Washington D.C. Career Planner for Paralegals

Paralegal Education in Washington D.C.

English: The flag of Washington, D.C. Česky: V...

The flag of Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The District of Columbia is known to have the greatest concentration of paralegals in the country per capita; over 6,000 of them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2010 survey. For the full decade from 2002-2012, paralegals as a career field enjoyed the Top 40 Growth Occupation in D.C. It makes sense that the field is so in demand and the career so popular in what we like to consider our nation’s seat of power and justice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims the field will continue to grow well into 2018, with 250,000 new jobs opening.

A paralegal, or legal assistant, is usually a trained legal professional with substantive skill and knowledge of the legal sector and precedents. They adhere to a strict code of conduct that states no paralegal works outside of direct supervision of an attorney, never represents herself as a lawyer or charges for time as a lawyer, never gives legal advice and does not represent a client in the court of law. Otherwise, a paralegal can do just about anything a lawyer does, making them very desirable to employers who pay a fraction of an attorney’s fees for the same quality of work. Becoming a legal assistant is a career in its own right, no longer viewed as a stepping stone to becoming an attorney at law. The Rule of Professional Conduct present in every state (or District) adjudicates each assistant works under a supervising, practicing attorney who agrees to instruct the paralegal on professional ethics, confidentiality, and who becomes wholly responsible for an assistant’s professional conduct.

Salaries

In USD as of Mar 12, 2013 (source: indeed.com) 35k 70k 105k
Paralegal in Washington $54,000
 

Spotlight School

Becoming Certificated or Certified

Washington DC: United States Supreme Court

Washington DC: United States Supreme Court (Photo credit: wallyg)

There is quite a difference between being certificated and being Certified: certificated is what a paralegal becomes once the program is completed and the diploma -or certificate- is earned. It can be an Associates degree, a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree or a Post-Baccalaureate certificate. It can even be a Juris Doctorate or a secondary Bachelor’s degree. On the other side is the Certified Paralegal, a title that can only be claimed after a successful passing of a national exam. There are four exams showcasing a paralegal’s skills and core competencies and they are sponsored by one of three national paraprofessional associations. Requirements per exam vary, so refer to the chart beforehand. These exams and their sponsors are:

Choosing a School

The question of where to pursue higher learning is just as important as the choice to pursue it at all; there are criteria to consider and certain catch words that will grab an employer’s attention. The ABA, or American Bar Association, offers its approval to those paralegal or legal programs that meet its rigorous requirements. A legal program that is ABA approved is more desirable and more marketable than one that is not. In fact, some states and employers demand ABA approval, as the training results are markedly more thorough. An accredited school can be just as important; accreditation in granted by a private, regional or national authority that in essence proclaims the integrity of the school’s method of teaching and delivery. It is highly recommended that the aspiring paralegal choose an ABA approved program taught in an accredited school. D.C. has one ABA approved school on its soil and many more in neighboring areas.

Georgetown University in the District of Columbia is a four year school offering a certificate program in Paralegal Studies.

Associations

Over the years many local and national paraprofessional associations have grown up in an effort to enforce the professionalism and visibility of the legal assistant. Joining an association is recommended and can provide further education in the form of workshops and seminars, pro bono work to assist in community ties and the support of other paraprofessionals, job banking, and a general sense of seriousness concerning the career choice. (Or even if it is not a career choice.) Employers and other paraprofessionals look favorably upon it and many employers will even reimburse for association fees. There are the three national associations listed above, and some will even take students as members. Two more to consider for those paralegals living in the D.C. area are:

Law Firms of Interest

A paralegal has many choices when it comes to a workplace; they are hardly confined to law firms; but firms are understandably where a legal assistant looks for work especially when just entering the field. The D.C. area has a number of possible employer firms though many schools and associations also provide job placement assistance.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld
Robert S. Strauss Building
1333 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036-1564
T: 202.887.4000
F: 202.887.4288

Arent Fox
1717 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
P: 202.857.6000
F: 202.857.6395

Arnold and Porter
555 Twelfth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-1206
T: 202.942.5000
F: 202.942.5999

Covington and Burling
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004-2401
T: 202.662.6000
F: 202.662.6291

Crowell and Moring
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595
T: 202.624.2500
F: 202.628.5116

Dickstein Shapiro
1825 Eye Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia
20006-5403
T: 202.420.2200
F: 202.420.2201

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP
1800 M Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036-5807
T: 202.778.1800
F: 202.822.8106

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
1875 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
T:202 663 6000
F: 202 663 6363

Paralegal Schools in Alabama

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)
  • Master of Law in Compliance

Campus: Online

WELCOME TO KAPLAN UNIVERSITY

Online Education That Fits Your Life

For 80 years, we’ve been preparing students for career success. We’ve led the wayso that our students can too.

Globally Renowned Purdue to Acquire Kaplan University

Purdue University, one of the nation's most respected universities, will acquire Kaplan University and create a new, nonprofit, public institution within the Purdue system. Pending regulatory approvals, this exciting transition is expected to take place later this year. This change will be seamless—during the transition, you will still be able to enroll at Kaplan University, earn a high-quality education, and meet your educational and career goals.

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

Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

Programs:

  • Criminal Justice Certificate
  • Applied Criminology (Master of Arts) - Online
  • Criminal Justice (Doctorate) - Online
  • Behavioral Crime Analysis Certificate
  • Jurisprudence with concentration in Legal Studies (Bachelor of Science) - Online