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)30k60k90k
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

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  • 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

CTU could help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional community, faculty who are real-world professionals, and innovative technology. And several CTU degree programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Programs in 2017.

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  • Doctor of Management - Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Human Services
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

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.

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  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Campus: Online

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

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Campus: Online

Want to take your career to the next level? Salem University Online is the perfect place to start. Study online, from anywhere, and gain the skills you need to succeed.

Programs:

  • BA Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
  • Associates of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • BA Criminal Justice - Administration of Justice
  • BA Criminal Justice - Corrections
  • BA Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

Campus: Online

  • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
  • As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.

Programs:

  • Doctor of Criminal Justice - Policing
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice - White Collar Crime
  • Master of Legal Studies
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

Campus: Online

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.

Programs:

  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security

Campus: Online

Violent extremism poses a serious threat to the safety of our citizens and the security of our nation. Military professionals, like you, who understand violent extremism and can develop strategies are critical to our defense. Nichols College is proud to support your efforts with a low cost way for active duty and reserve military personnel to earn a Master of Science in Counterterrorism.

 

Our reduced tuition for current service members aligns cost with your Federal Military Tuition Assistance — $250 per credit hour, up to $4,500 per year. Complete the 30-credit program in less than two years at no personal expense, or invest to graduate sooner!

 

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Counterterrorism