Steps Toward a Paralegal Career in New Hampshire
Follow the step by step process on how to become a paralegal below:
- Complete Paralegal Education in New Hampshire
- Gain Paralegal Work Experience in New Hampshire
- Pursue Paralegal Certification in New Hampshire, if Desired
- Find Paralegal Jobs in New Hampshire
- Now That You’re a Paralegal in New Hampshire
Paralegal Job Description in New Hampshire
With approximately 1,180 paralegals and legal assistants working in New Hampshire as of 2019, and somewhere around 130 openings each year as a result of new job creation and normal turn-over, there is more opportunity here for getting your foot in the door with a top law firm than you might have thought. In fact, data reported by the New Hampshire Labor Market & Information Bureau and published by the U.S. Department of Labor shows a year over year job growth rate of nearly 2% during the two-year period from 2019 to 2021.
And along with those strong job prospects come some pretty respectable salary offers too. As of May 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the median salary for paralegals in Portsmouth at $57,330. Though Portsmouth was the highest paying city when it came to the median salary, at the top end of the scale it was actually the Central New Hampshire non-metro area where the top earners (90th percentile) in the field could be found making an average of $86,130.
You can find out more about what it takes to become a paralegal in New Hampshire by reviewing these basic steps.
*Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which paralegals work. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (metropolitan statistical area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
2019 job growth projections from the New Hampshire Economic & Labor Market Information Bureau are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and employment data accessed June 2020.
Complete Paralegal Education in New Hampshire
The state of New Hampshire does not specify what, if any, type of education paralegals must have in order to qualify to work. The type of education, certificate, or degree you pursue is totally up to you. Most New Hampshire employers prefer that paralegals hold a certificate, associate, or bachelor degree in paralegal studies, criminal justice, or a closely related field.
New Hampshire Paralegal Online and Campus Schools
Schools with paralegal education programs in New Hampshire may be accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) but do not have to be.
Currently, one paralegal program in New Hampshire holds ABA accreditation:
- New Hampshire Technical Institute, Concord
- Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies
- Certificate in Paralegal Studies
Paralegal Work Experience in New Hampshire
Your paralegal studies program in New Hampshire will likely offer you the opportunity to participate in an internship in which you will gain paralegal work experience. For example, the ABA-approved program at New Hampshire Technical Institute gives students the chance to work as a paralegal student in the following New Hampshire companies:
- Victims, Inc. of Rochester
- U.S. Probation Office in Concord
- Tobey School in Concord
- New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown
- New Hampshire State Police in Concord
- New Hampshire Public Defender’s Office in Concord
- New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in Concord
- New Hampshire Division of Children Youth and Families in Concord
- Merrimack County Juvenile Diversion Program in Franklin
- Merrimack County Attorney’s Office in Concord
- DCYF Juvenile Services in Concord
- CASA of New Hampshire in Manchester
If your school does not offer paralegal internships, you might want to pursue such experience on your own. Check with the following free legal aid programs in New Hampshire to see if they could use the assistance of a paralegal student:
- Legal Advice & Referral Center, Inc. – Concord
- New Hampshire Legal Assistance – offices in:
- The Pro Bono Program of the New Hampshire Bar Association – Concord
- The Disabilities Rights Center – Concord
Paralegal Certification in New Hampshire
New Hampshire does not require paralegals to pursue any national certifications unless they wish to. National certifications can make you, as a New Hampshire paralegal, stand out from the rest of the crowd, as credentials indicate that you hold the highest ethics and standards of the profession. The New Hampshire Paralegal Association (which itself is a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations) recommends the following certifications for interested New Hampshire paralegals:
- The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offers two exams and credentials:
- PACE (Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam)- earns you the RP (Registered Paralegal) credential
- PCCE (Paralegal Core Competency Exam) – earns you the CRP (Certified Registered Paralegal) credential
Find Paralegal Jobs in New Hampshire
Paralegal jobs in New Hampshire may be found within law firms, small and large companies, financial organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other types of businesses. Examples of New Hampshire businesses that recently advertised for openings for paralegals include:
- Direct Capital – Portsmouth
- Seaton & Lohr -Dover
- Lincoln Financial – Concord
- Devine Millimet – Manchester
- Anzalone Law Firm – Nashua
- Brookstone – Merrimack
- EverBank Commercial Finance – Hampton
You Have Become a Paralegal in New Hampshire
Well done! Your hard work, studying and dedication have all paid off and you are now a paralegal working in New Hampshire! If you hold national certification, remember to keep up with its continuing legal education (CLE) requirements as necessary. Also, think about becoming a member of a membership organization for paralegals and legal professionals in New Hampshire, such as: