I had to write about the articles that keep popping up in my Google alerts regarding home study paralegals. Today I received notice of an article written claiming Paralegal Home Study Advantages. Two paragraphs in particular caught my eye, they read:
“In the present day, there has been a raise in the demand of the paralegal profession. The rise in demand of such courses has led to the introduction of the paralegal home study course.” Really, where? Today I read that another large firm in San Francisco laid off dozens of attorneys and paralegals. This does not say there is a raise in the demand of the paralegal profession to me.
“The reasons behind not being able to physically attend the classes can range from the simple fact that they are far from their school of choice or they work during the day and would like to study in a homely environment in the evening. That is the only difference between home study and school study of paralegal course. One may think that the home study course is very disadvantageous but the fact is that it has advantages of its own.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to study in a “homely” environment, lol. I love my home and I would resent it being called homely. Now, my neighborhood maybe, but not my home! This same paragraph infers that the only difference between home study and school study is that you don’t have to travel to school and that home study has many advantages. It goes on to name the advantages, which, in my opinion are ridiculous. While I admit when I went to the ABA approved college program that I graduated from, that it was tough working a 40-50 hour a week full-time job and going to school in the evenings and on weekends. I had no life for 18 long months, but I loved every minute of going to school and interacting with others who felt as passionate as I did about what I had chosen to make my lifelong career. I also had a family to care for and a home and a yard, which I managed to keep running quite well by myself, thank you very much. (Could be why I am single now, I found out I can do it by myself and love it!) Sorry, got off track, back to where I was going with this.
What this article and many others like it fail to say, is that taking a home study course does not prepare you for being a paralegal and I don’t know any attorneys (well, competent attorneys) who hire home study paralegals. Actually, I did meet an attorney earlier this year who did hire a home study course paralegal (to save a few bucks) and while he was the nicest man, this “paralegal” had no clue what he was doing. He wasn’t required to intern in a law office for the home study course, (I had to do 90 hours of internship and have an evaluation to get credit for that internship), he had no idea how to put documents together to go to court, he didn’t know how to do an intake, didn’t know how to question a potential client, didn’t know how to, well, you get my drift. This attorney eventually had to let this “paralegal” go due to a costly mistake made by this same nice man.
With the economy the way it is and many paralegals and attorneys being laid off, it irks me to read these articles about how great it can be taking the paralegal home study course. These people are making money from people who have no clue how tough it is getting a job in the legal field right now.
Many paralegals with years of experience are struggling to find a decent paying job (friends and family of mine) and are being slapped in the face every day with employment adds offering only $12-$15 an hour for experienced paralegals here in California. If you know California and our high cost of living, you know that this kind of money won’t even pay your rent, let alone put food on the table if you have a family. So, if you know anyone who is thinking about taking one of these paralegal home study courses, please tell them to research online, talk to paralegals and attorneys about how tough it is right now to find work and help prevent them from throwing their money away on programs that don’t even guarantee that they will be hired.
If any of you reading this are working paralegals who took a home study course, I would love to hear from you, good or bad. I always welcome comments, after all, I am a paralegal and I love a good discussion!
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