October 18, 2017

Paralegal

The legal field is riddled with questions, ambiguity, mystery, and… well… more questions.  Well, let us break up some of the jargon and confusion into simpler terms so that you can understand things a little bit better.

Basically, there are a few different positions in the legal world that people can work.  Obviously, the first is that you will be able to become an attorney.  Being an attorney will take years and years of not only a difficult Pre-Law BS, but then you get to go to an expensive law school.  Since, you’ve parked yourself on the Paralegal page, you are probably not thinking of going this route.

Next, you have the Legal Secretary.  Basically, these are the folks who handle attorney paperwork.  If you can imagine, attorneys have to deal with mountains and mountains of paperwork, and they could not do their jobs without legal secretaries.

Last, you have the Paralegal.  This is the most common of all the positions and it is considered the backbone of the legal industry.  Paralegals are the gatekeeper, the organizer, and even person who will not only file the paperwork, but they are even licensed to do some of it as well.  Paralegals have the potential of making some excellent earnings, without having the headaches of actually being an attorney.

 

Paralegal Opportunities

If you are looking to be a paralegal then there are quite a few scholarships that you can be awarded.  Now, it should be noted that you must go to a school that is accredited by the ABA (American Bar Association).  If you do not, then not only will your opportunities dry up, but so will the scholarship funding.

Also, you will want to check out the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.  This is basically a conglomerate of all Paralegal associations in the US, and will be able to provide you with excellent scholarship opportunities.  Among them is the most famous, Thomas-West Scholarship which will grant $3,500 to qualified students who write an essay on their own fields of study and expertise.

In addition to that, there will be lots of college sponsored and private sector opportunities.  Perhaps one of the best ways to get scholarship money or even qualify for a loan repayment program is to get into an internship program early on.  If you do this, then you will be able lock down a job, possibly achieve funds from your place of work, and even be a better choice for scholarship application reviewers from your university funding awards.

Here are a few examples…

 

Several Other Opportunities

Hillsborough Community College outside Tampa administers the Tampa Legal Secretaries Association Scholarships. Qualified students may receive full tuition if they can demonstrate academic talent and commitment to the field.

The Paralegal Studies Program available through Cal State-Los Angeles offers a number of Latino students scholarships from the Law Offices of Manuel Hidalgo. Qualified students may receive partial tuition plus a small stipend for books. The Paralegal Program is part of the Extended Education program and provides a certificate in Paralegal Studies.

Chippewa Valley Technical College in Wisconsin offers a wide range of professional education programs, including a paralegal program. Scholarships available to qualifying students include:

  • Chippewa Falls Rotary Club Scholarships offer up to $300 to students in a business related track, including paralegals. Students must be local residents and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
  • A $100 scholarship is funded through the Joanne Dow Memorial Scholarship. The program is open to a business accounting or marketing student or paralegal, with preference given to those with a record of community involvement.
  • The Cheryl Janke Memorial Endowment Scholarship awards outstanding students with a $500 scholarship.

Elgin Community College in Illinois sponsors the Judge Ernest Akemann Scholarship, which is awarded to an outstanding law student or paralegal. Qualified applicants must be enrolled full-time and have at least a 3.0 GPA to be considered.

Paralegal Studies students enrolled at Roosevelt University in Chicago may be able to earn up to $3,000 in scholarship money. The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Awards are given to two winning student essays on topics related to the paralegal field. The university’s paralegal program requires students to possess a previous Bachelors degree in any major.