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Connecticut Paralegal Schools

Connecticut employs over 4,600 paralegals.1 The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area and the Connecticut non-metropolitan area are some of the highest paying areas in the country.1 A well-qualified paralegal in Connecticut has the ability to work in a field that is both lucrative and fulfilling. This is why it makes sense for those interested in becoming a paralegal in Connecticut to attend a paralegal school. There are a range of paths that one can take in order to obtain a paralegal degree in Connecticut. Schools in Connecticut offer certificates, two-year degrees, or even programs that can be included in a four-year Legal Studies degree. A high school diploma or GED is the only requirement to get started on a two or four-year degree in Connecticut. In addition, Connecticut paralegal programs can be completed in a traditional on-campus format or online.

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How to Become a Paralegal in Connecticut

At this point, there are no training requirements to become a paralegal in the state of Connecticut. There have been discussions by lawmakers to institute regulations; however, as of now, no specific training requirements have been implemented. The paralegal in Connecticut is required to be directly supervised by a state licensed attorney who takes full responsibility for the paralegal’s professional conduct.

Despite the fact that paralegals in Connecticut are not required to have any formal training, it can be very beneficial for a candidate in this state. The legal knowledge needed for this profession is extensive, and a program dedicated to teaching this information can provide a candidate with a competitive edge when seeking employment in Connecticut. Networking and finding future job prospects are also benefits of an educational program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the majority of paralegals possess either an associate degree or certificate, yet some firms will hire a person with a bachelor’s degree who lacks any legal experience, and train them on the job. Certificate programs can be used as a vehicle for entering the workforce sooner.

Paralegal Quote: “Once you graduate, don’t walk away from your college. Keep in touch with fellow students and professors – they can be a great resource for you and a continued source of inspiration. Join your local paralegal association. Your local paralegal association is filled with a wealth of experienced paralegals who can answer a question, provide you with guidance and are part of a fabulous group who support each other and give back to the community. Network, network, network. They say you don’t get a job from what you know but by who you know. The happiest paralegals I know are the ones that got those jobs, not by answering a ‘job posting’ but by being recommended by a friend, professor or classmate.” -Lynda Cmara, President of New Haven County Association of Paralegals

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Connecticut Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The paralegal profession in Connecticut is growing. The Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates the changes in gross domestic product overall, and in the field of Professional and Business Services for each state. Legal services are included in this sector. Connecticut grew 3.4% in this area between 2012 and 2013.2 This is nearly in line with the national growth of 3.5%.2 The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports that paralegal and legal services jobs will grow about 17 percent by 2022, which is faster than average.3 Connecticut is also known to have one of the highest concentrations of jobs and locations in this field with an average of 2.86 people employed per 1,000 jobs.1 With the right qualifications and educational experience, a paralegal in Connecticut can earn an average of $53,280 per year.1 There are possibilities in both the private and government sector for a paralegal to find work.

In general, Connecticut’s employment situation leaves something to be desired. As of December 2014, the state had an unemployment rate of 6.4%, ranking 40th out of the 50 states and D.C.4 However, this rate has decreased by one percent since December of 2013, which shows that the situation is improving.4

ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Connecticut

The Connecticut paralegal schools that have an American Bar Association certification include:

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Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Connecticut

University of New Haven: The Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven has three paralegal programs: a Bachelor of Science in legal studies with a paralegal concentration, an associate in paralegal studies, and a paralegal studies certificate. The BS is a 120-credit hour program, while the associate and certificate are 60 hours and 25 hours respectively. All are approved by the American Bar Association. All students are required to take the standard fundamental courses such as Introduction to Legal Studies while advanced course requirements vary by degree. Students looking to network and pursue research projects can do so through the Legal Society and the Center for Dispute Resolution.

University of Hartford: Students at the University of Hartford can choose from three different paralegal programs within the Department of University Studies: an Associate of Science, a Bachelor of Science (includes certificate), and a paralegal certificate. All three programs have been approved by the American Bar Association and are taught by fourteen expert faculty. The BS in paralegal studies is a full 120 hours, while the AS and the paralegal certificate are 60 hours and 19 hours respectively. The Department of University Studies already has established relationships with over two dozen law firms, government offices and courthouses where students can work to complete internships for course credit.

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Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Connecticut

Finn Dixon & Herling LLP is the only law firm in Connecticut to have recently been named by Chambers as a Band 1 Corporate/M&A law firm, a ranking it has held for several years. Finn Dixon & Herling was founded in 1987 and specializes in business and financial law at a reasonable cost to its clients. The firm has grown rapidly and prides itself on providing opportunities to those who are committed to excel. Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara LLC is the oldest and largest law firm based in Greenwich, covering multiple practice areas for its clients. It invites recent paralegals interested in a career at Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara to apply, and offers a great benefits package that includes a bonus program. Ryan Ryan Deluca LLP has been named the Top Mid Size Litigation Firm in Connecticut by the Super Lawyers Business Edition. RRD has immediate openings for those holding certification in Connecticut.

Online and Connecticut Paralegal Schools

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Paralegal Schools in Connecticut

Branford Hall Career Institute (Branford, CT; Southington, CT; Windsor, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal
Diploma | Paralegal

Lincoln College of New England (Southington, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal

Manchester Community College (Manchester, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Naugatuck Valley Community College (Waterbury, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Legal Assistant/Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Studies/Paralegal

Norwalk Community College (Norwalk, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Science | Legal Assistant
Certificate | Legal Assistant

Post University (Waterbury, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Legal Studies (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies (online program)
Certificate | Paralegal Studies (online program)

Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal

University of Hartford (West Hartford, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal

University of New Haven (West Haven, CT)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Legal Studies: Dispute Resolution
Associate of Science | Legal Studies: Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Additional Resources:

Connecticut Bar Association – Provides resources and membership benefits to those in the legal industry in Connecticut. It is also free for students to join.

Central Connecticut Paralegal Association – Assists in the advancement and promotion of the paralegal profession. Defines and upholds standards for paralegals, and maintains relationships with accredited legal education programs.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm