Statute of Limitations and Why They Matter to You

In a perfect world, there would be no limit on the amount of time that the law gives for victims to pursue justice. In some cases, such as murder, there isn’t a time limit, but for many others, such as for people that suffer injury or loss in an accident caused by someone else, the law has created statutes of limitations. The benefits of these regulations are twofold; on the one hand they to help reduce the strain on an already overtaxed court system from having to maintain evidence and enact discovery of cases long past their prime, and on the other hand it helps motivate people to do what’s right, to pursue restitution and justice for the wrongs they suffer.

The statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases in San Diego is two years from the date of the accident. That means the day you suffer injury the clock starts running, and once two years elapse you can no longer go to the courts to pursue a lawsuit. Your chance for justice has passed, and you will be left to languish in your suffering, cursing your situation and bemoaning your fate.

The exception to this rule is injuries that occur before someone reaches their 18th birthday. Children that suffer a personal injury caused by the negligence or irresponsibility have two years after they turn 18 to begin a lawsuit, otherwise the chance is lost forever.

So what does this mean to someone that is the victim of an injury caused by someone else? Well it means that you must act quickly and get started on your case. No one wants to suffer needlessly, and everyone should take advantage of the law and the opportunities it provides for people to pursue justice.

The best thing you can do if you are in such a situation is to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Once you hire a legal representative, they will take on your case and make sure that your rights are protected, you get the medical help you need, and begin to put together evidence for your case so that you can get the financial compensation you deserve. The sooner you do this, the better, because personal injury accident cases in San Diego often involve a number of legal and medical issues that can change, and these changes can influence the amount of settlement or verdict you receive later on.

None of this is possible if you fail to act quickly after your accident. Remember, if you endured pain and suffering because of a personal injury accident in San Diego, you have only two years to begin your case before the time outlined by the California statute of limitations elapses.

You have already endured so much. Don’t compound your suffering by failing to take the steps necessary to take legal action against the entity responsible for your situation. You deserve financial restitution. Don’t miss your chance for justice.

A Guide to Earning Criminally High Salaries in Criminal Justice

The legal profession is generally considered a lucrative profession. Qualified and experienced legal experts are very well paid and some of these professionals have great allowances in accordance with the very important jobs they do. People who are keen on a career in criminal justice also have a lot of viable options. This is because apart from the obvious choices of practicing criminal law, there are opportunities in a number of other areas too.

Success in the criminal justice system is based on qualification, experience and length of service on the job. For this reason, anybody who is interested in making progress in criminal law will do well to get a law degree. This is the most important qualification for careers in criminal justice. Again, a qualified lawyer is a very marketable individual because he or she can never be short of viable options.

With a degree in law and a specialization in criminal law, there is no limit to how much the lawyer in question can earn. One great option would be for the person in question to work for a reputable law firm. For lawyers in large firm, entry level salaries can be as high as $50,000 per year. This figure can rise to over $100,000 per year after a few years. Lawyers who become partners can earn even more and some star attorneys earn up to one million dollars per year. The lawyer in question can also set up his or her own legal firm after some years of working at a large legal firm. Successful lawyers in criminal law can make a fortune from practicing law if they have the right clients and if they are good at the job.

Some lawyers who have the inclination to serve the public can also get very safe and well-paid jobs in the American legal system. Some of the positions include those of prosecutors, judges and senior magistrates. In the federal court system, most judges earn over $165,000 per year. Supreme Court judges earn over $200,000 per year and judges who work for courts run by the states earn over $100,000 per year. Even with inflation and rising cost of living, these are decent salaries. There is the added advantage of job security and the fact that there is very little risk of downsizing for people who work in the criminal justice system.

It is also a fact that lawyers can work for law enforcement agencies and make good money. Senior police officers for instance earn salaries in excess of a hundred thousand dollars per year. The same thing applies to senior agents in the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It has to be admitted that these are very dangerous jobs and most people with law degrees may not want to go into a career in law enforcement. The fact is the agents and field officers in these risky professions have generous allowances and other perks to make up for the risk they take in the course of doing their jobs.

As stated already, there are many options for people who want to have a career in the criminal justice system. The options include working for courts and working for law enforcement agencies. Most of these jobs are safe but some are quite risky. In most cases, the fact is that the risk is well worth the money.

What Determines the Validity of Quit Notices in Nigeria: Technical Accuracy or Substantial Justice?

Before the first and second world wars, the relationship between the landlord and tenant was an abusive and exploitative one; the landlord wielded and exercised enormous powers over his tenant. He was entitled to evict his tenant at any time, for no reason whatsoever through the use of force or other means of self-help. He was under no obligation then to furnish the tenant with notice of his intention to terminate the tenancy or to recover possession of his premises. Also, the landlord could unilaterally increase the rent paid by the tenant and the tenant was bound to either pay the increased rent or move out of the house. The tenant was not in a position to question increment in rent however arbitrary or unjustified such increment was. This oppression, exploitation and abuse of tenants by landlords necessitated the enactment of landlord and tenant laws to protect tenants from the high- handedness of landlords.

Currently, tenants enjoy a number of protections by virtue of these laws. In Nigeria, the legislature both at the federal and state levels has enacted several laws to regulate landlord-tenant relations. Examples of these statutes in Nigeria include the Tenancy Law, 2011 of Lagos State, the Recovery of Premises Act, Abuja and the various Rent Control and Recovery of Premises Laws of the various states in Nigeria. It is because of the enactment and enforcement of these laws that it is now illegal and in fact a criminal offence to forcefully evict or attempt to forcefully evict a tenant from lawful occupation of any premises. A landlord who desires to recover possession of his premises from his tenant must apply to court for an order to recover his premises from the tenant. (see sections 16 and 44 (1) of the Tenancy Law of Lagos State,2011). It is also by virtue of these laws that a tenant can now question any increment in rent which he considers to be prohibitively high, unjustified or arbitrary. (see section 37 of the tenancy law of Lagos state).

More importantly, it is by virtue of the provisions of these laws that a landlord is mandated and compulsorily required to serve a tenant he desires to evict from his house with notices of his intention to terminate the tenancy as well as of his intention to apply to court to recover possession of his premises. For example, section 13 of the Tenancy Law of Lagos State, 2011 provides that where there is no stipulation as to the notice to be given by either party to determine a periodic tenancy, the following shall apply –

(a) a week’s notice for a tenant at will;
(b) one (1) month’s notice for a monthly tenant;
(c) three (3) months notice for a quarterly tenant
(d) three (3) months notice for a half-yearly tenant; and
(e) six months notice for a yearly tenant.

In addition to the above named notices, the landlord is also mandated to serve the tenant with a seven (7) day notice of his intention apply to court to recover possession of his premises. Also, a tenant under a tenancy for a fixed term is entitled to a seven (7) notice owner’s intention to apply to court to recover possession (see section 13 (5) of the tenancy law of Lagos state, 2011). Again, under section 14 of tenancy law of Lagos state, 2011, a licensee who is in occupation of premises is entitled to a seven (7) day notice of owner’s intention to recover possession of his premises from such licensee. It must be stressed that the purpose of requiring the service of these statutory notices on tenants by landlords is to secure the tenure of tenants as well as to prevent illegal or forceful evictions.

It is this desire to secure the tenant’s tenure and protect him from unlawful and forceful evictions that gave birth to the rule or policy of Nigerian courts that since statutory notices were designed for the protection of the tenant, any defect, deficiency, irregularity, mistake, omission or deviation however slight or trivial made or committed in relation to the issue, service, content or form of any statutory notice renders such notices invalid and of no effect. Not only that, any action, act or suit taken on the basis of such an invalid notice is a nullity and is of no effect whatsoever. It is therefore for this reason that recovery of premises under Nigerian law is very technical and demands strict compliance with the provisions of the law or else, the whole proceedings will be a nullity.

From decided cases, mistakes, omissions, defects,deficiencies, irregularities or deviations made or committed in respect of quit notices or 7 days notices which invalidates, nullifies and vitiates them include but are not limited to the following instances:

1. Where the landlord’s agent or solicitor issues the statutory notices, failure of the landlord to give the agent or solicitor written authorization to issue the notices renders such notices invalid and ineffective. Also, any act, action or suit taken on the basis of such notices is a nullity. See section 7 of the Recovery of Premises Act, Abuja, section 13 of Rent Control and Recovery of Premises Edict, Lagos, 1997. See also Wemabod Estate Ltd v. L.O. Kotun (1977) 10/CCHCJ/2319, Shittu v. LEDB (1966) L.L.R. 102, Ayiwoh v. Akorede (1951) 20 N.L.R 4, Coker v. Adetayo (1992) 6 N.W.L.R pt 249 at p. 612

2. Where the length of notice given is less than or shorter than the statutorily prescribed length of notice or shorter/less than the period agreed by the parties. See the Supreme Court decision in the case of Oyekoya v. GBO Nig. Ltd (1969) 6 N.S.C.C 69,Awoniyi & sons v. igbalaiye Brothers (1965) ALL NLR 169,Dominic Nnadozie v. Anthony Oluoma (1963) ENLR 77, MN Ugochukwu and sons v.Buraimah (1963) ALL NLR 561

3. In Abuja and some states other than Lagos, where the quit notice does not expire at the eve of the anniversary of the tenancy it is invalid and a nullity. See the cases of Papersack (Nig) Ltd v. Odutola (2004) 13 N.W.L.R pt 891, pg 509., Owoade v. Texaco Africa Ltd. (1973) 4 NSCC 61. See also UIC v. Harmond Nig. Ltd. (1998) 9 NWLR pt. 565 at p.340

4. The date of the expiry of the notice to quit must be correctly stated on the notice to quit or else the notice will be invalid. The insertion of a wrong date invalidates the notice. See Adejumo v. David Hughes & Co Ltd (1989) 5 NWLR pt.120, p.146 5.

5. Misdescription of the premises or failure to describe the premises sought to be recovered. See the cases of Oshodi v. Okafo (1975) CCHCJ 1093, Kuye v. Nwogbo (1978) 7CCHCJ 1073

6. Failure to use the prescribed form or failure/omission to include specific particulars or items of information in the notice as required by law. In Fasade v. Nwabunike (1974) 12 CCHCJ 1865 the notice omitted the words “which you hold of him as tenant thereof”, the notice was held to be invalid.

7. Failure to properly describe the tenant. A notice must properly describe the tenant and any error in this respect renders the notice invalid; see Nigerian Joint Agency Ltd. V. Match Co Ltd. (1972) NMLR

8. Inaccurate or improper description of the nature of the tenancy. Where a yearly tenancy is improperly described as a monthly tenancy or where the notice does not state the nature of the tenancy at all, the notice would be invalid. See the cases of Olaoye v. Mandilas (1949) 19 NLR 59 Giwa v fagbeyisa (1975)10 CCHCJ 16

The unfortunate thing about this judicial rule or policy that mistakes, defects, omissions or deviations committed or made in relation to the issue, service, content and form of statutory notices renders such notices invalid and a nullity is that it tends to delay and frustrate the right of the landlord to recovery of possession of his premises. The vulnerability or susceptibility of statutory notices, especially the quit notice to invalidity or nullity on account of slight or trivial mistakes or omissions presents an opportunity for unscrupulous tenants who refuse to give up possession after the expiry of their term, to frustrate and delay the smooth and speedy adjudication of the matter in court.

By employing these delay tactics, tenants elongate their tenure at the expense of their landlords. Landlords have suffered and continue to suffer and endure grave loss, injustice and hardship on account of this rigid, inflexible and unjust attitude of Nigerian courts. Many suits by landlord to recover possession from tenants have been struck out on account of trivial or slight mistakes, errors or omissions made in the issuance, service, content or form of statutory notices. It is not uncommon to see a judge throw out a landlord’s case and ask him to go and serve the tenant afresh with valid statutory notices. It is also common practice among tenants and their lawyers to unnecessarily prolong a case and thereby elongated their tenure/possession of the premises by proceeding on appeal on the ground that the statutory notices served on the tenant are invalid. In many cases, Nigerian courts uphold their appeals and rule that the judgment given in favour of the landlord by the lower court is wrong and therefore a nullity.

It is trite law that the main purpose of a notice is to bring to the attention of the person on whom the notice is effect/served certain facts, information or state of affairs. This fact is usually ignored by Nigerian courts. In all instances where notices were held to be invalid on account of trivial mistakes, it was irrelevant that the tenant might have understood the purport and effect of the notice served on him and was not in any way misled by any mistake or defect in the notice. In other words, the fact that the tenant did not suffer any loss, damage or injustice as a result of mistakes or defects in the notice is not usually considered by courts in Nigeria. This unduly rigid and inflexible attitude of Nigerian courts is counterproductive, unfair and prejudicial to the rights of landlords to recovery of possession of their premises.

This judicial policy of strict/slavish compliance with procedural formalities occasions grave injustices to landlords, defeats substantial justice and gives unscrupulous tenants the license to defraud, frustrate and exploit their landlords. It becomes imperative in the light of the above to discuss and examine what should be the overriding consideration in determining the validity of statutory notices in Nigeria, especially the quit notice.

It is our argument that a fair test or standard for ascertaining the validity of quit notice should not be based on a slavish adherence to procedural formalities. This is because this approach does not make exceptions for instances where a tenant is served with a quit notice that contains some defects or mistakes but is in fact not misled, injured or in any way prejudiced as a result of such defect or mistake. Our submission is that where the court finds that a tenant perfectly understood the purpose and effect of a notice and he is not misled or otherwise prejudiced by the defects or errors contained therein, the court should uphold the validity of the notice notwithstanding the defects. Therefore, as long as a tenant does not suffer any damage, loss, injustice, injury or prejudice on account of a defect or mistakes in the quit notice, the courts should hold such notices valid and effect. Quit notices with some defect or irregularity should only be held to be invalid where a tenant has been misled or has suffered loss, injury, damage or injustice on account of such defects or irregularities.

The proposition that courts should discountenance adherence to technicalities and do substantial justice is not alien to Nigerian law. Indeed, it is a long standing policy of courts in Nigeria that courts should not emphasize strict compliance with procedural formalities at the expense of doing substantial justice. In a long line of cases, Nigerian courts have denounced the penchant of litigants and their lawyers to use technical rules of court/law against the proper settlement of disputes in court. See the cases of Ayankoya v. Olukoya (1996) 2 S.C.N.J 292 at p.305 per Adio, J.S.C,Afolabi v. Adekunle (1983) A.N.L.R p.470 at 481, State v.Gwonto (1983) 1 S.C.N.L.R 142 page 160 per Eso J.S.C, AG Federation v. AG Abia state (2001) 11 N.W.L.R pt 725 p.689. The gist of all these decisions is that technicalities should not be used to defeat the ends of justice, that cases should not be decided on the basis of technicalities rather they be decided on their merit. According to Oputa, J.S.C in the case of Aliu Bello &13 Others v. AG of Oyo state (1986) 5 N.W.L.R pt 45 528 at p.528 at p.886 E-G,

“The picture of the law and its technical rules triumphant and justice prostrate may, no doubt, have its admirers. But the spirit of justice does not reside in forms and formalities, nor is the triumph of the administration of justice to be found in successfully picking one’s way between pitfalls of technicality”.

Also, in the case of Nipol Ltd v. Bioku Investment & Property Co Ltd (1992) 3 N.W.L.R pt232 p. 727 Olatawura, J.S.C said that

“Technicality in the administration of justice shuts out justice. A litigant sent out of court without a hearing is denied justice. A man denied justice on any grounds grudges the administration of justice. It is therefore better to have a case heard and determined on the merits than to leave the court with a shield of victory on mere technicality”.

In spite of these noble and lofty judicial pronouncements, the courts have consistently failed to disregard technicalities and strict compliance with procedural formalities and to do substantial justice in cases concerning the validity of quit notices.

Unlike their counterparties in Nigeria, however, judges in England favour a flexible approach in coming to a decision whether a quit notice is valid or not. This approach entails making an enquiry or finding as to whether the notice containing the defect in fact misled, confused or embarrassed the recipient. In other words, did the defect in question make any difference to the understanding or conduct of the recipient? In England, where the giver of a defective notice cannot cure the defect, he typically seeks to defend the notice in one of four ways:

1. He argues that the intended effect of the notice would have been perfectly clear to any reasonable recipient (this is known as the Mannai defense).

2. He argues that the defect is corrected elsewhere in the notice or by another document, often a covering letter (this is also known as “the covering letter defense”).

3. He argues that the notice is “substantially to the like effect” as the prescribed form (also known as “the like effect defense”).

4. He argues that the defect in question is a mere inaccuracy in the required particulars which does not invalidate the notice (“also known as the mere inaccuracy defense”).
These defenses will be considered briefly below.

THE REASONABLE RECIPIENT DEFENSE

In the cases of Mannai v. Eagle Star (1997) 1 EGLR 57 decided by the House of Lords, Garston v. Scottish Widows (1998) 2 EGLR 73, and York v. Cassey (1998) 2 EGLR 25, decided respectively by the English Court of Appeal, the notices served expired too early yet the courts held that these notices are valid because a reasonable recipient with knowledge of the terms of the lease would have been in no doubt that the giver of the notice wished to determine the tenancy on the correct date. The court took the view that all unilaterally issued notices are valid if they are clear enough to leave a reasonable recipient in no reasonable doubt as to how and when they are intended to operate. However, where the defective notice gives rise to confusion and perplexity, the notice will held to be invalid. This was the position of the English courts in the cases of Panayi v. Roberts (1993) 2EGLR 51, Clickex v. McCann (1999) 2HLR 6324 and Barclays v. Bee (2001) 37 EG 153.

However, it is pertinent to point out that the reasonable recipient defense (also known as the Mannai defense) has been held to be inapplicable to notices in respect of which a statutory provision requires to contain specific information. Failure or omission to include those specified particulars or items of information in the Notice renders same invalid. The Mannai defence, it should be noted, applies only where it is not an indispensable condition for the effective exercise of a right that the notice must contain specific information. See the cases of John Lyon Grammar School v. Secchi (1999) 32 HLR 820, Dalziel v. Speedwell Estates Ltd (2002) 02 EG 104, Burman v. Mount Cook (2001) EWCA Civ.1712 and St. Ermin’s Property Company Ltd v. Patel (2001) L &TR 537.

THE COVERING LETTER DEFENCE:

As has already been pointed out, a giver of a defective notice in England can raise the defense that the defect or omissions in the notice has been cured by reference to a statement elsewhere in the notice or in a covering letter. Thus, the omission of a signature in a notice has been held to be cured by a signature on an accompanying letter. Also, insertion of an incorrect date of termination has been held to be cured by the terms of a covering letter. See the cases of Stidolp v. American School (1969) 20 P & CR 802. Germax Securities Ltd v. Speigal (1999)1 EGLR 84, and York v. Casey (1998) 2 EGLR 25.

THE LIKE EFFECT DEFENCE:

Most laws which prescribe forms of notices usually provide that any deviations from the prescribed form will not invalidate the notice as long as the notice is substantially to the like effect. English courts have held that a notice that deviates from the prescribed form is not bad or invalid if the words used mean substantially the same thing as the words which should have been used. This is especially so where the notice has not misled or otherwise prejudiced the tenant. See the cases of Andrew v. Brewer (1997) EGCS 19. Tadema Holdings Ltd v. Fergusion (1999) EGCS 138, Ravenseft Properties Ltd v. Hall (2001) 13 EGCS 125.

It should be noted that this defence is also available in Nigeria. See section 31 (1) of the Recovery of Premises Act, Abuja. Section 23 of the Interpretation Act provides that a form different from a prescribed form shall not be invalid by reason only of the difference, if the difference is not in a material particular and is not calculated to mislead. In the cases of Adejumo v. David Hughes & Co Ltd, supra, and Bucknor-Maclean & Anor. V. Inlaks Ltd (1980) ANLR 184, the Supreme Court held that notices or forms that deviated slightly but not substantially from the prescribed form were good and valid in law. However, in Fasade v. Nwabunike (1974) 12 CCHCJ 1865 the notice was held to be invalid because the notice omitted the words “which you hold of him as tenant thereof”, as prescribed in the statutory form.

THE MERE INACCURACY DEFENCE:

In England, the courts hold that where a statute requires a notice to contain certain specified particulars, the notice is not to be invalidated by any inaccuracy in the particulars required or any misdescription of the property to which the claim extends. However, in the case of statutory notices, it is a question of what the statute requires. Errors in parts of the form which are irrelevant to the circumstances do not matter but the notice to be valid, must set out fully and accurately those particulars which are necessary for it to perform its statutory functions. See “Notices: when is a defect not a defect?” by Jonathan Gaunt and Nichola Cheffings for more detailed discussion of English law on defective notices.

In conclusion, the rule of Nigerian law that any mistake in a notice, however trivial renders it invalid produces unjust results. Where a mistake or omission in a notice does not mislead or confuse the tenant, the notice should not be invalidated. Nigerian courts should always inquire as to whether the tenant understood the purpose and effect of the notice and whether the tenant was or was not in fact misled or confused by any mistake or omission contained therein. This way, unscrupulous tenants will be prevented from frustrating and exploiting their landlords.

The decision of the supreme of Nigeria in the case of Nigerian Joint Agency Ltd. V. Arrow Engineering and General Transport Company (1970) 1 ALL NLR 324 indicates that there is hope that Nigerian courts will stop sacrificing justice on the altar of technicality. In that case, the date of the termination of the tenancy was erroneously stated to be 1st June 1967 instead 31st May, 1967 in the seven day notice. The supreme nonetheless held the notice to be valid. The Supreme Court was satisfied that while the plaintiffs should have put the date of the determination of the tenancy as 31st May 1967, the defendants had not in any way been prejudiced by the act of the plaintiffs in putting the date one day later I.e 1st June 1967.

So You Want a Criminal Justice Career?

There are very few careers in today’s economy that offer as much employment security as law enforcement. A criminal justice degree creates an excellent foundation for anyone who is seriously considering a career in the industry. Many states require its officers to have a minimum of an associate degree, often offered at the community college level.

Criminal justice degrees are also well established at most traditional four-year universities. Major universities do not operate as criminal justice schools per se, but most colleges have a criminal justice program as a subset of the Sociology department. Always remember that criminal justice originates from a social need, as opposed to a legal need. This validates the broad application of criminal justice degrees, as many of the individuals working in the myriad government agencies have begun or upgraded their employment paths in this manner.

The curriculum in the bachelor degree programs tend to be more comprehensive and will often supply a better understanding of the process and the underlying social compact theories that impact the need for the combination of enforcement agencies. This is not to imply that many individuals have not been very successful by combining two-year criminal justice degrees with previous experience in the industry.

With the explosion of the internet, we have also seen an increase in the number of online schools that deal specifically with the academic area and may offer a better “hands on” training than the purely academic universities. For the student who is intent on this type of career, the streamlined programs may be more appropriate.

Another consideration for online criminal justice training is the opportunity to study at home, within the limits of the student’s personal time. Many students also work while “attending” classes and the latitude to study at home without the distractions that formal schools present can be a very important feature. The students are often already working in the criminal justice field at the entry level and doing professional upgrade to establish a better opportunity for advancement. Normally, promotions in this arena are done within the rank and file of the particular agency, though that is not always the rule.

For an individual to begin their criminal justice career in a managerial position they are normally only considered if they have at least a bachelor’s degree. But, that is not always the case. This area of education is commonly filled with non-traditional students. A non-traditional student is someone who does not enter college immediately upon high school graduation. There has been a general and steady increase in non-traditional education since the implementation of the NAFTA treaty, normally due to the current bleak employment landscape.

This scenario is also another reason for anyone to pursue this endeavor. Regardless of the national employment climate, there is a pressing need for workers in the law enforcement field. Many people do not want the pressure or danger that may be associated with this type of career, which lessens the competitive nature of any discipline. Every established community in America, regardless of size, has a need for trained individuals who understand the law in terms of authority and the rights and liberties of every citizen.

For the individual who has already been trained in legal protocol through the agency in which they work, like a local police department requiring each of its ranking officers to have a basic training certificate, a criminal justice degree serves to enhance the capability of the individual. It helps to establish a proven track record, along with the proof of an individual’s personal drive and seriousness. The ability to complete a long-term project simply for the improvement of personal qualification is often the most impressive accomplishment of any student.

Employment in the criminal justice system is regularly considered to be a government occupation, though that may not always be the case. There are many private corporations around the world who hire special company agents specifically for the purpose of internal control. Private sector specialists are prized employment opportunities and generally stem from previous experience in the field.

Regardless of public or private sector, there are few careers more noble or exciting.

Choose a Criminal Justice College Instead Of Falling For the Law School Swindle

For as long as anyone can remember, having a law degree was the ticket to a high salary and heaps of respect. In a crushing article written by the New York Times, the writer interviewed recent law graduates and revealed the dirty truth behind what many people call a prestigious degree. Despite this indictment of law schools and the reality of the graduates, we need people trained in the law in order to keep America safe from the inside out. A criminal justice college might just be the ticket to this balance.

The truth about law degrees today:

  • Statistics offered by the American Bar Association (ABA) in conjunction with the National Association for Law Placement say that 93% of law graduates were working nine months after graduation – even if the job was NOT in law.
  • U.S News statistics can be easily “massaged” by each institution, but are still approved by the ABA.
  • High tuition and low-cost makes law schools the “cash cow” of higher education.
  • No impartial bodies check to see if surveys taken by U.S. News Report for Law School Rankings are sound, leading many to assume that colleges “massage” numbers for better rankings.
  • Four years of undergraduate school and another three years of graduate school plus the added thousands of dollars and extra months after graduating to take the bar exam.
  • With the U.S recession, hundreds of law firms around the country had to downsize and suspend promotions.

So what are some alternatives for a career that involves law studies and will only incur a small portion of the debt that many law graduates have?

Paralegal

A paralegal is basically the jack-of-all-trades assistant to a lawyer. He or she will do the administrative duties of keeping documents on file, researching for cases, drafting up important documents and helping the lawyer prepare for important trials and other cases. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected growth of 13 percent by 2018 in this career field with a median salary of $46,129 and the top 10 percent making more than $73,450. Most paralegals have earned an associate’s degree or completed a certificate training program after another related undergraduate degree through a criminal justice college. Many continue with a graduate master’s degree also through a criminal justice college.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

These men and women are trained to protect workers, the environment and property from harm by conducting safety inspections, designing safe work places and making public spaces safe for people and the environment. They also help to keep a business efficient when it comes to employees and equipment. They must have an in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations. There is a projected growth of 11 percent by 2018 with a median salary of $62,250 and the top 10 percent earning more than $93,620 (BLS). Most of these specialists will have a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related field like chemistry or engineering. A certification from a related credentialing organization in the field is not required, but encouraged, by employers. Those that advance to leadership positions generally have a lot of work experience and an advanced degree.

Claims Adjuster and Examiner

The person that deals with an insurance holder’s claims filed with their insurance company for business or personal claims. They investigate, validate and negotiate settlements between the insurance company and the claimant. Anywhere from a medical claim to a natural disaster, claims adjusters are the bridge between the person and the insurance company. Job opportunities are expected to be about average for 2018, with growth at a steady 7 percent with median earnings at $55,760 and the top 10 percent earning more than $84,260. Education requirements are not as strict – although employers might show preference to a college-educated candidate. It would be beneficial if the degree was in a related field, such as medicine or business. Continued training in certain fields is necessary for advancement. For example, a medical claims adjuster needs to be up to date on the latest medical advances and legislation.

Career options are not limited for those that may want to be in a field related to law, but do not want to risk the high tuition of a law school. These three options require knowledge of law and legal studies, but do not have the student in school for an expensive education that can last years. A respected and accredited criminal justice college will prepare you for any of these careers. These days the options are getting even wider with the availability of criminal justice colleges online.