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Alabama Paralegal Schools

If you are interested in becoming a paralegal and live in the state of Alabama, there are many reputable Alabama paralegal schools available. The number of paralegal jobs available is increasing across several legal disciplines in both civil and criminal practice, so it can make career sense to become a paralegal. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2015, there were 2,860 paralegals and legal assistants working in Alabama, at an average annual salary of $44,430.1 With these statistics in mind, earning a paralegal degree in an Alabama school can be a good choice.

How to Become a Paralegal in Alabama

Paralegals are not required to be certified in any way to perform duties as a paralegal in Alabama, but most attorneys and law firms still require their paralegals to earn a formal education.

Alabama has several different legal markets, and location and demand drive the typical education requirements of prospective employers. Many successful Alabama paralegals will have completed either a two-year or four-year paralegal degree in an on-campus or online program. Students of paralegal programs will learn how to research facts, interview witnesses, and write legal documents. They will also study the differences between types of law, including civil and business law, personal injury, and criminal law. Once hired as an Alabama paralegal, you will typically receive additional on-the-job training, working under the supervision of licensed attorneys and gaining knowledge as you go along.

Alabama Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for an Alabama paralegal was $44,430 per year as of May 2015.1 Paralegal salaries can vary based on the location of the work and the level of experience attained. Paralegals in Birmingham, for example, earn a higher average salary than the statewide median, at $48,400.1 Paralegal jobs are growing due to more firms moving to save money by relying on the work of paralegals over that of attorneys. Tied to this, the outlook for paralegals in Alabama is good, with a projected increase of 5.7% in jobs through 2024.2 On-campus and online paralegal class offerings will help prospective paralegals prepare to take advantage of these opportunities.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Alabama

Auburn University – Montgomery: The Department of Justice and Public Safety at Auburn University at Montgomery has a paralegal certificate program that has been approved by the American Bar Association. This 60-hour course of study requires students to complete 41 hours of core liberal arts courses, with the remainder of coursework dedicated to legal specialty courses such as Civil Litigation, Legal Research, and Computer Applications in Law. The campus Paralegal Student Association, Lambda Epsilon Chi, is sponsored by the American Association for Paralegal Education and provides students with extensive professional networks. The Department of Justice and Public Safety is also effective at matching paralegal students with valuable internships within local law firms.

South University: An Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies is offered through South University’s Legal and Criminal Justice Division. This American Bar Association-approved program typically takes 24 months to complete and students are matched with law firms and legal offices prior to graduation. Students enroll in specialized courses and learn the fundamentals of a paralegal career, such as legal document preparation and client interviewing. Out of 92 credit hours, 40 are dedicated to general education requirements while the rest consist of business and legal courses.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Alabama

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, a rapidly growing firm, has been named the top law firm in Alabama for public finance by Thomson Reuters. With this growth comes the need for support staff, including paralegal graduates, for its offices. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings looks for individuals from diverse backgrounds and offers its employees the benefit of its commitment to a work-life balance. Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C. is one of the largest law firms in Alabama with offices in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery, and has been placed on Fortune Magazine’s list of Top Ranked Law Firms. Maynard Cooper is also regularly recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work, and offers its support staff many of the same benefits as its attorneys in a competitive recruitment package. Burr & Forman LLP is a large firm with a long history, having served clients for over 100 years. It offers its paralegal and litigation support staff tuition reimbursement and training opportunities, among other benefits.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Alabama

An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Auburn University at Montgomery (Montgomery)*
Bachelor of Science | Justice and Public Safety – Legal Studies Track
Master of Science | Justice and Public Safety – Legal Studies Track
Certificate | Paralegal

Community College of the Air Force (Montgomery)*
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal

Enterprise State Community College (Enterprise)
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal
Short-term Certificate | Legal Assistant/Paralegal

Faulkner State Community College (Bay Minette)
Associate of Arts | Pre-Law
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal
Associate of Applied Science | Office Administration: Legal Administrative Assistant

Faulkner University (Montgomery)*
Associate of Science | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies

Gadsden State Community College (Gadsden)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Short-term Certificate | Legal Transcriptionist
Short-term Certificate | Realtime Reporting: Litigation Assistant

Samford University (Birmingham)*
Bachelor of Arts | History: Legal Studies
Master’s Degree | Comparative Law
Master of Science | Health Law and Policy (online)
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Shelton State Community College (Tuscaloosa)
Associate in Applied Science | Management and Supervision: Paralegal
Certificate | Office Administration: Paralegal
Certificate | Office Administration: Legal Secretary

South University (Montgomery)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

References:
1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm