Getting a Paralegal Certificate, is it enough?

I'm in school at Boston University. I'm almost done with my paralegal certificate. I have great grades As-Bs. The school is not ABA approved, will that hinder me getting into a good firm and make top dollar?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A paralegal certificate from a program that is not ABA certified isn't worth the paper it's printed on for most legal recruiters. It is the weakest de minimis qualification that one could present in applying for a paralegal job.

    The program may still have some personal value for you if you feel it taught you practical skills for being a paralegal, but in terms of marketability for employment, it has almost no value at all.

    I'm concerned that your program administrators may have led you astray in regard to the value of your certificate and may therefore have also lead you astray regarding what the pay is for entry level paralegals that are fortunate enought to find work in general, and in this recession in particular. For your information, the salary for entry level paralegals is on the low side of 25-35k depending on the location of the job, practice area and the resources of the employer. That was prior to the recession and it may be lower now.

    Just to put the value of your certificate in further context, in the current economy very few firms are hiring entry level paralegals as there are thousands of experienced paralegals that have been laid off that are looking for work and are willing to compete for the same jobs. In addition, among many employers that will consider hiring an entry level paralegal, there is often a preference for entry level paralegals with a bachelor degree over entry level paralegals with an ABA certified associates degree (my personal preference as well for the few times I was recruiting for an entry level position at my firm).

    Source(s): lawyer, corporate paralegal supervisor
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    What do you mean by ""with not the best reputation>" For example,are you comparing Harvard University or Rutgers with NoName Vally College???? As long as the "cheaper" college is accredited, you should have no problem.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, this is not enough in today's tough job market. These "certificates" are scams, especially if the school is not ABA-approved. I am sorry to be so blunt - I am just trying to be truthful and helpful. Yes, this will hinder you from getting into a good firm and making any money at all.

    Choosing a career is one of life's most important decisions.

    The legal profession is dramatically changing and is in CRISIS! Every year, more and more people graduate from law school, but there are fewer and fewer jobs. Even the largest and most reputable law firms are experiencing unprecedented cutbacks. I don't expect the situation to improve in the coming years.....

    Be aware of what you are proposing on getting yourself into. Please do more research first. Reminder: We are in a World-wide Recession. Consider career paths that have available JOBS.<<<<<

    Warning> Jobs in the field of Law are drying up fast!! This is just not a good field to invest time and/or money into. This is a SHRINKING, crumbling, and dying vocational field. Many reasons. We now have computers. So, many people today (mistakenly) think they can do their own legal work, thanks to the Internet. Also, there are a lot of companies out there making very efficient legal software for the field of Law. Today's graduating lawyers tend to be very computer savvy, so they just do the work themselves to save themselves the cost of overhead. Also, the "Public" buys this legal software in order to get legal work done without the cost of an Attorney. Also, we simply already have way too many Legal Professionals - we have an absolute glut!! ("Legal Professionals" includes, but is not limited to: Attorneys/Lawyers, Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Legal Secretaries, Bailiffs, Court Reporters, etc, etc)

    Sites like have taken away work that many small-time attorneys/lawyers would do.

    The field of Law has a mystique that actually exceeds reality. The field of Law is an overrated career - mostly by television. There are many myths regarding the field of Law: working as a Lawyer is mentally challenging (Actually, most work as an attorney involves routine paperwork: research, cite checking, drafting documents, and document review. Attorneys need to write down and track every activity they do, all day long [in 6 to 15 minutes increments, depending on the billing system] - a painstaking but necessary task), being an attorney is thrilling, high-powered, and glamorous (remember: television is fiction - the fictional lawyers on TV are ACTORS - the majority of work that an attorney does, does not happen in a courtroom), law students think that because they are good at arguing they will become great attorneys (actually being a great attorney is more in one's ability to mediate between differing sides and bringing them to agreement), as a lawyer I can correct injustices (actually legal decisions are more about reaching compromises than about right vs. wrong), guaranteed financial success (actually when salaries are compared, you also need to account for cost-of living expenses [most large law firms are in large cities - the bigger the city, the more cost-of-living expenses will be], payment of debts accrued while attending law school, and time needed to build a client base. Many large law firms require lawyers to work 60-80 hours per week.).

    Cost of law school to be lawyer, approx $150,000+.

    Be prepared to take on a LOT of debt.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    There are no jobs in this vocational field. My family, coworkers, friends, acqaintances, etc. have been laid off left and right in this vocational field.

    Regarding being a Paralegal: Employers (usually law firms) in the field of Law today want employees with BACHELORS degrees from traditional colleges/universities. Those "certificates" you see advertised aren't worth the paper they are printed on - they are generally scams. (I found this out the hard way.) Also, the law school's program needs to be accredited by the American Bar Association - if it isn't, you are just wasting your time/money.

    Even if you finish law school, you won't be able to find a job when you are done. Since this vocational field is shrinking, many new attorneys/lawyers are, themselves, having to work "down" as Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Legal Secretaries, Bailiffs, Court Reporters, etc, etc, to simply try to keep some of their bills paid <<this would be your competition. And the competition is fierce!!

    Now... the law schools know this, but they won't tell you the truth >that the job market/economy is just SATURATED with way too many Legal Professionals. Instead the schools will feed you a fairytale and will LIE to you. The root of the problem is we have too many law schools. We are in a recession, and the schools are fighting for their own survival - they will tell students anything to get to the students' money. (Which is why they won't tell you the truth about the job market for the field of Law.) And these schools continue to recruit and churn out even more graduates.............Remember: law schools are BUSINESSES - their top concern is making money for themselves.

    >>>>>You especially have to beware of the bogus, inflated law school salary/job stats given out by law schools!!!*****

    If you don't believe me, then just do a SEARCH here on Yahoo Answers to see what other posters are saying about the current status of the field of Law. Call some local law firms - ask to speak to the Manager of Human Resources - ask them if they are hiring; ask them what they think about job availability in the field of Law..................

    In the book "So You Want to be a Lawyer?" by Marianne Calabrese and Susanne Calabrese (ISBN 0-88391-136-1): "The United States has more lawyers than any other country in the world. About 38,000 students graduate >each year< from the 200+ law schools in the United States. The competition is very keen for jobs and clients." - Even Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (who served on the U.s. Supreme Court for more than 20 years) says there are too many lawyers. (9/14/2008)

    Check out these websites:

    (A link to a website does not constitute endorsement.)

    If you want a job when you are done with your studies, consider and look into the fields of: >>>Healthcare, Information Technology, Law ENFORCEMENT, environmentalism, emergency planning, accounting, education, entertainment, utilities, home-car-commercial-industrial repairs, vice industries, clergy, and/or debt collection! I spoke to a career counselor from Jobs and Family Services, and HE told me that these areas are where the jobs are, and future job opportunities/availability! and scholarships!

    Good luck.

    (This is based on my current knowledge, information, belief, and life experiences. This was intended as personal opinion, and not intended to be used as legal advice. Please be careful and do your research.)

    Source(s): life been there - done that have actually worked in the field of Law for twelve years also actually am an employee of a law school, so I KNOW and see (too much?!?) don't have time to watch those TV law shows - the couple that I did watch weren't realistic, at all TV glamorizes the field of Law - do your research first! - the field of Law is actually a lot of paperwork and politics - and law school is VERY expensive, so know what you are getting into wish someone would have warned ME sooner so now I TRY to warn and help others (that actually want to know, will listen and not get defensive) I am simply tired of watching students getting ripped off by law schools so many students have come to me- upset because they could not find employment- I am just trying to warn as many as I can, and trying to fulfill a promise
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