When you are deciding on a future career, it’s important to know that you are obtaining the maximum quality of education and training. You don’t want to decide on a career as a paralegal, only to attend an unapproved college whose references will be useless in the real world.
Unfortunately, this very scenario has ruined the careers of many potential paralegals. So how can you be sure that you are really getting an education that will count for something in the world outside of your school years?
Make Sure Your School Is ABA Approved
If you have decided on a career as a paralegal, it is very important to be absolutely sure that the school you attend for your training and certification is ABA (American Bar Association) approved. Life is too short, and your window of opportunity too narrow, to waste valuable time, effort, and money on frauds and fakes.
The American Bar Association is the agency which reviews all programs which lead to certification as an attorney or paralegal. Without this official certification, your potential career in the legal industry is as good as dead.
It is extremely important that you attend a school which has this official ABA approval. Schools which are ABA approved have a legitimacy and standing which no other schools can obtain. ABA approved schools provide future paralegals and attorneys with a fully comprehensive legal education which meets the standards which have been laid down by the state and federal justice systems.
Graduating in good standing from an ABA approved school means that you will be immediately eligible to sit for the bar exam in your state, or obtain work immediately as a paralegal, or in some related position. In other words, your ABA certification is your ticket to employment, without which you will have none.
Is There A Major Difference Between An ABA-approved And A Non-ABA Approved School?
A natural question for prospective paralegals who may be on a somewhat restricted budget is whether there really is a major difference between an ABA approved school and a non-ABA approved one. In a nutshell, the answer is a resounding yes.
For one thing, ABA standards for the approval of law schools mandate that all students that attend an ABA approved law school will receive a solidly up to date curriculum of legal education. The ABA works to ensure a standardized educational experience which meets the expected norms no matter where you studying.
Conversely, those schools which are not approved by the ABA are free not to comply with these or any standards whatsoever. They are free to devise their own curriculum of “education” which can easily include out of date or even fictitious information. The trade off is that these schools will not qualify for ABA approval, and thus will not receive its backing.
The Ultimate Distinction
Every state in the USA recognizes that a student who has graduated from an ABA approved law school has satisfied the criteria for becoming an officially certified attorney or paralegal. In some states, potential lawyers or paralegals do not gain the right to sit for the state bar examination unless and until they have shown proof of obtaining a degree from an ABA approved institution.
The meaning of this information for future attorneys and paralegals is clear. If you choose to waste your time, energy, and money at a school which does not have official ABA backing, you are simply wasting your time. Be very careful when you choose a school for your paralegal training, and be sure that this school has ABA backing.