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  #1  
Old 01-03-2017, 05:41 PM
mxpyacymmzy mxpyacymmzy is offline
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Default Thinking about becoming a Paralegal

Not really sure what thread to put this in, but I am thinking about becoming a Paralegal and then eventually becoming a prisoner's rights advocate. My question is, does anyone have experience with getting your AA or BA in paralegal studies in one state and then practicing in a different state? I currently reside in Minnesota because I have family here, so I am currently attending school in Minnesota and would like to earn my BA in Paralegal studies, but would like to move to California in the future and practice there. I am aware that California standards are a lot different than Minnesota's, but has anyone experienced something like this or can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks a ton!
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:19 PM
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There's no 'practicing'. A paralegal works under the supervision of an attorney. A paralegal cannot represent anyone or provide legal advice. While a paralegal can draft legal documents and conduct legal research, one cannot act as an attorney anywhere, any how, any way.
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:28 PM
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Here's a link to a paralegaledu.org web page that explains the licensing requirements for a paralegal in California. Check to see if your college credits earned in Minnesota will transfer to CA. The actual school you are attending in MN may make a difference.
http://www.paralegaledu.org/california/
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:34 PM
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As I said above, it doesn't matter where you go to school. A paralegal does not engage in the practice of law. Some CA paralegals have a sort of license but it's not required there. There is a test that can be taken to become certified but again, that isn't necessary to work as a paralegal in any state either.

Outside of CA, to work as a paralegal you just have to have the appropriate schooling/degree and some experience.

Basically, a paralegal is a glorified legal secretary who does a little bit more.
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:35 PM
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When there's no licensure, you can only try to persuade a potential employer that you'll catch up or take a crash course or you are really good in a particular area.
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimuay View Post
When there's no licensure, you can only try to persuade a potential employer that you'll catch up or take a crash course or you are really good in a particular area.
Not all states require or even have a licensing option. My state doesn't. And most don't care if you are certified nationally or not.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:36 PM
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I understand - I'm 3/4s of the way through a BS in paralegal studies. When last I heard, only Cali had licensing of PAs. One way or another, though, each state is legally idiosyncratic, so Federal is the only 'universal' field.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:42 PM
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I've been working as a paralegal in KY since 2005 and got my BS in '07. First with an appellate judge and now in the public defender's office.

I love it.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:19 PM
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If you're getting a BA, think about doing it in history, literature, philosophy, or something similar, and then taking the LSAT and heading to law school. Then you can practice (after the bar, of course, in states that require the bar)
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:19 AM
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Thank you guys for the information. I've been stuck on this for a while because I couldn't figure out how I would be able to work as a paralegal in CA if I went to school for it in MN. I also decided to email the ABA and the lady that emailed me back cleared things up. Thanks again for the help!
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:44 AM
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I took an associates degree program for paralegal in VA. Most states do not have a "practicing or registered" requirement for paralegals since paralegals DO NOT practice law. Check with the CA Bar Association for specifics on that state.
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Old 01-05-2017, 01:06 PM
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Thanks. I should've mentioned that I understood that paralegals do not practice law and works under a lawyer, I should've used a different word. And it looks like the requirements in CA are a lot different than MN. In CA, I would need at least a BA, be certified, and have 1 year experience working under a lawyer that has practiced under CA law for at least 3 years to be able to get into better firms.
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