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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 percentage of available paralegal jobs is increasing across several legal disciplines in both the civil and criminal justice arenas, so it makes sense, now more than ever, to become a paralegal. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in the area of Professional and Business Services, which includes Legal Services, Alabama grew 0.7% between 2012 and 2013.1 Even though that is well below the overall US growth of 3.5% for the same period, the surrounding states have seen higher growth rates than the rest of the country (Mississippi at 4.3%, Tennessee at 4.4%, and Georgia at 4%).1 With these statistics in mind, earning a paralegal degree in an Alabama school can be a good idea.

How to Become a Paralegal in Alabama

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

Alabama has several different legal markets, and location and demand will determine what level of education paralegals require. Many successful Alabama paralegals will have completed either a two-year or four-year paralegal degree in a 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 difference between types of law, including civil and business law, personal injury, or criminal law. Once hired as an Alabama paralegal, you will acquire on-the-job experience, working under the supervision of licensed attorneys and gaining knowledge as you go along.

Alabama Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The average projected salary for an Alabama paralegal was $45,830/ year, or $22.04/ hour, in 2014.2 Generally speaking, paralegal salaries are based largely on the location of the work and the level of experience attained by the paralegal. Paralegal jobs are growing in all sectors due to the fact that more firms are moving to save money by relying on the expertise of paralegals over attorneys. On-campus and online paralegal class offerings will help prospective paralegals prepare to take advantage of these opportunities. The outlook for paralegals in Alabama is also good, with a projected increase of 13.9% in jobs through 2022.3

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 college courses with the remainder being dedicated to Legal Specialty courses such as Civil Litigation, Legal Research and Computer Applications in Law. The 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 placing paralegal students with valuable internships within local attorney offices.

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 credits 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 was recently named the top law firm in Alabama for public finance by Thomson Reuters. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings is growing at a rapid clip. 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

1. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm