The Connecticut Paralegal Career Connection

Paralegal Education in Connecticut

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Like most states in the Union, Connecticut is witnessing a boom in the paralegal field where demand for competent, knowledgeable paralegals – or aspiring paralegal s- can find job security and many opportunities for employment. The need for those savvy in the legal system is evident: more battles are waged in the courtroom than the field these days and attorneys are vested in these fights. The call for able bodies to take their place in other facets of the legal arena then falls to those with measurable ability but a lower fee, such as a paralegal. It’s less demanding on the pay roll for a firm or agency to retain the services of a paralegal or legal assistant than it is to keep a lawyer; and paralegals are every bit as capable outside the courtroom.

A paralegal may be given many responsibilities such as interviewing witnesses, drafting legal documents, filing said documents, meeting with clients, arranging appointments, research, interpreting documents, and so forth. There are areas of specialization as well, such as bankruptcy or criminal law. One thing that can be said for the field of the paralegal is that it is not often stagnant.

Hands-on training is still a viable option for getting a foot in the door with some companies, although such positions usually offer lower salaries and fewer benefits along with fewer opportunities for advancement. While the state has no set requirements, an employer might. More and more are overlooking those who do not have experience or formal training in this demanding field. It’s always a good choice to increase personal marketability and schooling is a wise option.

Certification can be obtained by passing one of four certification exams. These exams do have some varied prerequisites, so please see the chart provided. Once passed, the paralegal then becomes a certified paralegal. In contrast, a certificated paralegal is one who obtains a certificate of course work completed from a school. Anyone who has a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline can obtain a paralegal certification by enrolling in a shorter program; alternatively, a two-year Associates Degree of Applied Sciences, or AAS, can be completed with a focus on paralegal studies for certification. A certificated and a certified paralegal are different things, so be aware of what a potential employer wants.

Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 4,560 professional paralegals in Connecticut, who enjoy a median salary of $51,000. As with the majority of states, becoming a paralegal does not require a license or any other official credentials. However, Connecticut does require paralegals to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney or firm, who then becomes responsible for the paralegal’s conduct and professionalism.

In USD as of Feb 7, 2013 (source: indeed.com) 30k 60k 90k
Paralegal in Connecticut $51,000
 

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Educational Establishments

While there is no set authority regulating the paralegal profession, the American Bar Association, which licenses, regulates and oversees attorneys, can stamp an educational institution with their seal of approval. This means that the ABA has the ability to endorse legal courses given in paralegal studies, which can gain considerable notice with a possible hirer.

ABA endorsement is not the same as accreditation, which is granted instead by the U.S. Department of Education. A school can find itself approved by the ABA, accredited through the USDOE, endorsed by both, or possibly neither. Be sure to note if one type is preferred over another when applying for a paralegal position. When in doubt, ABA endorsement always looks more impressive on a resume.

Connecticut has five schools that are approved by the American Bar Association:

Manchester Community College offers paralegal training in a two-year AAS degree. This course study requires 63-64 credit hours and does not require a mandatory internship prior to earning the degree.

Norwalk Community College provides course study for an AAS degree in their Legal Assistant Program. This institution also offers a one-year study, which is equivalent to 30-credit hours and offers a Post-Degree Certificate upon completion. For those seeking a four-year degree, transferring post-associate’s degree is available, and each of these studies requires mandatory internships.

Quinnipiac University is a private, four-year school that offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies. This degree is ample training for a paralegal profession, but can also act as springboard for graduate courses in law. A mandatory internship is required to graduate from the program with a degree.

The University of Hartford, formerly known as the Hartford College for Women, is a private school offering paralegal studies in an AAS, Bachelor of Science and a three-semester certification program. Specifically tailored to part-time, working students, many classes are scheduled on weekends and evenings. To qualify for the certification program, a student must have at least 60 undergraduate credit-hours, 30 of which must be in the liberal arts. Mandatory internships are required for the Bachelor’s program and elective for the Associate’s and certification programs.

University of New Haven is also a private institution, offering legal studies courses for an AAS degree, Bachelor of Science degree and a nine-month certification program. The certification requires 60 undergraduate credit-hours. Mandatory internships are required only for Bachelor’s degree programs.

Firms of Interest

There are a good number of firms in Connecticut hiring paralegals despite a challenging economy. Below, find a list of just a few of the top law firms in the state of Connecticut.

Cummings & Lockwood
6 Landmark Square
Stamford, CT 06091
Phone: 203-327-1700
Fax: 860-724-2161

Robinson & Cole
Robinson & Cole
280 Trumbull Street
Hartford, CT 06103-3597
Phone: 860-275-8200
Fax: 860-275-8299

Aeton Law Partners, LLP
101 Centerpoint Drive, Suite 105
Middletown, CT 06457
Phone: 860-245-8904
Toll Free: 877-412-1289
Fax: 860-724-2161

Other Resources for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in Connecticut

Campus: Online

The Berkeley Advantage®is preparing students for professional and personal successt. From career-focused degree and certificate programs offered in some of today’s most in-demand professions to extensive support resources, YOU are at the center of everything we do at Berkeley. Our commitment to students begins with their very first inquiries.

Programs:

  • AAS in Justice Studies - Criminal Justice
  • BS in Justice Studies - Criminal Justice
  • AAS, Legal Studies
  • BS, Legal Studies

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: Southington, CT

Earn your degree from Lincoln College of New England. Over 30 undergraduate programs are available in Health Sciences, Business, Communications, Hospitality, and more. Financial aid is available for those who qualify

Programs:

  • Criminal Justice (Associate)
  • Criminal Justice (Bachelor)

Campus: Warwick, RI

New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit, co-educational technical university offering over 50 Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs. As a leader in technical career education in southern New England, New England Institute of Technology (also known as New England Tech or NEIT) is committed to providing hands-on technological programs that prepare graduates for positions of leadership in the technical, industrial, business, and allied health communities. Most of our associate degree programs can be completed in as little as 18 months, and bachelor’s degree programs in as little as three years. Last year, over 3,000 students chose New England Tech for the hands-on laboratory and classroom training that provides the necessary skills to begin their technical careers.

Programs:

  • BS - Criminal Justice Technology
  • AS - Criminal Justice Technology

Campus: Online

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*

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
  • AAS in Criminal Justice

Campus: Online

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Juvenile Justice
  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Public Administration
  • Master of Science: Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science: Criminal Justice: Public Administration

Campus: Online

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University. Take classes online or on campus. Pursue your degree to help you start the career you want. Learn more now.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Paralegal Jobs in Connecticut