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Paralegal Programs in Louisiana – Salary and Certification

Working As A Paralegal In Louisiana

A recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the legal community in Louisiana employs over 5,000 paralegals in a variety of capacities. The metropolitan area of New Orleans in ninth in the nation when it comes to concentration of paralegal jobs for a metropolitan area. A paralegal in Louisiana is required to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. The attorney is responsible for the professional conduct of the paralegal.

Paralegal Careers
In Louisiana, there are a number of corporate legal departments as well as government agencies that employ paralegals in a variety of capacities. Law firms remain the largest employer of paralegals. Law firms often are engaged in practicing in a number of different areas of the law. This provides an environment where paralegals have an opportunity to experience a wide variety of legal work.

Requirements
A person who desires to work as a paralegal in Louisiana is not required to have any type of post-high school education. In many cases, employers require it. The majority of paralegal employers in Louisiana don’t hire individuals who haven’t completed a college program. These programs are usually approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) as a paralegal program.

Paralegal training
In Louisiana, it is possible for individuals who want to work as paralegals to begin working without any education and get on-the-job training with certain employers. Others may choose to complete a paralegal studies program prior to seeking employment. Many people who want to work as paralegals desire to have a competitive advantage. They may want to obtain the qualifications necessary to take the Louisiana Certified Paralegal (LCP) exam as quickly as possible. These people are entry-level paralegals who will enroll in an educational program. They will get a paralegal certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree. In Louisiana, it is also possible to obtain a master’s degree in paralegal studies.

Certification
The Louisiana State Paralegal Association has created a voluntary LCP exam for paralegal certification. It has been available since 1996. This exam is provided so paralegals can demonstrate their knowledge, skill and dedication to the profession. It also provides a set of professional standards for paralegals to follow. In Louisiana, when a paralegal has passed the (LCP) exam as well as the CP (Certified Paralegal) exam provided by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), they are considered a certified paralegal.

Certificate Programs
The program’s emphasis will be on paralegal studies. Any type of general educational coursework will not be required. These programs are able to help a paralegal qualify to take the national paralegal certification exam as well as the LCP exam. Individuals are advised to carefully assess any certificate program. It must provide 60 semester hours with a minimum of 15 semester hours of substantive legal courses. At the very least, the program should have been approved by the ABA.

Louisiana ABA-Approved Paralegal Studies Programs
In Louisiana, there are approved paralegal studies program at Tulane University-New Orleans. They offer a Minor, Associate of Science and a Bachelor of Science degree in paralegal studies. Tulane also offers a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal studies. Herzing University-New Orleans offers a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies as well as an Associate of Science in Paralegal. Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge also offers a Certificate in Paralegal Studies.

Louisiana Paralegal Salary
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 3,500 paralegals working in the state of Louisiana. The average salary for a paralegal was over $42,600. This is slightly lower than the national paralegal salary, which is approximately $48,300. It’s important to point out that many areas in the state of Louisiana also have a cost of living that is below the national average. Around the state, the average paralegal salary is higher in urban areas when compared to suburban or rural areas. Employment trends for paralegals in Louisiana are expected to continue growing. Positive salary and hiring trends are expected to continue for at least the next decade.

Job Outlook
In Louisiana, there has been a shift from emphasizing attorney-based labor to paralegal and legal assistant based labor. The need to reduce operating costs involved with providing legal services is the driving force behind the shift. This is expected to result in an expansion of the paralegal profession. The type of tasks given to paralegals is anticipated to diversify. This will lead to them having more significant positions in the areas where they are employed. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates an increase of more than 16 percent of employment opportunities for paralegals nationwide. The Louisiana Workforce Commission has projected an increase of over 17 percent growth for paralegal employment in the state. Urban areas are likely to provide the largest number of job opportunities. Suburban and rural law firms are also expected to experience an increase in employment opportunities for paralegals.