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.

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.

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.

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.

Legal Studies Degree – Curriculum Explained

A legal studies degree can be very useful in today’s job market. After completing a bachelor’s degree in the legal field, you could become a paralegal and perform a variety of tasks in legal offices or even work in the legal department of a major corporation or government office. You could also continue your education and obtain a graduate degree to pursue a career as an attorney or a judge. Legal studies programs can also be very beneficial for careers outside of the legal field because they teach excellent research, writing and critical thinking skills. These courses can be a stepping-stone for a number of careers. For example, you could become a teacher at the high school or college level.

Although there are many options available, the majority of people with a legal studies degree goes on to law school and become attorneys. This is a rigorous and expensive process, but you can earn very high salaries and have an extremely rewarding career once you finish school and pass the bar exam. You could become a divorce attorney, personal injury lawyer, barrister, bankruptcy attorney, environmental lawyer, corporate attorney, immigration attorney, prosecutor, defense attorney and the list goes on. Some attorneys make more money than others do, but even the lower paid legal professionals still have relatively lucrative careers.

During your legal courses you will expand on a variety of skills useful to numerous careers, so your options will not be limited to becoming a lawyer. You will acquire excellent communication skills, for starters, which is valuable for virtually any career as well as for your personal life. Legal studies programs also require being able to identify right from wrong and understand how various actions fit into the guidelines of the law. Skills such as critical thinking, analysis, decision-making, debate and essay writing also play valuable roles while acquiring degrees in the legal studies field and are useful in many aspects of the professional world as well.

Completing a legal studies program could be a great choice if these are the types of skills you like to learn and excel at. Taking this educational path can lead to a rewarding future.

Institutions offering quality Legal Studies Programs include Brown Mackie College, Keiser University, National American University, Strayer University and Rasmussen College.

Continuing Legal Education from the Client’s Point of View

In a lawyer’s world, it is hard to find the time to satisfy all of your clients’ needs, manage professional contacts and relationships, and continue to try to gain new clients. That is one of the main reasons that Continuing Legal Education requirements have been met with moans and groans from attorneys across the country. Lawyers feel that imposing such rules is foolish, and a waste of time that could be spent working on more important matters.

But let’s take a look at the issue from the clients’ point of view. As a client, you should want the best possible attorney to represent you in any situation. The word, representation, in its nature, carries such a strong meaning. Your attorney is acting on your behalf in all legal matters that you may encounter.

Some people may measure a lawyer’s ability and expertise in different ways, but some of the most useful information when considering a lawyer to represent you is the depth of their knowledge. This comes from a number of sources that include their primary and secondary education, their experience in a given field, the success that they have had in the past, and the amount of continuing education they do. That last part, Continuing Legal Education, may seem trivial. But without it, it is hard to ensure that a lawyer is keeping up to date on new laws and changing practice areas.

With that in mind, Continuing Legal Education should be mandatory in every single state. That offers civilians a broader range of qualified lawyers to choose from that will represent them to the best of their abilities. And from an administrative point of view, the Continuing Legal Education made available to lawyers needs to be of the highest educational value and quality. Lawyers need to get the most up to date information on a variety of subjects easily and completely in order to get the maximum benefit intended through the MCLE rules and regulations.

In the end, I think everyone, even the lawyers, can agree that a high standard needs to be set in the legal profession. With that in mind, Continuing Legal Education should be held to that standard, and should provide lawyers the opportunity to continue to learn and excel in their field throughout their careers.