Steps Toward a Paralegal Career in Connecticut

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

  1. Finish Paralegal Education in Connecticut
  2. Get Work Experience in Connecticut
  3. Become Certified as a Paralegal in Connecticut, If Desired
  4. Embark Upon Your Career as a Paralegal in Connecticut
  5. Now That You’ve Become a Paralegal in Connecticut

Paralegal Job Description in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Labor expects job opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants to increase by 14.2 percent statewide from 2006 to 2016. Paralegals may work in a variety of legal areas in Connecticut, including (but not limited to) family law, bankruptcy, intellectual property, estate planning, real estate, employment law, intellectual property law, and environmental law. In Connecticut, as in most states, paralegals cannot provide legal services directly to the public but may work under the supervision of a licensed Connecticut attorney. To discover how to become a paralegal in Connecticut, read on.

Step 1

Finish Paralegal Education in Connecticut

Connecticut imposes no state requirements on education for prospective paralegals. However, most employers of paralegals in Connecticut will not hire candidates who have not graduated from a paralegal education program.

Connecticut Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

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You know you’re ready to make the move to become a Paralegal. All you need is the training to make it happen. Learn more about flexible training options and the cost of programs in your area.

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The program may be accredited by the American Bar Association or may not hold this accreditation. If you plan to seek national certification as a paralegal further down the road, you might want to consider taking paralegal education at an ABA-accredited school. Regardless of its accreditation status, courses that you can expect to take in a Connecticut paralegal program include legal writing, legal research, the legal system, intellectual property law, family law, the Constitution, the court system, civil litigation, wills, and probate.

As of December 2013, the following Connecticut paralegal programs hold ABA accreditation:

  • University of New Haven – West Haven:
    • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies- Concentration in Paralegal Studies
    • Associate of Science in Legal Studies
    • Paralegal Certificate
  • University of Hartford – Hartford:
    • Bachelor of Arts in University Studies – Paralegal Studies concentration
    • Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies
    • Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Quinnipiac University– Hamden:
    • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
    • Minor in Studies in the Law
    • Minor in Dispute Resolution
  • Norwalk Community Technical College – Norwalk:
    • Associate of Science in Legal Assistant
    • Legal Assistant Certificate
  • Manchester Community College – Manchester:
    • Associate of Science in Paralegal

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Step 2

Get Work Experience in Connecticut

Most ABA-accredited paralegal education programs in Connecticut will require that you complete some type of internship program, in which you will gain valuable work experience in the paralegal field while still a student. If you desire to seek additional experience on your own, pursuing a volunteer or pro bono paralegal job in Connecticut is often looked upon favorably by employers later in your career. Examples of organizations that can help you to find these types of work experiences in Connecticut include:

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Step 3

Become Certified as a Paralegal in Connecticut

Experience and education seem to mean more to Connecticut employers of paralegals, as most job listings for paralegals in the state specify experience and a certificate or degree as the necessary prerequisites. If you decide that you would like to become nationally certified, there are a few certifications offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) that are widely accepted. They are:

  • Certified Paralegal (CP)– To earn this certification, you must pass an examination on the following subjects:
    • American legal system
    • Contracts
    • Business organizations
    • Civil litigation
  • Advanced Paralegal Certified (APC) – To earn this certification, you must first be a CP. Then you must pass courses in specialty areas, which include (but are not limited to):
    • Alternative dispute resolution
    • Discovery
    • Social security disability
    • Contracts management
    • Personal injury
    • Trial practice
    • Business organizations
    • Real estate

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Step 4

Your Career as a Paralegal in Connecticut

Once you have completed your education and gained some experience, you are ready to search for a paralegal job in Connecticut. Remember, paralegals are not only hired by law firms in the state, but also by corporations, schools, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Examples of potential employers of paralegals in Connecticut are:

  • Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C. – Hartford
  • Charter Communications – Stamford
  • Aetna- Hartford
  • UTC Corporation – Hartford
  • Brenner, Saltzman & Wallman, LLP – New Haven
  • The Premier Group- Wilton
  • Yale University- New Haven
  • The PeterSan Group, Inc. – Stamford
  • Bendett & McHugh- Farmington

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Step 5

You’ve Become a Paralegal in Connecticut

Kudos to you! You have completed a rigorous educational program, gained experience, and may now refer to yourself as a paralegal in Connecticut! Think about joining a voluntary membership organization, which can assist you in advancement in your career, networking, and other opportunities:

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