Steps Toward a Paralegal Career in Missouri

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

  1. Take On Paralegal Education in Missouri
  2. Get Paralegal Work Experience in Missouri
  3. Research Paralegal Certification in Missouri (Voluntary)
  4. Search for Paralegal Jobs in Missouri
  5. After Becoming a Paralegal in Missouri

Paralegal Job Description in Missouri

In November 2013, the Missouri Bar Association presented “Working With Paralegals,” a presentation for its attorney members, at the Fall Committee Meeting of the Paralegals Committee of the Missouri Bar. The presentation was designed to answer attorneys’ questions on the role of the paralegal in Missouri, who is qualified to be a paralegal, and what job duties paralegals in Missouri are entitled to perform. Included within the presentation were the facts that as of 2011, 4500 persons in Missouri are employed as paralegals, with the highest areas of employment in cities like Kansas City and St. Louis. It also noted that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for paralegals to increase by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020. If you would like to become a paralegal in Missouri, keep reading.

Step 1

Take On Paralegal Education in Missouri

The Missouri Bar Committee on Paralegals has not yet mandated paralegal education for legal assistants working in the state.

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The Missouri Bar Committee does support the American Bar Association’s (ABA)’s recommendations regarding paralegal education. Therefore, the Missouri Bar Committee on Paralegals endorses ABA-approved paralegal education programs. While it is not a mandate that you graduate from one of these programs, you might have a better chance of finding paralegal work with certain Missouri employers if you do:

  • Webster University – St. Louis
    • Certificate, Paralegal Studies
    • Graduate Certificate, Paralegal Studies
  • Missouri Western State University – St. Joseph
    • Associate of Science, Legal Assistant
    • Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice, emphasis in Legal Studies
  • Maryville University – St. Louis (the program is being discontinued as of May 2014, no new students are being accepted)
    • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
    • Minor in Legal Studies

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Step 2

Get Paralegal Work Experience in Missouri

Most ABA-approved paralegal education programs in Missouri require that you complete an internship of at least 120 hours. If your school does not carry this requirement, you should pursue paralegal work experience on your own. This can be accomplished through contacting a volunteer legal organization in Missouri such as the ones listed below, who will welcome the help of a paralegal student (usually on a volunteer basis):

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Step 3

Paralegal Certification in Missouri (Voluntary)

Certification as a paralegal in Missouri is voluntary and not a requirement in order to work in the state. There are varieties of national certification programs available for paralegals, through the following organizations:

  • National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA):
    • Certified Paralegal (CP) – certification through an examination on the following subjects: in
      • Substantive law
      • Human relations
      • Ethics
      • Analysis and judgment abilities
      • Legal terminology
      • Legal research
      • Communication skills (verbal and written)
    • Advanced Paralegal Certification (APC)- certification for CPs through examination in one of these legal specialty disciplines:
      • Real estate
      • Intellectual property
      • Bankruptcy law
      • Civil law and procedure
      • Business/corporate law
      • Estate/probate planning
      • Criminal law/procedure
  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA):
    • Registered Paralegal (RP)-certification bypassing the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) on these subjects:
      • Office administration
      • Legal and factual writing
      • Legal and factual research
      • Developing client legal matters
      • Administering client legal matters
    • Certified Registered Paralegal (CRP) – certification by passing the Paralegal Core Competency Exam (PCCE)

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Step 4

Search for Paralegal Jobs in Missouri

As a paralegal in Missouri, as long as you work under the supervision of an attorney, you may work anywhere that employs paralegals. This does not just include law firms and private practices, but all sorts of businesses. For example, the following companies in Missouri have hired paralegals recently:

  • Polsinelli PC- Kansas City
  • Leggett & Platt, Inc. – Carthage
  • Scottrade – St. Louis
  • J.E. Dunn Construction – Kansas City
  • AAA Auto Club Enterprises – St. Louis
  • Rotech Healthcare, Inc. – Fenton
  • Thompson Coburn LLP – St. Louis
  • Citi – O’Fallon
  • Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, LLC – St. Louis
  • David Lee Wells Law Office- Kansas City
  • The Elder and Disability Advocacy Firm of Christine A. Alsop – St. Louis

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Step 5

You’ve Become a Paralegal in Missouri

Congratulations! You are now a full-fledged paralegal eligible to work in the Show-Me State! Consider becoming a member of a paralegal association in Missouri such as the following. These organizations can provide you with valuable contacts for networking and career advancement, as well as continuing education opportunities if you are certified:

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