Top 3 Schools Offering ABA Paralegal Programs
Most, if not all, top law firms will only hire paralegalswho are certified by programs approved by the American Bar Association, or ABA. Despite this, of the more than 1200 paralegal programs throughout the United States, only 250 or so of them are ABA approved paralegal programs. As such, those who go to ABA approved programs already have a distinct advantage. Those who are able to go to the top schools are even more ahead of the game.
University of California, Los Angeles
As a UCLA Extension course, the university’s paralegal program is a certification course that involves taking around 30 credit hours of related coursework, called “modules”, in order to be certified. Its instructors are carefully selected by the professors and administrators of the wildly successful UCLA School of Law. The program is situated in UCLA sunny Westwood campus, and benefits from the vibrant atmosphere of student involvement at the school. The program is thoroughly modern, with some emphasis placed heavily upon legal technology and practical skills. Especially in Los Angeles, there is a strong demand for lawyers, as well as for their associated paralegals.
Syracuse’s legal studies program is offered as either a certificate or a post-baccalaureatedegree. The instructors of this program focus on offering their students the ability to think critically about the ethical implications of working in the legal field, as well as other practicable skills that are easily transferrable to both the public and the private sector. The Syracuse program, while not necessarily laid-back, benefits from the dynamic, yet collaborative graduate and undergraduate students throughout the campus, as well as its pleasant college town surroundings, which are complete with Revolution-era architecture and intimate coffee shops and antique stores. This is one of the most favored ABA approved paralegal programs in the nation.
The paralegal studies program at Georgetown University succeeds in being in the heart of one of the largest law centers in the country, in Washington, D.C. As with its illustrious law school, Georgetown’s paralegal program emphasizes the ability to analyze legal issues. The Georgetown University program is well known for producing some of the most employable graduates, with several courses devoted to practical skills and job preparedness, as well as a strong base clientele in the law offices and political hideouts of the nation’s capital. Many students of the Georgetown program are also simultaneously enrolled in a law program in the area.
Most job advice counselors do not recommend an online certification in paralegal studies for anyone who wants to be a strong, competitive candidate in the job market, and this recommendation comes very strongly. Traditional school structures are the best avenues by which to practice and exercise critical thinking skills and apply legal concepts—two skills that are absolutely paramount for good paralegal certification programs.
Paralegal certification usually only applies in the state in which the certification was given, but there are a lot of other ABA approved paralegal programs from which to choose. As a general rule, if a school has a very strong law or pre-law program, it will probably also boast a fantastic paralegal program.