Career Options for Oregon Paralegals

Paralegal Education in Oregon

Flag of Oregon (obverse): The flag was adopted...

Flag of Oregon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now is an exciting time for the paralegal profession, both in the state of Oregon and across the country. Nationally, paralegal jobs are on the rise as law firms seek to save money by hiring more legal assistants to perform the tasks traditionally carried out by lawyers. In fact, current estimates expect paralegal jobs to increase in the US by about 28% by 2018. In Oregon, the paralegal profession is thriving and growing as the state’s population continues to expand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 2,170 working paralegals are located in Oregon, with the majority working out of Portland, Bend and other cities in the state.

The current annual average salary for legal assistants in the state of Oregon is currently modest at about $52,270, with an average hourly wage of $25.13. Most of the state’s paralegals are hired by private law firms, although hospitals, large corporate offices and government branches employ legal assistants as well.

Paralegals in Oregon are not required to have a license, although it is strongly encouraged. While paralegals may prepare legal documents and assist a lawyer at trial, they are prohibited from giving legal advice. Licensed attorneys in Oregon must supervise any legal assistant working under them and are legally responsible for all professional conduct. Like in all US states, paralegals and all non-licensed lawyers in Oregon are prohibited from practicing law.

There are a few ways for aspiring legal assistants to start a paralegal career in Oregon. They can earn a formal education at a school program, or earn the paralegal title informally through training at their place of employment. Paralegals that carry a certificate or degree from a school program, however, are usually given preference when applying for employment opportunities. For working paralegals without an official certificate or degree, some employers may be willing to provide support to pursue an education.

In Oregon, aspiring paralegals earn their certification when they pass an approved national certification exam. There are several paralegal exams available, and are provided by a few different organizations including the National Association of Paralegals (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and the National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS).

Salaries

In USD as of Feb 28, 2013 (source: indeed.com)30k60k90k
Paralegal in Oregon $44,000
 

Spotlight School

Educational Establishments

(Old) Ogle County Court House

(Old) Ogle County Court House (Photo credit: jimmywayne)

When searching for the right school program, aspiring paralegals should consider studying at a program that has earned approval from the American Bar Association (ABA), which not only provides oversight of practicing attorneys, but also endorses law programs and colleges that have met its strict requirements. An official endorsement from this influential organization helps prove a program’s, and by extension its students’, credibility and high academic standard. Because of this, many law firms and other employers only hire applicants who have earned their degree or certificate at an ABA-endorsed program.

Another school credential to consider is its accreditation status, which is different from an ABA endorsement. School accreditation is provided by the US Department of Education and ensures that a learning institution is both legitimate and ethical. In addition to an ABA-endorsed school, many employers also require applicants to graduate from an accredited school. Some paralegal employers may have few, if any, education requirements for legal assistants, but for the most employment opportunities, it’s ideal to attend a school that is both accredited by the Department of Education and endorsed by the ABA, if possible.

There are currently two paralegal school programs in Oregon that are endorsed by the American Bar Association:

Pioneer Pacific College offers its students an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and a Bachelor’s Degree through its Legal Studies program. The Bachelor’s program focuses on substantive law and management and takes 130 weeks to complete, while the AAS degree takes 70 weeks to complete. Internships are mandatory.

Portland Community College is a 2-year public college that offers a 90-credit Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and a 45-credit Certificate through its Paralegal Studies program.

Firms of Interest

Oregon is home to many law firms, most of which are concentrated in and around cities such as Bend and Portland. A few prestigious ones are listed below:

Angeli Law Group LLC
21 SW Morrison Street
Suite 400
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 503-954-2232
Fax: 503-227-0880

Beery Elsner & Hammond LLP
1750 SW Harbor Way, Suite 380
Portland, OR 97201-5106
Phone: 503-226-7191
Fax: 503-226-2348

Cosgrave Vergeer Kester LLP (with offices in Bend and Portland)
500 Pioneer Tower 
888 SW Fifth Avenue 
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 503-323-9000
Fax: 503-323-9019

Other Resources for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in Oregon

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

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.

Programs:

  • 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

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.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

Programs:

  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Generalist
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Corrections and Case Management
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Homeland Security and Crisis Management

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

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

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

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