Continuing Education

Although not required to gain or sustain employment, continuing legal education is actually mandatory to maintain certifications, and often various affiliations, a paralegal may have. Continuing education is vital to all paralegals for this reason, and numerous others. Continuing legal education is crucial not only to support the knowledge already gained but also to learn any new applicable laws or decisions. It is also beneficial to preserve professionalism and keep up on good faith practices, as well as ethics.

Paralegals must continue to progress and enhance their roles as the legal field evolves and paralegals are given more extensive responsibilities. Continuing education courses expeditiously inform paralegals of current legal trends, advances in technology, and other ethical developments. For those paralegals who are required to gain continuing education credits to maintain certification, the timeline is usually every two years. This is to ensure enough new information is available without the paralegals being inundated with new laws, data, or changes.

Paralegal continuing education courses come in many different forms. These courses can also be found from a multitude of sources. The first place paralegals should look for their continuing education is the source of their certification, if applicable. Since these credits are necessary to keep up the title of certified paralegal, it is critical to be knowledgeable about which courses are needed. The requirements do vary from one association to another. Additionally, by using these accredited programs, the paralegal can ensure top quality education and information.

Continuing education courses are offered in many settings. Often, the type of course or setting chosen is at the discretion of the paralegal and his or her employer. Some employers may choose to send a paralegal to a seminar to gain continuing education credits, as well as additional knowledge that may benefit the law firm or office. Other paralegals can choose to do continuing education online in their own time for ease and flexibility.

Paralegal continuing education courses are also offered in a traditional live classroom setting. Choosing the setting of the course is dependent on logistics, the paralegal and the employer, and the setting within which the paralegal learns best. Many employers will reimburse for all or a portion of continuing education courses.

Continuing education is offered in a variety of topics, as well. Some of the most popular courses are ethics, trial and litigation, management and technology, business law, and economic law. By choosing the appropriate courses from the lengthy list of options, paralegals are able to take the knowledge they have gained throughout these courses and actually apply it to their everyday tasks.

A paralegal may want to branch out and gain continuing education in an area outside of his or her practice’s focus. By doing this, the paralegal is able to gain the continuing legal education credits he or she needs, while also broadening his or her perspective. Continuing legal education can also benefit a paralegal as they grow and move to other firms or offices. This education may be especially advantageous as it is often seen as a form of training that a new employer will not have to provide.

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