Claim your Career as a Paralegal in Colorado

Paralegal Education in Colorado

Flag of Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The paralegal field is enjoying rapid and wide growth these days, projected to expand 28% more and create a whopping 74,000 additional jobs. The reason for the swell is economically based: attorneys charge exorbitant fees. It is cheaper for an employer to pay a full time paralegal – and pay him well – than it is to retain the services of a lawyer. What was once an attorney’s task has now been appointed to the able-bodied paralegal, providing a rich source of varied specialties and responsibilities.

In Colorado alone over 5,000 paralegals were employed in 2010, claims the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of those were in metropolitan areas such as Denver and Colorado Springs. In keeping with other states, the paralegal field is not under a regulatory authority, meaning anyone can become a paralegal if the opportunity presents itself, no special training required. However, it is strongly recommended that higher learning is attained through either a two year Associate Degree in Applied Sciences or, if a Bachelor’s degree is already owned in any other discipline, a certificate of completed paralegal course work. While on-the-job training is perfectly acceptable lower wages, fewer benefits and less potential for advancement are often the results.

A candidate can further distinguish herself from colleagues by passing one of four specialized exams that also earn a certificate. This is different from paralegal schooling; the exams showcase experience and knowledge in the field, often creating a higher demand for the holder and a better salary. Anyone who finishes the two-year degree or the paralegal certification is a certificated paralegal. Only those who pass one of the four exams presented by a variety of national-level institutions are certified. Many employers do not understand the difference, so it is important to clarify with a potential hire.

Salaries

In USD as of Feb 6, 2013 (source: indeed.com) 25k 50k 75k
Paralegal in Colorado $41,000

Spotlight School

Educational Establishments

Denver - Civic Center: Colorado State Capitol

Denver - Civic Center: Colorado State Capitol (Photo credit: wallyg)

The American Bar Association, or ABA, is a renowned organization to whom all lawyers answer. They have stringent requirements regarding which schools they endorse and which legal courses they approve. ABA approval is not the same thing as accredited, as the U.S. Department of Education has to do with accreditation. Paralegal schools can be ABA approved, accredited, both or neither. As there are no hard and fast rules on who can be a paralegal, none of it is essential at all; but employers may have their own list of desirable attributes so it is recommended that ABA approval and accreditation is considered when choosing a school. When in doubt, enquire of the potential employer or go with what you know is most marketable. Colorado has three ABA approved schools:

The Community College of Aurora offers a paralegal program 30-semester credit hour certification program and an Associate Degree of Applied Sciences (usually a two year program). If the finisher of the AAS degree desires to go on to a BA, the community college has a transfer program to meet that end. This school does require 135 supervised work hour experience for course completion, so internships are mandatory.

Kaplan College, formerly known as Denver Career College, formerly known as Denver Paralegal Institute, is a private institute that acquired ABA approval in 1979 and offers a day program that can be completed in six months, and an evening course that can be completed in eleven months. They offer career placement assistance to graduates and employ practicing attorneys as teachers. You will need a degree already for this school (it is post-degree certification) and internships are mandatory.

The Arapahoe Community College is a public, two-year school that has been ABA approved since 1977. It offers a good mix of degrees and certification: an AAS in paralegal studies, post-BA certification, post-AAS certification, and a certificate based on five years completed legal experience but without other formal training, as approved by the Program Director. Certificates take one year to complete and AAS degrees take two years. Internship is mandatory. Licensed attorneys teach the day and evening classes and the school offers assistance in job placement upon graduation. It will also transfer two-year programs to a four-year school if the student desires to go on to a BA in paralegal studies.

Firms of Interest

Law firms are huge hirers of paralegals in Colorado. Research local firms to determine your own employability as compared to their requirements and your own offerings. The following is a truncated list of law firms in the Colorado area.

Hogan Lovells is a large firm with many offices worldwide. Two offices are in Colorado.
One Tabor Center, Suite 1500
1200 Seventeenth Street
Denver, CO 80202
Tel: +1 303.899.7300
Fax: +1 303.899.7333

Suite 1300
Two North Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Tel: +1 719.448.5900
Fax: +1 719.448.5922

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
1550 17th Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202
Tel: 303.892.9400
Fax: 303.893.1379

Berg Hill Greenleaf & Ruscitti LLP
1712 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Tel: 303.402.1600
Fax: 303.402.1601

1525 17th Street
Denver, CO 80202
Tel: 303.402.1600
Fax: 303.402.1601

Kutak Rock
1801 California Street
Suite 3100
Denver, CO 80202
Tel: 303.297.2400

Other Resources for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in Colorado

A degree from CTU can connect you to a powerful professional network, faculty who are real-world professionals and innovative technology. So once you earn your degree, you hit the ground sprinting. That’s the power of in. Are you in?

Programs:

  • Colorado Springs - Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice: Human Services
  • Colorado Springs - Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice

Campus: Online

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

Programs:

  • Criminal Justice (BS) (Online)

Campus: Online

WELCOME TO KAPLAN UNIVERSITY

Online Education That Fits Your Life

For 80 years, we’ve been preparing students for career success. We’ve led the wayso that our students can too.

Globally Renowned Purdue to Acquire Kaplan University

Purdue University, one of the nation's most respected universities, will acquire Kaplan University and create a new, nonprofit, public institution within the Purdue system. Pending regulatory approvals, this exciting transition is expected to take place later this year. This change will be seamless—during the transition, you will still be able to enroll at Kaplan University, earn a high-quality education, and meet your educational and career goals.

Programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology 
  • Associate of Applied Science In Public Safety and Security 
  • BS in Corrections
  • Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Services
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement

Campus: Online

Hofstra University is a private institution whose primary mission is to provide a quality education to its students in an environment that encourages, nurtures and supports learning through the free and open exchange of ideas for the betterment of humankind. Hofstra University is committed to academic freedom and to the transmission, advancement and preservation of knowledge for its own academic community and the community at large.

Programs:

  • Online Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy

Campus: Greeley, CO

Are you un-employed, under-employed or looking for a stable career where you can make a real difference? Well then, you have come to the right place.

At locally-owned and nationally accredited IBMC College, you can train for a rewarding, new career, all in as little as 6-23 months! With nearly 20 program options to choose from, at nearby campuses, you will find the path that is just the right fit for you.
 

Programs:

  • Associate-Paralegal

Paralegal Jobs in Colorado