Working as a paralegal in New York can be very rewarding. New York City is the center of finance and commerce in the country. Law offices handle cases that typical law firms in other cities only seldom see. You can also expect a higher pay, attractive benefits, as well as exciting travel opportunities if you become a paralegal in New York and work for a big law firm.
Aside from these advantages, there are other benefits to practicing as a paralegal in New York. For one, New York has yet to establish specific requirements for those who want to work as paralegals in the state. However, there are certain recommendations given by the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations or ESAPA for those who wish to work as paralegals in the city.
Minimum Requirements for Paralegal Positions
In order to become a paralegal in New York, you have to have the minimum requirements for entry into the professional paralegal field. According to the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations, the minimum education criteria for entry into the paralegal profession include:
- a post bachelor’s degree or paralegal certificate
- a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, or
- an associate’s degree in paralegal studies
Other factors may make an applicant look more appealing to employers, although they are not strict requirements. They include in-house training or work experience as a paralegal or a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree that does not include specialized paralegal coursework. Although these can be considered extra factors that applicants can use for their benefit, these alone are not considered adequate to prepare an individual to enter the paralegal profession. ESAPA also recommends that practicing paralegals complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing legal education every two years. However, this is merely a recommendation, and some law firms may not require this from their employees.
Most law firms now accept online applications, although they can vary in their application requirements. In most cases, the applicants may need to provide copies of their diploma or certificate. Some firms require applicants to have more than two or three years of paralegal experience in order to be eligible for application. Larger firms may have different requirements for various paralegal positions. For example, if you are applying for a position as a toxic tort paralegal, you may be required to have more than three years experience in toxic tort law.
If you want more assistance in looking for paralegal jobs in the greater New York area, you can also contact the New York City Paralegal Association for references. If you enroll in an ABA-approved paralegal program, most of the schools that offer these programs have career assistance and placement services that are designed to help new graduates land jobs in law firms in the state. Most of these schools provide lifetime assistance to paralegals including resume building, networking, interview preparation, career counseling, and the like.