The Vermont Guide to Paralegal Careers

Paralegal Education in Vermont

Flag of Vermont

Flag of Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A paralegal, or legal assistant to a practicing attorney, is an excellent career field to enter these days: it’s in demand, explosive and needs only two years (less, depending on existing education) to prepare for entry-level positioning. A paralegal leads a work life of variety, of challenge, and of being indispensable. They perform substantive legal work in all areas except four. A paralegal, under the Rule of Professional Conduct 5.3, may perform the tasks of the attorney save 1) offering legal advice 2) representing herself as a lawyer 3) charging compensation for time as a lawyer might and 4) representing a client in the courtroom. In fact, many attorneys are stepping off the battlefield and into the role of support, instead.

In Vermont there is no active governing body over the paralegal field, so there are no set educational requirements to be met. Indeed, anyone can become a paralegal as long as they’re hired for the reason and it is the job title. Training can be gained in the field, but more and more prospective employers are looking not just for eagerness, but skill and knowledge before the fact, meaning those hires who come already trained are more likely to get the positions.

Salaries

In USD as of Mar 12, 2013 (source: indeed.com)30k60k90k
Paralegal in Vermont $44,000
 

Spotlight School

Education and Certification

English: Supreme Court of Vermont, Montpelier,...

Supreme Court of Vermont, Montpelier, Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A degree from a community college, a university of a proprietary school, from a two year Associate degree up to an eight year Juris Doctorate, are all perfect ways to gain the certification needed to enter the field. You can even gain a second BA or a Post-Baccalaureate certification which means you possesses a Bachelors degree in any discipline (even Underwater Basket Weaving) and entered back into the educational system with general requirements fulfilled and instead have chosen a program with intense study of Paralegal matters. Or you can forego it all if the opportunity presents itself to get on the job training. Even if the latter occurs, there are evening and weekend or online classes to help further your own skills, along with becoming Certified.

It’s important to note that certification comes with a degree, a school course successfully completed. To be titled a Certified Paralegal, one of four exams sponsored by one of three national associations needs to be passed. Only after triumphantly concluding an exam in your designated skills bracket can the brand of Certified Paralegal be claimed; even then your state might require a certain amount of job experience and the joining of an association.

The four possible exams each have with their own criteria so it’s prudent and necessary to investigate the prerequisites. There is a fee for each sitting, so be prepared for those as well. In some cases a paralegal can use experience and the sworn statement of an attorney to fulfill the test needs without further education. Most exams will require some schooling and training. The four exams and the three associations are the CLA/CP sponsored by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA); the PACE and the PCC, both sponsored by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); and the PP sponsored by the Association for Legal Professionals (NALS).

Vermont has no ABA approved schools within it borders. Fortunately, there are 20 within New York alone, one inside New Hampshire, and six in Massachusetts. It should be understood that there is considerable difference between ABA approved programs and accredited schools. The American Bar Association is a body that regulates attorneys. They know law, they know what it takes to assist a lawyer, they know what kinds of skills a paralegal needs to own before they are of genuine use to an attorney. With all their combined knowledge and experience, they have set some guidelines for what a good paralegal program needs to teach and touch on. A legal program they have affixed their seal of approval to is one attorneys know have taught what they need their assistants to have. An employee who has graduated from an ABA approved course is guaranteed competent, right out of the box. Accredited schools are those that, as a whole establishment in delivery and content, meet or exceed the requirements of an authoritative body either private, regional or national, such as the Department of Education. One commends a course, one commends the institution. It is prudent to find a school that satisfies both demands, thereby covering your education entirely.

Firms of Interest

After the hard work, the schooling and graduation, the job needs to be found. Many schools or associations will assist with job placement, but in case you feel adventurous and want to hunt down an opening yourself, by far the greatest environments to which entry-level paralegals find themselves starting out in are the big law firms. Below you will find a truncated list of the largest firms in the state, though but no means the only ones. Also consider government agencies, banks, and corporations.

Bauer, Gravel, Farnham, Nuovo & Parker
Burlington
40 College Street, Suite 100
T: 802.863.5538
F: 802.864.7779

Colchester
567 Main Street
T: 802.879.6323
F: 802.879.7045

North Hero
10 Northland Lane
T: 802.372.6904
F: 802.372.6905

Paul Frank + Collins P.C.
One Church Street
Burlington, VT 05401
P.O. Box 1307
Burlington, VT 05402-1307
T: 802.658.2311
F: 802.658.0042

Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, P.C.
P.O. Box 988
209 Battery Street
Burlington, Vermont 05402-0988
T: 802-864-5751

Gravel & Shea
76 St. Paul Street, 7th Floor
P.O. Box 369
Burlington, VT 05402-0369
T: 802.658.0220
F: 802.658.1456

Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP
111 S. Pleasant Street
PO Drawer 351
Middlebury VT 05753-0351
T: 802.388.6356
Toll Free 800.639.6356
F: 802.388.6149

Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC
90 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 99
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819-0099
Voice: 802-748-8324
F: 802-748-4394

52 State Street
P.O. Box 1072
Montpelier, VT 05601-1072
Voice: 802-225-5500
F: 802-223-2460

Courthouse Plaza
199 Main Street
P.O. Box 190
Burlington, VT 05402-0190
Voice: 802-863-2375
F: 802-862-7512

28 Vernon Street
Suite 501
P.O. Box 9
Brattleboro, VT 05302-0009
Voice: 802-258-3070
F: 802-258-4875

Important Contacts for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in Vermont

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.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Arts in Homeland Security

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

  • 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

Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from a prestigious university system—completely online.

Programs:

  • BS in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • AAS in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Crime Scene Investigation
  • BS in Criminal Justice

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