State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Paralegal Job Description in New Jersey

According to data gathered in May 2012 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), New Jersey is the third-highest paying state in which paralegals work. That year, they averaged a mean salary of $58,050. This salary can be increased by paralegals in New Jersey who obtain additional education, experience and certification, as New Jersey currently has no mandates for paralegals in these areas. To discover how to become a paralegal in New Jersey, read on.
 

Step 1

Embark Upon Paralegal Education in New Jersey

Most New Jersey employers prefer that paralegals hold a certificate, associate or bachelor degree in paralegal studies, criminal justice or a closely related field.

New Jersey Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

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American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal programs are popular in New Jersey. However, because New Jersey does not mandate education or training for its paralegals, attendance at an ABA-approved program is not necessary, nor is attendance at any paralegal program necessary. Some New Jersey employers of paralegals prefer to hire graduates of ABA-approved programs. Attending some type of paralegal program, regardless of its approval status, is recommended for paralegals in New Jersey.
The following paralegal programs in New Jersey are ABA-approved:

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Step 2

Paralegal Work Experience in New Jersey

Your college or university paralegal studies program in New Jersey will likely offer (or require) you to take a paralegal work experience externship/internship. This experience will provide you with knowledge and the day-to-day skills of a working paralegal. If your school does not provide this wonderful opportunity, you may still pursue volunteer work experience on your own. These legal aid agencies in New Jersey would probably welcome the help of a paralegal student:

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Step 3

New Jersey Certified Paralegal (Optional)

Developed by the South Jersey Paralegal Certification, the New Jersey Certified Paralegal (NJCP) credential is an optional credential for paralegals working in New Jersey. It is designed as a benchmark for paralegals in the state. In order to become a NJCP, you must be a member of the South Jersey Paralegal Association and meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Hold a PACE Registered Paralegal (RP), Certified Paralegal (CP), or other national paralegal certification and two years of paralegal experience
  • Have five years of paralegal experience
  • Have a certificate from a non-ABA-approved paralegal program and four years paralegal experience
  • Have an associate degree in any field and four years of paralegal experience
  • Have a certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program and three years paralegal experience
  • Have an associate degree in paralegal studies and two years of paralegal experience
  • Have a bachelor degree in any field and three years paralegal experience
  • Have a bachelor degree in any field, a certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program and one year of paralegal experience
  • Have a bachelor degree in paralegal studies and one year of paralegal experience

To apply for NJCP certification, you must complete an application form and mail it, along with supporting documentation and $35, to South Jersey Paralegal Association, P.O. Box 355, Haddonfield, NJ 08033.

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Step 4

Where to Find Paralegal Jobs in New Jersey

Paralegals in New Jersey do not only work in law firms or with legal practices. They are also found in corporations, government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit agencies and more, such as the following entities in New Jersey:

  • K Hovnanian Companies – Edison
  • Baseil Associates – Livingston
  • Pearson Education – Upper Saddle River
  • BAYADA Home Health Care – Wenonah
  • Archer & Greiner, P.C. – Princeton
  • Pioneer Data Systems – New Brunswick
  • Law Offices of William J. Courtney, LLC – Flemington
  • Carroll, McNulty & Kull, LLC – Basking Ridge
  • Prudential – Newark
  • Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC – Morristown
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company -Orange

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Step 5

You Have Become a Paralegal in NewJersey

Congratulations! You are now a paralegal working in the state of New Jersey! If you are a NJCP, remember to maintain your credential correctly. It must be renewed every two years. During each two-year period, you must complete 12 hours of continuing legal education (CLE), with at least two hours in ethics. Only courses on substantive law issues and tasks pertinent to the paralegal profession will be accepted. CLE is accepted from in-person or online courses or activities such as:

  • ABA or any state bar association approved courses or seminars
  • Courses approved by national or state law organizations like the New Jersey Trial Lawyers Association
  • Courses offered by a state or national paralegal association
  • Courses offered by an accredited college or university or organization
  • Courses offered by professional education providers
  • Courses offered by a federal or state government authority
  • Courses offered in-house by your employer
  • Self-study programs via audio or videotape (only two CLE credits every two years may be earned this way)
  • Teaching, lecturing or speaking at a law course or seminar (only two CLE credits every two years may be earned this way)
  • Authoring a publication on substantive law (only one CLE credit every two years may be earned this way)
  • Giving substantive pro bono legal services (only two CLE credits every two years may be earned this way), with one hour of CLE credit given for every three hours of pro bono legal services provided
  • Attendance at the monthly luncheon of the South Jersey Paralegal Association, with one half hour of CLE credit given for each luncheon attended


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