Feel like you’re stuck in a rut at your current job? Now is the time to take control of your life by earning an associate degree in the Legal Assistant program at Ohio Business College in Sheffield Village. In just two short years you can learn everything that you will need to know to embark upon an exciting new career, while leaving behind the dead-end jobs of the past.
What kind of person becomes a legal assistant, and what kind of jobs are out there? Kara Afrates, Department Head of the Legal Studies program at OBC, explained that there are a wide variety of jobs in this career field, but all successful legal assisting students share common traits. “The legal assistant plays a vital role, working in law offices, corporations, and government offices,” Afrates said. Legal assistants help attorneys in preparing documents and handling the day to day management of the law office, and they can also work within the court system providing administrative support, such as aiding the court personnel and judges with docket and procedural paperwork, in addition to scheduling. According to Afrates, the average student who succeeds in this program is bright, has an investigative mind, is able to see the big picture, and understands the relationship between the law and the courts.
Earning a legal assisting degree consists of a few different stages of education, according to Afrates. “First there are introductory classes like Legal Terminology I and II, the students become familiar with the terms that govern the legal process,” she explained. “Then they move into what’s called substantive law classes,” she continued, “classes that teach them about personal injury law, crime and criminal procedure, estate planning, family law, and civil procedures.” The culmination of the degree involves three capstone-type courses that cover learning how to conduct legal research, training in legal writing, and then a course called legal office procedures that pulls everything together.
As far as certifications and licensing goes, students aren’t required to gain any credentials past their degree and the state of Ohio does not license paralegals. Paralegals can get a certification from the Ohio State Bar Association, which is a non-profit organization, and they can also get certifications through a non-profit called NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants), or the NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations). Still, Afrates notes that even though certifications aren’t required, they can help make a difference in the highly competitive job market: “It does give you an edge; definitely when you’re interviewing (for a job), if you have a certification it’s a big feather in your cap, it makes you stronger as a candidate.”
At the end of the day, Ohio Business College prides itself on providing students with the education that they will need to go out into the workforce and be successful, and this degree program is no different. Cheryl Jankowski, the Director of Career Services at Ohio Business College, pointed out there are a wide range of areas related to the law in which a potential graduate may work. Jankowski said that graduates of Legal Assistant program at OBC “go to work for legal offices, advocacy groups, NPO’s, and commercial debt collection, as well as working directly as administrative assistants in the justice centers and various government offices.” She added that graduates may also potentially find work in a private practice, covering every area of the law from civil litigation to estate planning to criminal defense, or even criminal prosecution with the Prosecutor’s office. Ultimately, however, earning a legal assisting degree does not have to be the end of a student’s education; it can be just the beginning. Students can utilize this program as a springboard into more advanced education after leaving OBC, including criminology, digital forensics, law enforcement, and more. If there’s one thing that the faculty of Ohio Business College would like students to know, it is that your present does not have to be your future, so take charge of your life and call OBC today.
For more information about graduation rates, median loan debt of students who completed the programs, and other important information, visit the college’s website at http://www.ohiobusinesscollege.edu/pages/consumer-information. Ohio Business College has been educating Ohioans since 1903 and offers associate degrees and diploma programs that will give students a head start filling the jobs of tomorrow, so contact OBC today at (440) 934-3101 or by visiting www.OhioBusinessCollege.edu.