What is a Bankruptcy Paralegal?

bankruptcy paralegalA bankruptcy paralegal is a paralegal who specializes in bankruptcy issues. They carry out research, draft correspondences and help in preparing and filling bankruptcy petitions. Apparently declaring bankruptcy is a legal procedure which should be done by the help of a legal counsel. Following the right legal channels could just save you on losing a whole lot of assets to your creditors. It also helps the creditors get part of their money through the payment strategy plan that is made during bankruptcy proceedings.

The education sector is first evolving with institutions cropping up every single day. You see back in the days, there used to be a lot of monopoly in the education sector with only a few institutions controlling the market. This has all changed by the many institutions coming up which gives you variety to choose from. The catch however with these institutions is to do a lot of research on them so as to enroll n one that will give you value for your money.

They say too much of something is poisonous and true to that, the many numbers of upcoming colleges could water down the quality of the education provided. Some are in it for business, just to get the numbers so that they can maximize on profits and there are also realistic institutions which are aiming to provide quality. The beauty with this variety is that it makes education easily available. Education really has come a long way!

Types of Paralegal Program

  • Certificate or Diploma Programs – These are quicker than a degree program. They are usually for furthering your general knowledge in a particular area
  • Associate Degree Programs – When considering studying for an associate degree, it is important to research if the college has a continuation program of the 4 year course or if you will be forced to transfer to another institution
  • Bachelor Degree Programs – It is a 4 year course which entails up to 130 units. At the end of the program, the graduate gets a baccalaureate award
  • PostBaccalaureate Certificate Programs – They are meant for students who already possess a baccalaureate or an associate degree. They take up to 60 units
  • Master’s degree Program – It is an advancement of a degree program which is offered by most universities that offer the degree program.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Paralegal Degree Program

  1. Choosing to do an online paralegal degree program is surely not for the faint hearted. You see unlike the offline programs ,where you have to follow the band wagon, an online program calls for a high level of self-discipline; self-independence and above all you must be self-motivated. Before choosing an institution to study for your paralegal program, you should ensure that it is approved by the Bar Association. You really don’t want to invest a whole 4 years in an institution that is not approved forcing you to go to at extra costs to get the accredited approval.
  2. The reputation of the institution – Very important. The reputation of an organization can have a make or tear effect on the institution. People’s perceptions of the institution are not just empty talk, but they give you an idea of the impression the institution has created. Before enrolling for a paralegal program, it is important that you do some research and get to hear what people say of the institution. The right people to furnish you this information are the local residents, the school’s alumni and legal practitioners.
  3. The content and nature of the curriculum – The curriculum of the paralegal course is an important aspect because believe you me, it will determine a lot whether you perform in the job market or whether you will sit pretty with your theoritical knowledge. The curriculum should be tailored to suit the professional world. An internship provision for instance is a must have in a paralegal program.
  4. Consideration for distance education – Given you are aspiring to take an on line program, you should find out how the prospective universities ‘online program operate. How often does it provide student to lecturer one on one interactions and the kind of media that is used. The mode that the online program is offered helps you organize yourself appropriately. Some of the distance learning modes used are: Web based units on the internet, Interactive video broadcasts and telecasts.
  5. Activities available to students – A paralegal job is practical in nature. Find out if the institution offers students opportunities to volunteer legal aid to the community.
  6. Available facilities – The facilities of an institution contribute a lot to seeing you succeed in the program. Check out if the school has a well-equipped legal research library and online portals with relevant information.

Universities Offering Online Paralegal Degree Programs

1. Kaplan University

  • It has professors who are legal practitioners
  • It is the largest and most reliable university that provides online learning. 6, 500 students have graduated since 2001
  • 90% of the enrolled students complete their paralegal program online

2. Saint Mary of- the- Woods College

  • It emerged number 18 in the United States News and World Reports Regional College Listings
  • It offers practical interaction between the faculty and the students because of its flexible and user friendly ration of 11 to 1

3. Liberty University

  • It is in the stop 10 universities ranked by Online Education Database

4. Keiser University

5. Tiffin University

6. Eagle Gate College

7. Grand Canyon University

Advantages of an Online Paralegal Program

  • It is convenient and suitable for people who are far away from the physical location of the university
  • Classes are flexible, either during the day or at night depending on your schedule
  • It provides learning opportunities for people who operate on busy schedules
  • Distance learning is an opportunity to get out of your cocoon and get the ropes on the information and technology world

Disadvantages of an Online Paralegal Program

  • It is strenuous for someone who is trying to get the ropes on technology
  • Distance learning can make you feel demotivated to finish the program because of the isolation factor
  • It requires a whole lot of effort to keep up and maintain current technology

Paralegals are legal assistants who carry out research on different cases then write a report on them to help the lawyers execute their work. The research can include investigating and collecting evidence. Paralegal jobs are diversified into different categories. Paralegals can choose to specialize in family law, intellectual property, real estate and bankruptcy. Bankruptcy paralegals can be employed in a law firm specializing with bankruptcy or they can simply be self employed by freelancing when it comes to preparing and filling for bankruptcy petitions for clients.

Duties of a Bankruptcy Paralegal

bankruptcy court

  • Conducting research on laws, procedures and regulations
  • Investigating the facts of a case
  • Preparing bankruptcy petitions
  • Organizing and storing information in the database systems
  • Writing reports
  • Drafting adversary proceedings
  • Drafting correspondences
  • Organizing for meetings with the clients

Pros:

  • Employment opportunities are diverse for bankruptcy paralegals ranging from self-employment and working for the private and public sector
  • The chances of getting employed are high because of the hard and fluctuating economics which unfortunately could bound most companies and individual business to need bankruptcy services
  • You are assured of growing in your career if you are working in a large firm

Cons:

  • Despite the growth chances the time you spend in law school is crazy, law school takes up to 7 years!
  • The working hours of a bankruptcy paralegal are ridiculous, more so when you are self-employed or working for a private sector.
  • The competition is stiff which makes it hard to get an admission to law schools. The bars are set high.
  • Advancing your career in small firms is hard for paralegals.
  • Paralegals do a lot of work but unfortunately they are not recognized for their efforts because at the end of the day, it is a high ranked lawyer who signs the dotted line. They get very little credit for their work.

Success begins with baby steps, which require you to take one step at a time. Being a bankruptcy paralegal places you in a better position to grow in your career to becoming a bankruptcy attorney in the near future. Paralegals work behind the scenes and do most of the dirty work to foresee the success of a case. Each opportunity is always a stepping stone, and this one can help them in networking and getting mentors of good influence impacting their careers positively.

Check out our Top Online Paralegal Programs for 2015