Struggle and Joy With Continuing Legal Education

Law school is not for the weak. Any person who has ever considered law school has had to contend with the daunting thought of the reality. Months spent indoors pouring over decades of legalese. Cramming so much information into your head that it almost physically feels like it is going to explode. Presentations for you to create and lectures for you to soak in. A breath of knowledge that is beyond most people’s ability to comprehend or even hope to pursue. This is what going to law school means. And it does not stop there. Graduating law school then leads to bar exams. Bar exams lead to daunting internships or at the very least troublesome and complex interviews with people repeatedly testing your mettle. Then there are the cases or the other work that you do. Working in law has never been and will never be an eight hour a day forty hour a week job. This is hard grueling brain work combined with high stress demands to deliver on a regular basis. In between all of that you are expected to keep educating yourself of the latest developments in law.

Continuing legal education courses, when added to this whole breath of things pulling you, might seem like an unnecessary time suck but the fact is keeping your tools, mostly your brain and ability to talk your game, in top shape is a major part of any work in law. When you decide that continuing legal education is vital for your career you will, as you have with all things in your line of work, simply make it work for you. Good lawyers are strivers by their very nature, dedicated to growing and being better. Continuing legal education is a means to that seemingly never ending end. It is the proverbial carrot on the stick dangled in front of you but always out of reach. Getting good is hard in legal work, getting great is next to impossible.

Pursuing the law as a career should be a passion. It should be something that gets your juices flowing and makes you excited to see what’s next. If you have this in you the daunting reality can almost begin to seem like a fun challenge to yourself and those around you. If you believe in what you are doing taking some continuing legal education courses should not only be a professional no-brainer it should be a personal joy.

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Online Legal Education

If you’ve ever considered a change of career and a school or university course to help you along the way, perhaps one of the courses you’ve come across is for an online legal education. It doesn’t matter what level of education or job you’re currently at, either – with an online degree, you can pretty much work at your own pace to better yourself.

This is the true beauty of an online degree, especially if it’s an online legal education degree – you can look at the courses that interest you, and choose the one that seems best suited. Then, once you’ve successfully passed the course, a whole new and exciting career awaits. It’s just one of the reasons why these types of courses are as popular as they are.

Why an Online Degree?

One of the reasons that many people choose an online degree such as an online legal education one is that it can be taken both from the comfort of your own home, and at your own leisure. Despite this, you will still be learning everything that you would expect to from such a degree, including the relevant information and legal requirements from highly qualified legal tutors.

What Online Degrees are Available?

Although you may think that studying online would limit the training you will receive, that’s not the case. As with any distance-learning course, the online legal education course usually offers both major degrees that you will need to take up a career within law:

· Paralegal degree. This will allow you to study the major fields within law, with the end result being that you can carry out court administration, documentation and research for a lawyer inside a courtroom. The good thing with any paralegal degree is that it’s one of the fastest growing areas of law employment today, so job prospects once you’ve finished your online degree are excellent.

· General law degree. This is the more advanced of the courses, and as such offers a far higher position once completed. In fact, this is normally a bachelor-level degree, so you’ll have to have proven yourself in another field of law study before taking this one. This degree will normally look at the aspects of both civil and criminal law, as well as more specialized variations such as taxations, family law, employment law, etc.

Where can you Study?

The other wonderful thing about taking a distance-learning course is that, due to you being able study from home, you can apply to any online University – you’re not tied down by location. The benefit of this is that you can make inquiries as to what school perhaps offers the best support, or best job placement rates, or similar. If you do a quick search on Google for “online legal education”, you should come up with a good choice of options for you to choose from.

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Continuing Legal Education from the Client’s Point of View

In a lawyer’s world, it is hard to find the time to satisfy all of your clients’ needs, manage professional contacts and relationships, and continue to try to gain new clients. That is one of the main reasons that Continuing Legal Education requirements have been met with moans and groans from attorneys across the country. Lawyers feel that imposing such rules is foolish, and a waste of time that could be spent working on more important matters.

But let’s take a look at the issue from the clients’ point of view. As a client, you should want the best possible attorney to represent you in any situation. The word, representation, in its nature, carries such a strong meaning. Your attorney is acting on your behalf in all legal matters that you may encounter.

Some people may measure a lawyer’s ability and expertise in different ways, but some of the most useful information when considering a lawyer to represent you is the depth of their knowledge. This comes from a number of sources that include their primary and secondary education, their experience in a given field, the success that they have had in the past, and the amount of continuing education they do. That last part, Continuing Legal Education, may seem trivial. But without it, it is hard to ensure that a lawyer is keeping up to date on new laws and changing practice areas.

With that in mind, Continuing Legal Education should be mandatory in every single state. That offers civilians a broader range of qualified lawyers to choose from that will represent them to the best of their abilities. And from an administrative point of view, the Continuing Legal Education made available to lawyers needs to be of the highest educational value and quality. Lawyers need to get the most up to date information on a variety of subjects easily and completely in order to get the maximum benefit intended through the MCLE rules and regulations.

In the end, I think everyone, even the lawyers, can agree that a high standard needs to be set in the legal profession. With that in mind, Continuing Legal Education should be held to that standard, and should provide lawyers the opportunity to continue to learn and excel in their field throughout their careers.

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The Importance of Continuing Legal Education

Paralegals are required to maintain a certain number of hours of continuing legal education (“CLE”) in order to comply with state regulations and/or requirements based on advanced paralegal certification through a national organization, such as NALA or NFPA. If a paralegal fails to maintain the required CLE hours, that paralegal is no longer in good standing and cannot be identified as a paralegal or work in that capacity. However, the legal profession is not the only profession that requires continuing education. Across the board, almost every career that requires a higher level of education, training, and experience will call for continuing education that is consistent with the level of knowledge required for that career.

Clearly, for the individual, the main motivating drive to participate in continuing education is to comply with the legal requirements of the profession in order to remain in good standing and maintain your employment. However, there are other very important reasons to participate in continuing education in any field.

Protection of the public is one cornerstone for most professional continuing education programs. Just as an attorney is required to maintain MCLE credit, the supervising attorney of a paralegal is responsible to protect the public by ensuring that the paralegal demonstrates command of the area of practice that the attorney provides to the public. Public protection is not assured simply because an individual completed the education, training, and experience required to become a paralegal, or advanced paralegal. The ever changing legal system, rules, and technology demands that a paralegal continually learn and improve their knowledge and skills throughout their professional career.

Personal growth is another very important aspect of participating in continuing legal education. By failing to keep abreast of the current legal issues and trends, the paralegal falls into the trap of becoming stagnant and repetitive. On the other side of this coin, participation in a wide range of continuing education topics will broaden the paralegal’s understanding of different legal concepts, technology, and methods that otherwise may be missed.

Continuing education is an investment in a paralegal’s future. It is important to never stop striving to achieve the pinnacle of your career. If you are a paralegal, take the next step by earning an advanced paralegal certification. Studies show that:

~ A person with a higher education and career level has a higher earning capacity.
~ A person who has a higher education and advanced certification will be selected for employment over those who do not.
~ A person who is continually learning new things about their chosen career is a more valuable employee to an employer, and more likely to have more job security.
~ A person who is continually learning has a higher level of responsibility and job satisfaction.
~ A person who remains dormant in their learning will in time lose their skills and fall behind in their career.
~ A person who is continually learning remains competitive in the job market.

Therefore, invest in your career by updating your knowledge and skills that will improve your professional competence and value to your employer. It is the key to optimizing your professional growth throughout your professional life.

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