The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of individuals employed as paralegals and legal assistants will rise 28 percent between 2008-2018 – a much larger increase than most professions. Hiring in the paralegal profession has remained strong despite a weak overall economy, as employers and clients seek to improve efficiency in the delivery of legal services.
At the same time, competition for paralegal jobs has become more fierce, as more paralegal programs have sprung up around the country, and the economic climate has forced many individuals in other fields to seek new professions with more positive employment outlooks, such as the paralegal profession.
Based on an annual survey, Paralegal Today magazine reports that, in 2010:
→ Law-firm paralegals earned an average annual salary of $50,730
→ Corporate paralegals earned an average annual salary of $63,566
Paralegals also are employed in many other contexts, including federal, state and local government; state bar associations; and nonprofit organizations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report on “Paralegals and Legal Assistants” notes that most entrants into the paralegal field have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, or a certificate in paralegal studies combined with a bachelor’s degree in another field.*
The BLS report also notes that having formal educational training in the paralegal field, particularly from an American Bar Association-approved program, “can enhance employment opportunities.”*
The Eastern Kentucky University paralegal program is one of approximately 260 ABA-approved paralegal programs (out of over 1,000 paralegal programs overall) in the United States. The ABA requires ABA-approved programs to go through a rigorous review process, ensuring that the programs meet the ABA’s stringent requirements for program quality.