Steps Toward a Paralegal Career in Arizona

Follow the step by step process on how to become a paralegal below:

  1. Attain Your Paralegal Education in Arizona
  2. Acquire Job Experience in Arizona
  3. If Desired, Become a Certified Paralegal in Arizona
  4. Find a Job as a Paralegal in Arizona
  5. Now That You’re a Paralegal in Arizona

Paralegal Job Description in Arizona

Membership in the Arizona Paralegal Association is nearing 400 as of December 2013. Members of the Arizona Paralegal Association include paralegals, legal assistants, students, and those who support the legal profession in Arizona. Becoming a paralegal in Arizona requires completion of education and gaining valuable experience. Read on to discover how to become a paralegal in Arizona.

Step 1

Attain Your Paralegal Education in Arizona

Paralegal education is the first step on your pathway to becoming a paralegal in Arizona. There are varieties of schools online and in the state that offer paralegal studies programs. Some of these are accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), while others are not. Arizona law does not require paralegals to graduate from ABA-accredited programs. Despite its accreditation status, the average paralegal program in Arizona will include courses on:

Arizona Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

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  • Interviewing clients
  • Researching legal issues
  • Drafting pleadings and other legal documents
  • Organization of trial notebooks
  • Summarization of legal documents

Arizona’s ABA-approved paralegal schools are listed in the American Bar Association Paralegal Approved Program Directory. As of December 2013, three paralegal programs in Arizona are ABA-accredited. These schools, and the certificates or degrees they offer, are:

  • Pima Community College – Tucson:
    • Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal
    • Post Degree Certificate – Paralegal
  • Phoenix College – Phoenix:
    • Certificate of Completion (CCL)- Paralegal Studies
    • Associate in Applied Science (AAS)- Paralegal Studies

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Step 2

Acquire Job Experience in Arizona

Depending upon the paralegal school in Arizona that you choose, you may be required to complete a work experience program during your studies there. This program will immerse you into the world of being a paralegal in Arizona and will allow you to gain experience in many of the day-to-day skills performed by paralegals. If your school does not provide such an opportunity, you might want to consider working as an assistant to a local lawyer or in a volunteer capacity. The more experience you gain, the greater your chances of being hired as a paralegal in Arizona later. Opportunities may include:

  • Community Legal Services, Inc. – a nonprofit legal services group with offices in:
    • Yuma County
      • Yuma
    • Yavapai County
      • Prescott
    • Mohave County
      • Kingman
      • Lake Havasu City
    • East Valley
      • Mesa
    • Central Phoenix
    • Farmworker Law Program
      • Phoenix
      • San Luis
  • DNA People’s Legal Services – primarily serves Indian reservations, with offices in:
    • Flagstaff
    • Tuba City
    • Keams Canyon
    • Chinle
  • Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc. – a non-profit law firm with offices in:
    • Casa Grande
    • Whiteriver
    • Lakeside
    • Sacaton
    • Bisbee

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Step 3

If Desired, Become a Certified Paralegal in Arizona

Becoming a certified paralegal in Arizona is an option that you do not have to take. Some ABA-accredited paralegal schools will prepare you for certification examinations through national organizations. Certification as a paralegal indicates to potential employers that you possess the highest knowledge, standards, and ethics found in the paralegal profession in Arizona. Popular certifications for Arizona paralegals are:

  • APC (Advanced Paralegal Certification) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)- this certification is available by passing classes in modules such as:
    • Family Law
    • Business Organizations (Corporate and Noncorporate)
    • Criminal Law
    • Commercial Bankruptcy
    • Real Estate
    • Personal Injury
    • Trademarks
    • Social Security Disability
    • Discovery
    • Contracts
  • CLA (Certified Legal Assistant) through NALA – you must pass a computer-based examination on the following subjects:
    • Written communications
    • Legal research
    • Ethics
    • Civil litigation
    • Basic business organizations
    • American legal system

Examinations are given at these PSI Premier Plus Testing Centers in Arizona:

  • Tucson
  • Phoenix
  • Flagstaff

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Step 4

Find a Job as a Paralegal in Arizona

Job opportunities for paralegals in Arizona are widespread and not only found in law firms. Nonprofit groups, government agencies, corporations, and educational institutions may all employ educated paralegals in Arizona. Examples of potential Arizona employers include:

  • John C. Lincoln Health Network – Phoenix
  • Gurstel Chargo, P.A. – Scottsdale
  • Allstate Corporate – Phoenix
  • Pew Law Center – Mesa
  • U.S. District Court – Phoenix
  • City of Tempe- Tempe
  • Advantage Technical Resourcing – Mesa
  • Bank of America – Chandler
  • Arizona Attorney General’s Office – Phoenix

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Step 5

Now That You’re a Paralegal in Arizona

Congratulations! Your hard work and time have paid off, and you are now a paralegal in Arizona! If you hold certification, make sure to follow your organization’s rules for continuing legal education (CLA) to maintain that certification. Additionally, think of connecting with an association for paralegals that can assist you in your Arizona career aspirations, such as:

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