A Paralegal Career Guide for Nevada

Paralegal Education in Nevada

The Flag of the State of Nevada

The Flag of the State of Nevada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The paralegal occupation in Nevada is still modest but is experiencing a period of growth with relatively good pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nevada has about 1,640 working legal assistants. The majority of these are located in the state’s urban areas, especially Reno and Las Vegas. On a national level, paraprofessional jobs are expected to experience a 28% increase, with an estimated 70,000 new paralegal jobs created by 2017.

The mean salary for a paralegal in Nebraska is currently quite good at about $51,350, with an average hourly wage of $24.69. This puts Nevada close to being among the top-paying states for legal assistants. The majority of paralegals in the state – about 75% — work for law firms, although corporations and government entities employ legal assistants as well.

The Nebraska Supreme Court Rule 187 doesn’t define a paralegal; however, it does state that all licensed attorneys must supervise and take legal responsibility for their assistants. Like all states in the US, Nebraska allows only licensed lawyers to practice law – paralegals are prohibited from giving legal advice or representing a client in court without the direct supervision of an attorney.

Nevada does not yet provide any official licensing or certification requirements for paralegals. Instead, aspiring legal assistants can earn a Paralegal Studies certificate or degree at a school, or become a paralegal informally via on-the-job training. However, most working paralegals who hold a certificate or degree from an accredited and endorsed program are given preference when applying for jobs. If a working legal assistant is looking to earn an official certificate, they may be able to receive financial support from their employer.

Paralegals in Nebraska earn their certification when they pass an approved certification exam from either the National Association of Paralegals (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). The National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS) also offers a certification exam. Note: while paralegals who have gone through an education program earn a certificate from the institution, they are not a “certified paralegal” until they pass one of these exams.

For additional support in the legal assistant marketplace, paralegals or paralegal students should also consider becoming a member of a local organization, such as the Las Vegas Valley Paralegal Association. These professional groups provide a number of benefits to their members, including exclusive employment opportunities and valuable networking with other paralegals.

Salaries

In USD as of Feb 21, 2013 (source: indeed.com) 25k 50k 75k
Paralegal in Nevada $44,000
 

Spotlight School

Educational Establishments

The headquarters of the Supreme Court of Nevad...

The headquarters of the Supreme Court of Nevada in Carson City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When seeking a paralegal education, it’s a good idea to choose a program that has been endorsed by the American Bar Association (ABA), which also provides oversight, regulation and licenses of attorneys. An approval from the ABA proves that the college or program offers a quality and credible education, and many employers will only hire paralegals with a certificate or degree from an ABA-endorsed program.

Another factor to consider when looking at education options is a school’s accreditation status, which is independent of the ABA endorsement. Learning institutions are accredited by the US Department of Education which reviews colleges and universities for legitimacy and ethical values. Many employers require a certificate or degree from an accredited school, in addition to an ABA-endorsed program, or may require only one or the other, or even have no requirements at all. For the most employment opportunities, however, it’s best to attend a school that is both accredited by the Department of Education and endorsed by the ABA.

There is currently only one paralegal school program in Nevada that is endorsed by the American Bar Association:

Truckee Meadows Community College is public community college located in the city of Reno. It offers an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in it paralegal/law program. According to this school, graduates of the program rank in the “90th percentile” in the National Association of Legal Assistants’ exam.

Firms of Interest

Nevada is home to dozens of prestigious law firms, especially in the Reno and Las Vegas areas. Some of these firms have multiple locations throughout the region. A few are listed below:

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (with locations throughout the southwest region)
50 West Liberty Street, Suite 1030
Reno, NV 89501
Phone: 775-622-9450
Fax: 775-622-9554

Fisher & Phillips LLP (with locations throughout the US)
3800 Howard Hughes Parkway Suite 950
Las Vegas, Nevada 89169
Phone: 702-252-3131
Fax: 702-252-7411

Bailey Kennedy
8984 Spanish Ridge Avenue
Las Vegas, Nevada 89148
Phone: 702-562-8820
Fax: 702-562-8821

Other Resources for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in Nevada

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