State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Paralegal Job Description in Florida

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has projected that between the years 2012 and 2020, job opportunities for paralegals in Florida will increase sharply. It is estimated that jobs for paralegals in Florida will increase by an average of 3.38 percent per year during this time, rising from 21,951 statewide in 2012 to 27,882 by 2020. This is a great time to become a paralegal in Florida. To discover how to do just that, read on.
 

Step 1

Paralegal Education Requirements in Florida

Under Florida law, paralegals do not have to meet any education standards in order to work in the state. However, most employers of Florida paralegals expect their employees to have education in legal assisting or paralegal studies.

Florida 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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Rasmussen College - Online Paralegal Associate Degree and Post-Degree Certificate Programs

Paralegal programs in Florida may or may not be American Bar Association (ABA) accredited. These paralegal programs in Florida currently do hold ABA accreditation:

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Step 2

Obtain Paralegal Work Experience in Florida

Most Florida paralegal education programs will require that you complete an internship as a student. This will provide you with work experience in the field. If your program does not offer this opportunity, you may seek volunteer work experience on your own. In Florida, options for volunteer work as a paralegal may be found at:

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Step 3

Become A Florida Registered Paralegal, If Desired

The Florida Bar has started a Florida Registered Paralegal program, which is not mandatory but is an option for paralegals in Florida. Registration as a paralegal in Florida is strictly voluntary and not required, but if you decide to register, you might find more employers in the state willing to hire you. In order to register, you must meet one of the following educational criteria or certification criteria:
Educational criteria:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an ABA-approved program and one year of paralegal work experience
  • Hold a bachelor’ s degree or higher in any field from an accredited school and three years of paralegal work experience
  • Hold an associate’s degree in paralegal studies form an ABA-approved program and two years of paralegal work experience
  • Hold an associate’s degree in any field from an accredited school and four years of paralegal work experience
  • Hold a juris doctorate degree from an ABA-accredited school and one year of paralegal experience

Certification criteria:

  • Complete the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations
  • Complete the Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal exam by the National Association of Legal Assistants

To apply to become a Florida Registered Paralegal, complete this application and mail it along with the $145 fee and supporting documentation to The Florida Bar, Florida Registered Paralegal, 651 East Jefferson St., Tallahassee, FL  32399-2325.

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Step 4

Begin Your Career as a Paralegal in Florida

Paralegals in Florida have many options when it comes to choosing a workplace. From law groups to corporations to nonprofit organizations, paralegals are in demand in Florida. Examples of potential employers of Florida paralegals include:

  • Walt Disney Parks & Resorts- Orlando
  • City of Riviera Beach – Riviera Beach
  • Butler and Hosch – Orlando
  • Wounded Warrior Project – Jacksonville
  • Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. – Bonita Springs
  • State Farm – Jacksonville
  • Wicker Smith O’Hara McCoy & Ford, P.A. – Miami
  • Frenkel Lambert Weiss Weisman & Gordon, LLP – Fort Lauderdale

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Step 5

Now That You’re a Paralegal in Florida

Congratulations! You are now a paralegal working in the sunshine state! You might want to consider joining an optional, voluntary membership organization such as the ones below. They can help put you in touch with continuing legal education, networking opportunities and more:




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