Have you ever considered a rewarding career in the legal field? Becoming a paralegal in New Hampshire could be the perfect path for you. With diverse job opportunities and a promising outlook, the paralegal profession in the Granite State offers both challenge and fulfillment. In this guide, we will help you navigate the journey to becoming a successful paralegal in New Hampshire, providing valuable insights on education, certification, experience, and networking opportunities.
What you’re about to learn in this guide:
Become a successful paralegal in New Hampshire by pursuing educational programs, attaining certification and gaining experience.
Enhance job prospects with national certifications or ABA-approved courses, while staying up to date on legal developments through continuing education.
Expect an average salary of $54,550.
Path to Becoming a Paralegal in New Hampshire
The journey to becoming a paralegal in New Hampshire involves several steps. These include choosing a suitable education program, acquiring certification, and amassing practical experience through internships or volunteer work. As the legal field progresses, the demand for proficient and informed paralegals also grows. Setting out on this path ensures that you are prepared to cater to the requirements of law firms, government agencies, and corporate legal departments in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire doesn’t enforce specific legal prerequisites for becoming a paralegal. However, gaining substantive legal knowledge is crucial.
To become a thriving paralegal in New Hampshire, you should consider taking the following steps:
Choose a suitable educational program in paralegal studies to gain the necessary knowledge and skills.
Attain certification to demonstrate your expertise to potential employers in both the public and private law sectors.
Garner experience through paralegal internships or volunteer work to enhance your practical skills and build a strong professional network.
By following these steps, you can increase your chances of success as a paralegal in New Hampshire.
Paralegal Education Options
In New Hampshire, paralegal education options range from certificate programs to associate and bachelor’s degrees, with online options available for added flexibility. New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI) offers an Associate in Science in paralegal studies, with the option to pursue the degree on a full-time or part-time basis. Many legal courses are offered in the evenings, allowing you to balance your education with other commitments.
Another highly regarded institution, Nashua Community College, provides an Associate of Science (AS) degree in Paralegal Studies, requiring 60 to 61 credits, as well as a 28-credit Paralegal Certificate. Graduates of these programs are expected to possess essential skills such as conducting analytical legal research, organizing case materials, and composing legal documents. Both the Associate of Science and Certificate programs have a two-year completion timeline.
While options for paralegal programs within New Hampshire may be limited, nearby states such as Maine, Massachusetts, or Vermont also offer paralegal programs, including bachelor’s degree programs. Moreover, online paralegal programs serve as an alternative study method for those interested in the paralegal profession in New Hampshire.
Although certification is not required for paralegals in New Hampshire, obtaining national certification can enhance your employment opportunities and showcase your proficiency. The New Hampshire Paralegal Association advocates for national certifications for paralegals residing in the state. These certifications, such as the Certified Paralegal (CP) and Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants, demonstrate your expertise and dedication to the paralegal profession.
While only one paralegal program in New Hampshire has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), ABA approval is not necessary to work as a paralegal in the state. However, opting for an ABA-approved program can further improve your credentials and increase your competitiveness in the job market.
Amassing practical experience in the legal field is essential for enriching your resume and increasing your competitiveness in the job market. Participating in internships, volunteering, and working in legal aid programs allow paralegals to gain valuable experience and knowledge. These experiences not only foster the development of essential skills but also facilitate the building of connections with other professionals in the field, potentially paving the way for future job prospects.
To gain experience as a paralegal in New Hampshire, you can pursue a paralegal internship at law firms, volunteer at legal aid programs, or work in a law firm. In addition, continuing legal education courses help you stay informed about the latest developments in the field, ensuring that you remain highly skilled and competitive in the job market.
The Role of Paralegals in New Hampshire
Paralegals play a significant role in the legal field, providing valuable support to attorneys and law firms. Under the supervision of licensed attorneys, paralegals perform various tasks such as:
researching case history
The New Hampshire Supreme Court defines paralegals as nonlawyer assistants, and their responsibilities are governed by Rule 5.3, which mandates that lawyers must provide sufficient oversight and instruction on ethical and confidential matters.
As a paralegal in New Hampshire, you will have the opportunity to work in diverse practice areas, including hampshire paralegal jobs in:
Real estate law
Your role will be instrumental in helping law firms and attorneys provide efficient and cost-effective legal services to their clients.
Legal Research and Writing
Legal research and writing serve as core skills for paralegals in New Hampshire. Paralegal programs usually include courses such as Legal Analysis, Research and Writing, and Basic Legal Studies to arm you with the necessary competencies. These skills are fundamental for carrying out comprehensive legal research, drafting legal documents, and assisting attorneys in preparing cases.
In addition to formal education, paralegals can further enhance their legal research and writing skills by attending seminars, workshops, and continuing legal education courses. Staying up-to-date with the latest legal developments and honing your skills in these areas will help you become an invaluable asset to your legal team and contribute significantly to your firm’s success.
Client interaction forms a significant part of a paralegal’s role, involving regular communication with clients and updating them about developments in their cases. Robust communication and interpersonal skills are fundamental for paralegals in New Hampshire, given their role as the initial point of contact between clients and the legal team.
In addition to excellent verbal and written communication abilities, paralegals must also demonstrate loyalty, independent judgment, and empathy for clients’ issues. By building strong relationships with clients and ensuring their needs are met, paralegals contribute significantly to the success of their legal team and the satisfaction of their clients.
Paralegal Employment Opportunities in New Hampshire
The paralegal profession offers diverse employment opportunities in New Hampshire, with positions available in law firms, government agencies, and the corporate sector. As the demand for skilled and knowledgeable paralegals continues to grow, you can expect to find a range of job openings in various industries and practice areas.
In addition to traditional law firms, paralegals in New Hampshire can find employment in state and local government agencies, legal departments of businesses, and community legal service organizations. With a solid educational background, certification, and practical experience, you will be well-prepared to excel in any of these settings and contribute to the success of your legal team.
Law firms are the largest employers of paralegals in New Hampshire, offering a diverse range of practice areas and work environments. As a paralegal in a law firm, you will support attorneys in various aspects of their work, including legal research, drafting documents, trial preparation, and client communication. Some of the top law firms in New Hampshire that employ paralegals include The Crosby Company, Boulay Law Firm, LLC, Lothstein Guerriero, PLLC, Foy Law Office, PLLC, and Backus Meyer & Branch, LLP.
Working in a law firm provides paralegals with the opportunity to specialize in specific areas of law, such as:
Real estate law
Intellectual property law
By gaining experience and expertise in a particular practice area, you can further enhance your career prospects and contribute significantly to the success of your firm.
Government agencies in New Hampshire offer paralegals the opportunity to work in public service and contribute to the legal system. Paralegals in government agencies support attorneys in researching and preparing legal documents, providing legal advice, and assisting with litigation and other legal matters.
Some of the government agencies in New Hampshire that hire paralegals include:
State of New Hampshire
Office of Professional Licensure and Certification
Division of Enforcement
Other local, state, and federal agencies
Working in a government agency allows paralegals to make a positive impact on their community and gain valuable experience in various aspects of the legal system.
Corporate sector paralegals work in-house for businesses and corporations, handling legal matters such as contracts, compliance, and intellectual property. These paralegals are responsible for researching and preparing legal documents, providing legal advice to the organization, and assisting with litigation and other legal matters.
In New Hampshire, notable companies that hire paralegals include BAE Systems, Granite Health, and McLane Middleton. Additionally, there are job openings for paralegals in industries such as real estate and healthcare. With a strong educational background and practical experience, you can excel in the corporate sector and contribute significantly to the success of your organization.
Paralegal Salary and Job Growth in New Hampshire
The salary and job growth for paralegals in New Hampshire indicate positive trends, with an average income of $54,550 and a projected job growth of 14%. As per the May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor statistics salary for a paralegal in New Hampshire is $50,640. However, keep in mind that local conditions may vary, and the data provided does not pertain specifically to school information.
Paralegals in New Hampshire can expect an estimated job growth rate of 2% over the two-year period from 2019 to 2021. This is a positive outlook for employment in the field. With a solid education, certification, and experience, you can expect to find a range of job opportunities in the paralegal field and enjoy a rewarding career in New Hampshire.
Top Paralegal Programs in New Hampshire
Top paralegal programs in New Hampshire include traditional, hybrid, and online options, with ABA-approved programs available for quality education. Institutions like Nashua Community College, New Hampshire Technical Institute, and Franklin Pierce University offer highly regarded paralegal programs in the state, providing students with the necessary education and training to excel in the paralegal profession.
Choosing a top paralegal program guarantees the quality of your education and prepares you adequately for the job market. Regardless of your preference for a traditional, hybrid, or online program, these institutions provide a variety of options to meet your needs and assist you in achieving your career objectives. To find the best fit for you, it’s essential to search paralegal programs and compare their offerings.
Traditional programs at institutions like Nashua Community College and New Hampshire Technical Institute offer evening courses, internships, and ABA approval, providing students with a comprehensive education in paralegal studies. These programs equip students with essential skills such as legal research, drafting legal documents, and trial preparation.
In addition to a solid curriculum, these programs also provide students with valuable networking opportunities and access to job resources. By attending a traditional paralegal program at a reputable institution, you can be confident in your education and well-prepared to enter the competitive job market.
Hybrid and Online Programs
Hybrid and online programs, such as Franklin Pierce University’s Certificate in Paralegal Studies, provide flexibility and eligibility for national certification. These programs allow you to balance your education with other commitments, making it easier to achieve your career goals.
Franklin Pierce University’s online undergraduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies offers a comprehensive curriculum, including courses such as:
Corporate and Business Law
Graduates who possess a bachelor’s degree from a bachelor’s degree program can apply for the National Certification Exam organized by NALA (National Association for Legal Assistants). Passing this exam is the requirement to become a legal assistant in certain states.
By pursuing a hybrid or online paralegal program, you can gain a quality education and increase your competitiveness in the job market.
Professional Development and Networking for Paralegals
For paralegals in New Hampshire, professional development and networking entail ongoing legal education and membership in paralegal associations. Keeping abreast of the latest legal developments and refining your skills in your chosen field are vital for staying competitive in the job market.
In addition, networking with other professionals in the field can lead to valuable job opportunities and help you stay informed about changes in the industry.
The Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH) is a valuable resource for paralegals in the state, providing a range of professional development and networking opportunities, including CLE events, social events, and up-to-date information in the field. Additionally, PANH offers a job bank for members, granting them access to job postings from employers in the legal sector.
By engaging in professional development and networking activities, you can enhance your career prospects and contribute significantly to your success in the paralegal profession.
Continuing Legal Education
Continuing legal education opportunities help paralegals stay updated on legal developments and maintain national certifications. The Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH) offers CLE events for paralegals in the state, providing them with the chance to stay informed on the most recent legal advancements and to interact with other paralegals.
By participating in continuing legal education courses, you can ensure that your knowledge and skills remain current and relevant to the demands of the legal field. This not only makes you more competitive in the job market but also enables you to provide the best possible support to your legal team and clients.
Paralegal associations, such as the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH), provide the following benefits for paralegals in the state:
Job resources Membership in a paralegal association grants you access to valuable resources, including:
Ongoing legal education events
Opportunities to connect with other professionals in the field.
Membership in a paralegal association offers several benefits, including:
Demonstrating your commitment to the profession
Staying informed about changes in the industry
Enhancing your career prospects
Contributing significantly to your success in the paralegal profession
By actively participating in paralegal associations and engaging in networking and professional development activities, you can take advantage of these benefits.
In conclusion, the journey to becoming a successful paralegal in New Hampshire involves obtaining the right education, certification, and experience, as well as engaging in professional development and networking activities. With a variety of educational options, diverse job opportunities, and a positive job outlook, embarking on a career as a paralegal in the Granite State can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding professional life. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be well-prepared to excel in your chosen field and contribute significantly to the success of your legal team and clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What qualifications do you need to be a paralegal in the US?
To become a paralegal in the US, you will need at least an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree from an ABA-approved program. An optional certification such as NALA’s CP exam can also be beneficial. In addition, there may be state rules that you must follow to qualify.
What is the average salary for a paralegal in New Hampshire?
The average salary for a paralegal in New Hampshire is around $54,550.
What are the primary employment opportunities for paralegals in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, paralegals have the opportunity to find employment in a variety of organizations, such as law firms, government agencies, and corporate businesses.
What are the benefits of pursuing national certification as a paralegal in New Hampshire?
Pursuing national certification as a paralegal in New Hampshire can open new employment opportunities, showcase your skills and expertise, and give you a competitive edge.