State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Paralegal Job Description in Ohio

According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, the annual mean wage as of May 2012 in Ohio for paralegals and legal assistants is $44,530. Paralegals earning in Ohio’s 75th percentile average $54,320; while paralegals in Ohio’s 90th percentile average $60,780. If you would like to discover how to become a paralegal in Ohio, this article should prove quite helpful.
 

Step 1

Begin Paralegal Education in Ohio

Education is important to becoming a paralegal in Ohio. Paralegal schools will give you the tools, knowledge and skills necessary to succeed as a paralegal in Ohio.

Ohio Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

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Washington University School of Law - Online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Degree
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Ohio has not set forth any requirements for education for paralegals in Ohio, although the Ohio State Bar Association recommends post-secondary education and requires it if you plan to seek certification through them (see Step 3 below). Paralegal programs may be American Bar Association (ABA) approved or not. Some students choose an ABA-approved program thinking it might be easier to become employed as a graduate of an ABA-approved program, while others do not give credence to ABA approval status.

Currently, these paralegal programs in Ohio hold ABA approval:

  • Ursuline College- Pepper Pike
    • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Legal Studies
  • University of Toledo – Toledo
    • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Associate of Science in paralegal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
    • Nurse Paralegal Certificate
  • University of Cincinnati Clermont- Batavia
    • Associate of Applied Business in Paralegal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati
    • Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Bachelor in Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Sinclair Community College – Dayton
    • Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Rhodes State College – Lima
    • Associate in Arts in Paralegal Studies
    • Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • National College – Kettering
    • Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Lakeland Community College – Kirtland
    • Associate of Applied Business in Paralegal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate  in Paralegal Studies
  • Lake Erie College – Painesville
    • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Kent State University – Kent
    • Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies
    • Bachelor Degree with Paralegal Studies Minor
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Fortis College – Centerville
    • Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Edison Community College – Piqua
    • Associate of Applied Business in Paralegal Studies
    • Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Cuyahoga Community College – Parma
    • Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Columbus State Community College – Columbus
    • Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • College of Mount St Joseph – Cincinnati
    • Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Capital University Law School – Columbus
    • Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies

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Step 2

Garner Paralegal Experience in Ohio

Your legal assisting or paralegal studies program in Ohio should afford you the opportunity to gain some paralegal work experience while still a student. If it does not, consider pursuing such experience on your own, possibly through legal aid or voluntary associations to help Ohioans with low to no income who need legal assistance. Organizations in Ohio include:

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Step 3

Become an OSBA Certified Paralegal (Optional)

Certification is not required for Ohio paralegals, but some choose to become certified to set themselves apart from the rest of the applicants for Ohio paralegal jobs. The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) offers a voluntary paralegal certification program for interested paralegals. In order to qualify to take the OSBA certification exam, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Educational criteria – you must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Hold a bachelor degree in any field and complete a 20 semester hour paralegal studies program, plus have at least one year of full-time paralegal work experience (equaling 2000 hours)
    • Hold a bachelor degree in paralegal studies that is at least 124 semester hours, plus have at least one year of full-time paralegal work experience (equaling 2000 hours)
    • Hold an associate degree in paralegal studies that is at least 60 semester hours, plus have at least five year of full-time paralegal work experience (equaling 10,000 hours)
    • Hold a high school diploma, plus seven years of full-time paralegal work experience (equaling 14,000 hours)
  • Continuing Legal/Paralegal Education requirements –you must have completed at least 12 credit hours of continuing legal education (CLE) in courses that are approved by the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on CLE, the Ohio State Bar, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the National Association for Legal Assistants, or the OSBA Paralegal Certification Board, in the three years before you apply for OSBA paralegal certification. 2.5 CLE hours must be on any of the following professional conduct areas:
    • Access to justice, fairness in the courts and public trust in the judicial system in Ohio
    • Substance abuse, alcoholism or mental health issues
    • Professionalism and compliance of attorneys with the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
    • Legal ethics, instruction on Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
  • References – you must provide three professional references when you apply to take the OSBA certification exam. Two references must be from two attorneys licensed and in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio, who know your paralegal work and skills, character and fitness. The other reference must be from an educator, arbitrator, judge, mediator, hearing officer, magistrate or attorney who is familiar with your paralegal work and skills, character and fitness.

If you meet the above qualifications and apply to take the certification exam, it will cover the following areas:

  • Substantive and procedural law
  • Ethics
  • Legal writing and research
  • Law office management
  • Computer knowledge
  • Communication

If you pass the exam, you may call yourself an OSBA Certified Paralegal. Certification periods are four years, and you must show that you have completed 12 CLE hours every two years of your certification period.

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Step 4

Locate Paralegal Jobs in Ohio

Paralegal jobs should be available across the state of Ohio, if you know where to look. Law offices, corporations, businesses, industries and more hire paralegals in Ohio. Potential employers include:

  • JPMorgan Chase – Columbus
  • Charles V. Longo Co., L.P.A. – Beachwood
  • Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, P.C. – Cincinnati
  • Renner, Otto, Boisselle & Sklar, LLP – Cleveland
  • State of Ohio  -Franklin County
  • Benesch Attorneys at Law – Cleveland
  • WatCam- Akron
  • HCR ManorCare – Toledo
  • The Zimmer Law Firm, LLC – Blue Ash

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Step 5

Now That You Are a Paralegal in Ohio

Congratulations! You are now a qualified paralegal working in Ohio! Your next step should be joining one of the many statewide or regional paralegal associations in Ohio, such as:


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