin children’s education and futures with their failed policies, why give them more billions of dollars? In fact, giving public schools more money to continue their education crimes against our kids would be criminal. It would be like giving more money to a drug addict so he could buy more cocaine and do more damage to his brain.

What matters is what the schools teach, how they teach, and if they are held accountable for what they teach. In government schools, there is no accountability. It is only government institutions like public schools that have the audacity to ask for more billions of dollars the worse they get. In effect, they profit from their incompetence.

But the educrats cannot do otherwise. If they don’t ask for more money, they can’t use money as an excuse, and are admitting failure. If they admit failure, they are admitting the failure of the entire government-school system. Just as the communists in the former Soviet Union could not admit failure, so public-school educrats cannot admit failure. They must make a constant stream of excuses why our children are being turned into illiterates, and why they waste twelve years of our children’s lives. They must constantly ask for more billions of dollars to “improve” the system, even though the government-controlled system is beyond repair.

Here’s one example of the “value” of giving more money to public schools. In 1984, as a result of a desegregation lawsuit and orders from U.S. District Judge Russell Clark, . . . “Kansas City spent $2 billion building the most expensive school system in the world. Beginning teacher salaries rose from a low of $17,000 to a high of $47,851. Fifteen new schools were constructed and 70 had additions or renovations. The luxurious facilities include a planetarium, a vivarium, greenhouses, a model United Nations wired for language translation, radio and television studios, movie editing and screening rooms, swimming pools, a zoo, a farm, a wildland area, a temperature-controlled art gallery, and 15 computers per classroom. Students can study Suzuki violin, animal science, and robotics. Language instruction spans French to Swahili.”

“Despite the extraordinary facilities and massive sums of money, student performance is so low that recently the state had to strip the Kansas City School District of its accreditation. The school district has fewer students and is less integrated that in 1984 when Judge Clark took control of the school district in order to achieve “mathematical racial balance.” (Paul Craig Roberts, The Washington Times, Dec., 9, 1999).

This is just one example of many. If a school’s competence and teaching methods are not put to the test of free-market competition, if schools are not punished for incompetence by going out of business, if teachers are not punished for incompetence by being fired, no amount of money in the world will improve the schools. Only the free market will.