A paralegal’s duties typically include support for lawyers, attorneys, and law practices. A paralegal can also use their skills in support of government agencies and even private businesses. Almost 5,000 paralegals work in Louisiana, and the job outlook for the field continues to rise fast.
Paralegals in Louisiana perform several duties and gain a vast amount of legal knowledge while performing those duties. Because of that fact, a paralegal can have a rewarding career in the profession, but can also use those skills as a stepping stone to advance further into the legal profession. As there are numerous types of law practiced, there are equal numerous types of specializations a paralegal can focus on to advance their careers.
How Do I Become a Paralegal in Louisiana?
For those who ask how to become a paralegal in Louisiana, it helps to know that the steps are mostly straightforward. Just as with most careers, learning how to become a paralegal in Louisiana starts with understanding the Louisiana paralegal programs.
Applicants will want to look for Louisiana paralegal programs specifically designed to help them earn their paralegal degree as well as their paralegal certification in Louisiana. The degree serves to give applicants a grounded education in law and legal principles.
The requirements for becoming a paralegal vary by state, so it’s important that applicants seek only information related to Louisiana paralegal programs. This applies in all cases, whether the applicant seeks a paralegal degree, an online paralegal degree, or paralegal certification in Louisiana.
The state’s paralegal requirements aren’t mandated. Obtaining a degree or going through an educational program is a step applicants should take to ensure they understand the law, how it works, and how to do legal research.
Paralegals need to know how to navigate dense legal paperwork and analyze legal cases. Curriculums for paralegal degree programs in Louisiana typically include electives that can help an applicant specialize.
Do I Need Certification to Become a Paralegal in Louisiana?
The certification of a paralegal involves learning the specific duties of the profession, its ethics, and to ensure the person meets the standards set by both state and national legal institutions. Without both the education and certification, it’s very difficult for someone to work as a paralegal in Louisiana.
Even though certification isn’t a requirement, it does become a requirement if a paralegal wants to call themselves a certified paralegal in the state. Students may also need to go through an internship as part of a Louisiana paralegal program. This type of on-the-job training further helps someone to succeed as a paralegal in Louisiana.
Can I Become a Paralegal in Louisiana with an Online Paralegal Degree?
Some may ask how to become a paralegal in Louisiana through an online paralegal degree. It’s certainly possible to earn an online paralegal degree. Applicants should know that an online paralegal degree is exactly the same as a paralegal degree earned in a more traditional setting.
As with any degree or certification program, applicants should look for reputable programs that have the backing of professional organizations in the field. If someone chooses a college for their online paralegal degree, they should:
- Check for accreditation
- Check if the instructors have experience in the field
- Check if the school’s program will prepare them to work in the state
An online paralegal degree from a Louisiana paralegal program with a proven track record will likely take a student further, after graduation, than a program that doesn’t seem to have any credentials. For those who already have experience in the field, it’s possible to take an online course for additional education to specialize or to earn specific certification to help them move into a different legal field.
How Do I Find Reputable Louisiana Paralegal Programs?
Since paralegals usually work in support of an attorney, having the backing of legal professionals can help some Louisiana paralegal programs stand out from the bunch. One of the main ways to discover if a paralegal degree program is a reputable one is to look for American Bar Association-approved programs. ABA approval isn’t the only thing to consider, and a program not on the ABA’s list doesn’t mean it’s not a good one.
Another source of reputability to look for is the backing of the Louisiana State Paralegal Association. This group administers the test for and issues the LCP Certification, which most legal organizations in Louisiana recognize.
The LSPA also lists other associations that an applicant can research to see if they recommend any particular Louisiana paralegal programs. For national recognition as a Certified Paralegal (CP), applicants should look for paralegal programs in Louisiana that also prepare them to take the NALA examination.