Steps Toward a Paralegal Career in Tennessee

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

  1. Progress Through Paralegal Education in Tennessee
  2. Attain Paralegal Work Experience in Tennessee
  3. Become a Nationally Certified Paralegal in Tennessee, if Desired
  4. Explore Paralegal Jobs in Tennessee
  5. After Becoming a Paralegal in Tennessee

Paralegal Job Description in Tennessee

According to Tennessee Labor Market Statistics, as of 2012, the average paralegal in Tennessee earned $38,790 annually. The majority of paralegal and legal assistant jobs in Tennessee were in the Davidson County area (which includes the metropolitan area of Nashville), followed by Shelby County (including Memphis) and Wilson County (includes Murfreesboro and Lebanon). Education for paralegals in Tennessee is not mandatory, but the state houses many well-recognized paralegal studies programs. If you would like to learn more about becoming a paralegal in Tennessee, keep reading.

Step 1

Get Paralegal Education in Tennessee

Tennessee does not order paralegals who want to work in the state to complete a proscribed course of education, training, or experience. Increasingly, however, paralegals looking for jobs in Tennessee are finding that specialized paralegal education is the best route to employment in the state.

Tennessee Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

Featured Programs:
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Washington University in St. Louis Logo
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis WU’s online Master of Legal Studies (MLS), MLS in Taxation, and Master of Laws (LLM) in U.S. Law or Taxation are taught by the same expert faculty as the university’s on-campus programs, all delivered in a streamlined online format that can be completed in as little as a year.
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Arizona State University
ASU’s online undergraduate (BA/BS), graduate (MA/MS/MLA/LLM), and graduate certificate programs in law, criminal justice, and public policy draw on the university’s more than 15-year track-record for innovation in online education and are taught by the same world-renowned faculty as the on-campus programs.
Purdue University Global Logo
Purdue University Global
Purdue’s BS in Legal Support and Services offers a flexible way to build a comprehensive foundation in law, the option to choose a paralegal concentration, and a direct path to future graduate study in public administration, human services, psychology, and more.
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Rasmussen University
Rasmussen’s Paralegal Associate Degree and Post-Degree Certificate programs offer career-ready pathways to become a certified paralegal and outstanding support and guidance along the way.
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University of Dayton
The University of Dayton’s hybrid/online Juris Doctor (JD) earns top marks for outstanding flexibility and convenience and was the first School of Law in the nation to receive ABA variance approval for remote courses thanks to its unique online-hybrid design.
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Tennessee’s paralegal programs may be approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) but do not have to be. Other paralegals obtain degrees in related fields like criminal justice, then accrue the necessary paralegal work experience or learn skills on the job.

Tennessee paralegal programs with ABA accreditation include:

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Step 2

Attain Paralegal Work Experience in Tennessee

Most likely, if you attend an ABA-accredited paralegal studies program in Tennessee, you will be required to complete a paralegal studies work experience internship. If you are not, or if you desire additional work experience, consider contacting one of the following Tennessee legal aid organizations. These organizations work with less fortunate Tennesseans and could use the help of a volunteer paralegal student:

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Step 3

Optional Paralegal Certification in Tennessee

The Tennessee Paralegal Association recommends national certification for paralegals in the state, but it is not a requirement in order to work there. As it is part of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc., the Association recommends certification from this organization. Their basic certification is the Certified Paralegal (CP) (also called Certified Legal Assistant, or CLA). The exam tests the following major areas of study and knowledge paralegals should know at the entry-level:

  • Legal research
  • Analytical ability and judgment
  • Communications
  • Ethics
  • Substantive law, including:
    • Civil litigation
    • Business organizations
    • Contracts
    • American Legal System

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Step 4

Explore Paralegal Jobs in Tennessee

Not all paralegal jobs in Tennessee are found within law firms. Corporations, non-profit organizations, government entities, and other organizations often hire paralegals in Tennessee. Examples of recent paralegal employers in Tennessee include:

  • Lend Lease – Nashville
  • Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee, Inc. – Knoxville
  • Life Point HSC – Brentwood
  • Batson Nolan PLC – Clarksville
  • Butler Snow- Nashville
  • Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC – Chattanooga
  • Office of the Solicitor – Nashville
  • Graham Corporation – Knoxville
  • City of Franklin – Franklin
  • Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP – Nashville
  • The Boyd Firm – Knoxville

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Step 5

After Becoming a Paralegal in Tennessee

Well done! You have made it through the necessary education, training, and experience and are now a paralegal working in the Volunteer State! Think about joining a paralegal association near you that offers networking opportunities and advancement in your career, such as:

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