When you are a paralegal, continuing legal education (CLE) is important. This additional education ensures you are aware of the latest regulations and are properly trained. Many states have certification and registration programs with a defined set of requirements that a paralegal must meet and this includes time spent in paralegal CLE programs. The actual number of hours will be defined by your state’s program (check with your state bar association). But remember, if you choose to become registered or certified through one of these state or national programs, and fail to adhere to the requirement you cannot identify yourself as a registered or certified paralegal.
Paralegal CLE programs offer two major benefits in the legal system. To begin with, they ensure that those who are utilizing the services of a paralegal have a degree of protection from misinformation and improper handling of their case. For the paralegal, this allows them to enhance the depth of their understanding and to ensure that they don’t miss any changes to the legal system that could result in legal action if ignored.
Studies have shown in industries where learning becomes dormant and an individual goes through the process of repetitive processes, they will lose their skills and they can become less valuable in time. Paralegal continuing legal education allows the individual the chance to keep their mind active and expanding, without losing the knowledge and skill set they already have.
With that in mind, paralegal CLE programs should be chosen based on advancing your skills, not just receiving a credit or two. Professionals should remain committed in the process beyond their higher education and understand that advancing their knowledge and skill set will be important for those who are looking to become more valuable to employers, while staying competitive in a very competitive job market.