in north carolina can you go to school for paralegel if you were convitced of a DUI and it was your firest offense ever?
2 Answers from Attorneys
A criminal record does not necessarily disqualify you for getting a paralegal degree and even the certification. The issue will be in getting hired. Make sure you do well in your classes and stay clean at this point and be prepared to explain the circumstances of the incident when you are interviewing.
One thing a DWI conviction may do is prevent you from becoming a notary and a paralegal without a notary stamp is practically useless. Also, most people have a complete misconception about being a paralegal. It is not an easy or L.A. Law glamour job. You won't ever stand in a business suit wearing cute heels and glasses that make you look o' ever so smart while pointing out case law in a law book to an attorney who smiles and gives you a thumbs up. That's fantasy land. In real life you will be dealing with stacks of crap that need to be filed, mailed, drafted, copied, faxed etc. all yesterday. Further, in North Carolina there is no requirement that you go to paralegal school or even be certified by the bar or any other organization in order to be a paralegal. So, for all practical purposes, if you want to be a paralegal you can simply declare yourself to be a paralegal and save yourself the waste of time and money going to paralegal school. Most law firms, especially small firms are not interested in nor do they generally hire actual paralegals - what they need is legal secretaries. For a small firm, the legal training provided by a typical paralegal course is usually a detriment. Most paralegal courses provide just enough legal training for you to be annoying and not enough to be useful. Generally, only large firms and organizations would need the skills of an actual paralegal. So if you just want to work in a local law office - start interviewing now. If you want to work for a large firm or other organization - continue on with paralegal school. Either way ultimately, it will be your ability to be a notary that is the most important factor to your finding a job.
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