master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

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Anonymous User
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master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:23 pm

looking at a master's degree from GW in paralegal studies vs. a lower tiered law school. Which degree offers the better job prospects?

http://onlinegwu.com/plx/program_overview.asp

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nealric
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby nealric » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:12 pm

You should be able to get a paralegal job with your undergrad degree. The idea of a masters seems pretty asinine to me.

If I were you, I would get a job as a paralegal now and see how you like it. You can always go to law school later.

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Bert
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Bert » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:15 pm

nealric wrote:You should be able to get a paralegal job with your undergrad degree. The idea of a masters seems pretty asinine to me.

If I were you, I would get a job as a paralegal now and see how you like it. You can always go to law school later.


Not everywhere. In some southern states and I believe in DC as well, a paralegal certificate is needed to be recognized as a paralegal (as opposed to a legal assistant), and you need to get a paralegal degree in order to get the paralegal certificate.

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prezidentv8
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby prezidentv8 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:22 pm

Bert wrote:
nealric wrote:You should be able to get a paralegal job with your undergrad degree. The idea of a masters seems pretty asinine to me.

If I were you, I would get a job as a paralegal now and see how you like it. You can always go to law school later.


Not everywhere. In some southern states and I believe in DC as well, a paralegal certificate is needed to be recognized as a paralegal (as opposed to a legal assistant), and you need to get a paralegal degree in order to get the paralegal certificate.

:shock:

Doodsmack
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Doodsmack » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:29 pm

I'm a paralegal in DC w/ no certificate, although my job is no different than what other firms call a legal assistant.

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Bert
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Bert » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:32 pm

Thanks for clearing that up.

Maybe a paralegal certificate is merely encouraged in DC then. FWIW, my brother is a paralegal in DC and needed to have a certificate in order to be considered at the firms at which he interviewed.

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SteelReserve
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby SteelReserve » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:35 pm

I think some of the biglaw firms require their paras to have those degrees. Paras at bigfirms make big money but they do work pretty hard and I do not know what the market is for biglaw paras right now; presumably it's better then the market for JDs but I doubt it's a great market.

Also, if you do decide later to go to law school, you will have an awesome in at your firm and you could go to a cheap law school and still get into biglaw. I know two people at my school that did this; the will be working for the same biglaw regional offices that they worked for as paralegals yet they have full rides at my school.

It's a great 'backdoor' to biglaw which enables you to get around the T14 issue and also avoid the T14 debt.

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Pleasye
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Pleasye » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:39 pm

I'm pretty sure there are some places where a paralegal certificate is necessary in order to be paralegal.

I doubt a masters in paralegal studies is necessary.

Doodsmack
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Doodsmack » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:44 pm

SteelReserve wrote:I think some of the biglaw firms require their paras to have those degrees. Paras at bigfirms make big money but they do work pretty hard and I do not know what the market is for biglaw paras right now; presumably it's better then the market for JDs but I doubt it's a great market.

Also, if you do decide later to go to law school, you will have an awesome in at your firm and you could go to a cheap law school and still get into biglaw. I know two people at my school that did this; the will be working for the same biglaw regional offices that they worked for as paralegals yet they have full rides at my school.

It's a great 'backdoor' to biglaw which enables you to get around the T14 issue and also avoid the T14 debt.


This is arguable; at my firm, anyway, you still need the same excellent grades that they would require of any other incoming associate. And most of the time, a top school.
Last edited by Doodsmack on Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pearalegal
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Pearalegal » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:45 pm

There are different tiers of paralegals at biglaw firms in DC. Most have 2 or 1 year paralegal programs for new grads and then another staff of senior/career paralegals who usually have a certification in a specialized area of law.

I believe many smaller firms only hire specialized paralegals, as they have the skills to take on more substantive work while also doing the more secretarial side of being a paralegal, simply because they can't afford to keep on two different paralegal staffs.

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nealric
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby nealric » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:33 pm

Not everywhere. In some southern states and I believe in DC as well, a paralegal certificate is needed to be recognized as a paralegal (as opposed to a legal assistant), and you need to get a paralegal degree in order to get the paralegal certificate.


Not in DC. My fiancee is a paralegal here with just an undergrad. AFIK there is no formal category of "legal assistant" as opposed to "paralegal".

yabbadabbado
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby yabbadabbado » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:32 pm

If you want to be a para, start applying for paralegal jobs. You definitely don't need that Master's degree to be a paralegal. My guess is that this Master's program is another recent invention to cash-in on students that don't know any better. A lot of universities are coming up with all sorts of BS Master's programs because they are big moneymakers.

If the idea of attending a lower tiered law school bothers you, try to study more for the LSAT to get a higher score the next go around, take a prep course, hire a tutor, etc.

If you are unsure about law school at all, working as a paralegal might help you decide whether its for you or not. Law school isn't going anywhere and you can always go in a couple years if you want.

I wouldn't waste money on a paralegal certificate of any kind either, unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure you need one in order to be a paralegal in your city/state.

Anonymous User
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:58 pm

Pretty sure that the original post is just an unpaid advertisement for this on-line paralegal degree.

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SteelReserve
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby SteelReserve » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:47 pm

Pretty sure that the original post is just an unpaid advertisement for this on-line paralegal degree.


Doubtful since the post invites debates over job prospects, but why so anonymous? Don't be afraid.

Renzo
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Re: master's degree in paralegal studies or law school?

Postby Renzo » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:53 pm

SteelReserve wrote:I think some of the biglaw firms require their paras to have those degrees. Paras at bigfirms make big money but they do work pretty hard and I do not know what the market is for biglaw paras right now; presumably it's better then the market for JDs but I doubt it's a great market.

Also, if you do decide later to go to law school, you will have an awesome in at your firm and you could go to a cheap law school and still get into biglaw. I know two people at my school that did this; the will be working for the same biglaw regional offices that they worked for as paralegals yet they have full rides at my school.

It's a great 'backdoor' to biglaw which enables you to get around the T14 issue and also avoid the T14 debt.

One of my classmates was a paralegal at a big NYC firm, they basically told him/her, "call us if your grades are good" when she left for law school. So I'm guessing YMMV with region and firm when attempting this "backdoor."




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