Elements of an Illinois Paralegal Career

Paralegal Education in Illinois

Flag of Illinois, from the xrmap flag collecti...

Flag of Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state of Illinois has a thriving, if competitive, paralegal population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois has about 9,820 working paralegals. The majority live in the state’s cities, especially Chicago, which is also home to many top schools for Paralegal Studies. Because they are a cost-effective alternative to lawyers for certain tasks, paraprofessional jobs are expected to experience a 28% increase, with 70,000 new jobs in the next 6 years.

The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct states that only attorneys licensed by the state may practice law. Paralegals cannot provide legal advice and may only function under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney, who is legally responsible for their professional actions while employed. Paralegals in Illinois may also be authorized to work under a court or other governmental authority.

The state of Illinois does not provide official licensing or certification requirements for legal assistants. Instead, aspiring paralegals can take a Paralegal Studies program at an institution, or gain paralegal status through on-the-job training. In general, Illinois paralegals holding a certificate or degree from an accredited and endorsed school have the leading edge when applying for jobs over those who receive only informal training. For those receiving on-the-job training, however, some employers may provide help in the pursuit of a formal paralegal certification.

Paralegals receive their certificate or degree when they pass an approved certification exam. For additional options and benefits, paralegals or paralegal students should also consider joining an official organization, such as the Illinois Paralegal Association.

Salaries

The current mean salary for a paralegal in Illinois is very good at about $50,000, with a mean hourly wage of $24.79. The largest employer of paralegals is the legal services industry, with the government and investment sectors also hiring legal assistants.

In USD as of Mar 3, 2013 (source: indeed.com) 30k 60k 90k
Paralegal in Illinois $50,000
 

Spotlight School

Educational Establishments

Springfield - Illinois Supreme Court Building ...

Springfield, Illinois Supreme Court (Photo credit: myoldpostcards)

The oversight, regulation and licenses of attorneys, as well as the endorsement of programs and colleges of law is provided by the American Bar Association (ABA) An approval from the ABA offers proof of quality and credibility, and many employers only hire paralegals with a certificate or degree from an ABA-endorsed program.

The US Department of Education provides a school’s accreditation, independent of the ABA endorsement. Many paralegal employers require applicants to carry a certificate or degree from an accredited institution, which proves that their education was ethical and legitimate. Some employers may only require an ABA endorsement, but many require both. If possible, it’s a good idea to attend a school that is both accredited by the Department of Education and endorsed by the ABA.

Illinois currently has 17 paralegal school programs endorsed by the American Bar Association, including public, private and both 4 and 2-year institutions.

Roosevelt University  is a private 4-year institution located in Chicago and Schaumburg, Illinois. Its Evelyn T Stone School of Professional Studies consistently ranks among the top schools in the region for its Paralegal Studies Program, which includes a BA with a Paralegal Certificate, and two Post-Baccalaureate Paralegal Certificate programs. Internships are elective

DePaul University Continuing and Professional Education offers a 17-week Paralegal Studies Certificate Program and is also located in Chicago. It is a private institution that was founded in 1898, and is currently the largest private university in the state.

Illinois State University is a public, 4-year institution that offers several degrees in its Legal Studies Program, including a 120-hour BA or BS Paralegal degree, a 24-hour Post-degree certificate and a 60-hour Paralegal certificate without a Bachelor’s degree. Internships are mandatory.

Loyola University Chicago has an Institute for Paralegal Studies that includes a program for a Certificate in Paralegal Studies and a program for a Corporate Practice Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Paralegal Studies in this private institution involve traditional and online classes as well as an optional internship.

Robert Morris University is a private 4-year institution with locations in both Springfield and Chicago. This school offers an Associate of Applied Sciences Paralegal certificate through its Paralegal Studies program.

Southern Illinois University is a public institution located in Carbondale, Illinois. It offers a Paralegal Studies program that includes major, minor and Pre-Law tracks (minor in Paralegal Studies is not ABA-approved).

The 2-Year Institutions listed below can be cost-effective alternatives to the larger universities. Their Paralegal Studies programs generally entail 60 hours for a certificate, with 24-hour certificates available for Post-degree students. Their Paralegal Studies programs also often include internships.

College of DuPage
College of Lake County
Elgin Community College
Illinois Central College
Kankakee Community College
Midstate College
Northwestern College Legal Studies
Rockford Career College Paralegal Program
South Suburban College
Wilbur Wright College
William Rainey Harper College

Firms of Interest

The state Illinois is home to dozens of prestigious law firms, with most concentrated in Chicago and other urban areas. Several law firms also have multiple locations both regionally and nationally. Below are just a few of these firms:

Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP
161 North Clark Street, Suite 2600
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Phone: (312) 621-9700
Fax: (312) 621-0909

Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione (with offices nation-wide)
NBC Tower, Suite 3600
455 North Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-5599
Phone: 312-321-4200
Fax: 312-321-4299

Brown & James PC Law Firm (with offices in the Midwest region)
Richland Plaza 1
525 West Main Street
Suite 200
Belleville, IL 62220
Phone: 618-235-5590
Fax: 618-235-5591

Other Resources for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in Illinois

Campus: Online

National Louis University is one of the oldest and most progressive universities in Chicago. We offer more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through two colleges: the National College of Education and the College of Professional Studies and Advancement.

Programs:

  • B.A. in Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice Administration

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

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

Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions. Degrees are offered with a curriculum that is in pace with technology and workforce demand trends in business, criminal justice, health care, information technology and more. Our “one-class-at-a-time” approach allows busy students to focus on their education and balance the demands of work and family.

 

Why Keiser University Online?

   

Online Convenience, Personalized Attention

Programs:

  • Criminal Justice, MA (Online)

Campus: Online

Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Laws - American Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies*

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