State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Paralegal Job Description in Alabama

Per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2012 the 2950 paralegals and legal assistants working in Alabama averaged an annual mean wage of $44,770. Those working in Huntsville made a great deal more than the state’s average salary, averaging $58,460. Paralegals working in Mobile also averaged higher annual salaries than those working in the rest of the state, at $47,320. Becoming a paralegal in Alabama requires specialized education, skills and experience. If you would like to learn how to become a paralegal in Alabama, keep reading.
 

Step 1

Complete Your Alabama Paralegal Education

Under the law in Alabama, lawyers licensed to work in the state must supervise paralegals. They need not hold any specialized education. Nevertheless, if you seek a job as a paralegal in Alabama, holding post-secondary education can only benefit you.

Alabama Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

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The American Bar Association (ABA) approves some paralegal education programs. While it is not necessary that you attend an ABA-approved paralegal education program, some employers prefer the ABA accreditation. The following paralegal educational programs in Alabama hold ABA approval:

  • South University – Montgomery:
    • Associate of Science – Paralegal Studies
  • Samford University – Birmingham:
    • Certificate – Paralegal Studies
  • Gadsden State Community College – Gadsden:
    • Associate in Applied Science – Paralegal Studies
  • Faulkner University – Montgomery:
    • Paralegal Certificate
    • Associate of Science-Legal Studies
    • Bachelor of Science – Legal Studies
  • Auburn University at Montgomery – Montgomery:
    • Paralegal Certificate Program
    • Bachelor of Science – Justice and Public Safety- Legal Studies track
    • Master of Science – Justice and Public Safety – Judicial Administration track

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Step 2

Acquire Work Experience in Alabama

Most paralegal jobs in Alabama require that you have some type of experience in the criminal justice or legal fields. Therefore, the next step in your quest to become a paralegal in Alabama is to acquire work experience. This may be incorporated into your paralegal certificate or degree program, or may be pursued outside of your education.

Volunteer and pro bono work is often the best way to gain experience in the paralegal field prior to finding a job. Examples of Alabama groups that you might want to contact to see if they could use your help include:

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Step 3

Seek Paralegal Certification in Alabama

Certification for Alabama paralegals is voluntary but recommended by the ABA and its approved paralegal schools in Alabama. There are many options for certification. Some of the most popular in Alabama include:

  • National Association of Legal Assistants
    • Certified Paralegal (CP)- you must pass an examination on these subjects:
      • Ethics
      • Communications
      • Legal Research
      • Judgment and Analytical Ability
      • Substantive Law:
        • Business Organizations
        • Contracts
        • Civil Litigation
        • American Legal System
      • Tests are given at PSI Premier PLUS Test Centers, which in Alabama include:
        • Mobile
        • Huntsville
        • Birmingham
        • Montgomery
    • Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP)- for those who already hold CP certification- you must choose from the following courses for this curriculum-based certification:
      • Business Organizations – Incorporated Entities
      • Alternative Dispute Resolution
      • Trial Practice
      • Social Security Disability
      • Discovery
      • Contracts Management and Administration
      • Business Organizations – Noncorporate Entities
      • Family Law- Division of Property and Spousal Support
      • Real Estate Principles
      • Family Law- Child Custody, Support, Visitation
      • Commercial Bankruptcy
      • Criminal Litigation
      • Land Use
      • Personal Injury
      • Trademarks

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Step 4

Alabama Paralegal Employment Information

You are now ready to search for a job as a paralegal in Alabama. Some of the state’s largest employers of paralegals, including law firms, private companies, government agencies and corporations, include:

  • Protective Life Corporation – Birmingham
  • Army National Guard – Enterprise
  • Regions Financial Corporation – Birmingham
  • BBVA Compass – Birmingham
  • Burr & Forman, LLP – Birmingham
  • Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles PC – Montgomery
  • Hand Arendall LLC – Mobile
  • Lanier, Ford, Shaver & Payne PC – Huntsville
  • Rosen Harwood PC – Tuscaloosa
  • Adams, Umbach, Davidson & White LLP – Opelika

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Step 5

Now That You’ve Become a Paralegal in Alabama

Well done! You have studied hard and worked hard and are now an Alabama paralegal! Consider becoming a member of one (or more) of the following organizations in Alabama that can help to advance your professional goals:

Baldwin County Association of Legal Professionals


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