State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Paralegal Job Description in Arkansas

The Arkansas Labor Market Information Source, Discover Arkansas, has projected that between the years 2008 and 2018, job opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants in Arkansas will grow by a whopping 23.6 percent. This projection equals an annual addition of 56 paralegal jobs to Arkansas’ job market during that decade. Students who wish to discover how to become a paralegal in Arkansas should be happy with this positive projection. Paralegals in Arkansas require education and experience in order to effectively perform duties in the assistance of attorneys. If you wish to know how to become a paralegal in Arkansas, read below.
 

Step 1

Complete Paralegal Education in Arkansas

Arkansas paralegals must have education in many areas of the law in order to effectively assist attorneys and lawyers. Paralegal schools in Arkansas may offer certificates or degrees upon the completion of studies. Courses in a paralegal program will include general legal courses and optional legal specialty courses. Examples of knowledge and skills you will learn in an Arkansas paralegal program include:

Arkansas Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

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  • Business organizations
  • Preparing simple motions
  • Contract law
  • Preparing simple court orders
  • Torts
  • Interrogatories
  • Criminal law
  • Complaints
  • Wills, trust and probate
  • Legal memorandum
  • Family law

Less than 25 percent of all paralegal schools across the United States are accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Arkansas paralegals need not be graduates of schools accredited by the ABA), but some Arkansas employers of paralegals require that potential employees are graduates of ABA-accredited paralegal schools. Additionally, if you wish to go on for further education after obtaining a certificate or degree in paralegal studies, some colleges require that students be graduates of ABA-accredited paralegal schools in order to accept credits you earned there. ABA-accredited paralegal programs in Arkansas include:

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Step 2

Gain Work Experience in Arkansas

Your Arkansas paralegal studies program may incorporate a work experience component, or internship. This is a great way to earn valuable paralegal work experience while still a student. If your school does not offer such a program, consider volunteering with a legal services or pro bono organization. In Arkansas, these include:

  • Arkansas Legal Services Partnership – includes:
    • Legal Aid of Arkansas- headquarters in Jonesboro with branch offices in:
      • Little Rock
      • West Memphis
      • Newport
      • Mountain View
      • Helena/West Helena
      • Harrison
      • Springdale
    • Center for Arkansas Legal Services- headquarters in Little Rock with branch offices in:
      • Russellville
      • Fort Smith
      • El Dorado
      • Pine Bluff
      • Hot Springs
    • Justice for Arkansas AmeriCorps - Jonesboro

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Step 3

Seek Optional Paralegal Certification in Arkansas

Certification for paralegals in Arkansas is strictly voluntary. It is recommended by most advocacy groups for paralegals in Arkansas, such as the Arkansas Paralegal Alliance and the Arkansas Paralegal Association. The National Association of Legal Assistants, or NALA, offers two popular certifications for paralegals:

  • CLA or CP (Certified Legal Assistant, also referred to as Certified Paralegal) – this is the entry point for certification with NALA. It involves passing an examination, offered three times annually in January, May and September. Arkansas exam locations include:
    • South Arkansas Community College – El Dorado
    • University of Arkansas Fort Smith – Fort Smith
    • University of Arkansas at Little Rock- Little Rock
    • North Arkansas College - Harrison
  • APC (Advanced Paralegal Certification) – also offered by NALA, this certification is for paralegals who have attained CP or CLA certification and worked for a while. It is designed for paralegals who wish to become certified in specialty practice areas like:
    • Business organizations
    • Real estate principles
    • Trademarks
    • Personal injury
    • Land use
    • Criminal litigation

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Step 4

Find a Job as a Paralegal in Arkansas

Paralegals in Arkansas do not just work for law firms and the courts. Corporations, non-profit agencies, government organizations, and private industry may all hire paralegals to assist in legal work. In Arkansas, employers of paralegals may include:

  • Walmart Corporate Headquarters– Bentonville
  • Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, P.A. – Fayetteville and Little Rock
  • Mitchell Williams Law Firm – Little Rock, Rogers and Jonesboro
  • Delta Dental of Arkansas – Sherwood
  • Windstream Communications – Little Rock
  • SourceGas - Fayetteville

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Step 5

Now That You Have Become a Paralegal in Arkansas

Congrats! You are now a paralegal in Arkansas! If you hold certification with NALA, you must make sure to complete the necessary Continuing Legal Education (CLE) to maintain that certification. Even paralegals in Arkansas who do not hold certification can benefit from taking CLE. Courses that have CLE designation and are currently being offered by the Arkansas Paralegal Alliance include:

  • Ethics
  • Public Interest Law Insight
  • Criminal Law- DUI Defense
  • Public Speaking/Presentation Tips and Tricks
  • What is Legal Research?

Additionally, contemplate joining an association of Arkansas paralegals such as the ones below. They can help you in career advancement, networking and CLE:

Arkansas Paralegal Association

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