I currently hold my MBA; however, I am interested in obtaining a paralegal certificate. With your current expertise and experience, what could I do with the two????
I’m going to preface this response by saying that I am always going to be a strong proponent of education. I think school is great and if you have the money and the time I can’t think of anything better than getting an education. Having said that, I also believe that getting some times just because you hold certain degrees or certificates, you are not going to be guaranteed a position. I don’t know where you live but I can tell you that in New Jersey and a few other states a paralegal certificate is not a requirement to get a paralegal job. A college education, however, is required by most employers.
My suggestion to any paralegal who lives where a certificate is not a requirement and has a college degree is to go and find a position at a small law firm where you will be exposed to a variety of areas of the law. When I started my career I worked in a two lawyer firm and did everything from legal secretary work to file clerk to paralegal. I figured out pretty quickly what area of law I was interested and began improving those skills. I would also recumbent that you read, read a lot and write a lot. Start a blog, write short stories, summarize newspaper articles. Once you are comfortable don’t be afraid to ask your attorney to let you get your feet wet in summarizing depositions for him or draft motions. Learn what each of the documents looks like and start drafting your own. Then ask your attorney to review them. Impress the attorney and you will get to where you want to go. Being a paralegal is hard work and you can never just sit still, keep moving.
The above reader also told me that, not only does she have an MBA but she already works at a bank. So my advice in her case would be to look internally. Apply for an internal position in the legal department and learn everything you can. Since you already have your MBA why don’t you consider taking the Certified Paralegal Exam.
I am not discrediting an education in paralegal studies. However, I am saying that if you already have an MBA. What you will get out of a paralegal course will be no more than what you will receive from on the job training. I am a strong proponent of regulating the profession via a national certification and I will discuss this at a different time.
I encourage you to work with a law firm or in-house at the bank you are currently employed. Get all the experience you can for a few years and then reassess if you still want to be out on your own.
Hope this helps. Let me know what you decide.