These days, one of the fastest-growing professions is that of the paralegal. A paralegal, sometimes called a legal assistant, is an essential resource for the busy associates and partners at a law firm. The job of a paralegal often requires excellence in research techniques as well as strong organizational skills. This job suits someone who desires the intellectual stimulation of law without the arduous task of passing the bar exam. One of the best ways to secure a paralegal position is to complete a legal degree with an emphasis in paralegal studies. Fortunately, many accredited colleges offer online paralegal degree programs.
The field of legal studies lends itself to online research. The database Lexis-Nexis, which is searchable online, is a powerful resource for those investigating case law. Legal students at universities often have free access to this database and find it profoundly valuable for coursework. Paralegal programs require that students learn techniques of legal research. Other courses in an online paralegal studies program include an introduction to United States law, a legal writing class and a course on legal ethics which is similar to the one that law students take. When a student progresses further in the degree program, electives like trusts and estates, torts and even sports law are offered. Much like a lawyer, a paralegal may specialize in one area of law.
Although the cost of online education is usually comparable to that of a traditional campus program, it offers many advantages. Students of online programs enjoy the flexibility of creating their own schedule and working at their own pace. They have the convenience of communicating with instructors through E-mail as well as through Web user interfaces such as WebTycho. Since many acclaimed schools with a recognized offline presence are now offering online degrees, graduating students enjoy the prestige that comes with those degrees. There is essentially no difference in online and offline paralegal studies programs except for the issue of convenience, which is greater with an online degree. An accredited online legal studies degree program is a smart choice for the aspiring paralegal.