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Connecticut Paralegal Schools

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 5,400 paralegals work in Connecticut.1 The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area is one of the highest-paying areas in the country for paralegals and legal assistants.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 paralegal certificates as well as two- and four-year degrees in the traditional on-campus format and online.

How to Become a Paralegal in Connecticut

At this time, there are no state-level training requirements to become a paralegal in the state of Connecticut. However, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have at least an associate’s degree and some formal paralegal training. Paralegals in Connecticut are 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 legally required to have any formal training, it can be very beneficial. 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 paralegal jobs in Connecticut. Networking and finding future job prospects are also benefits of an educational program. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the majority of paralegals possess either an associate’s degree in the paralegal field or a bachelor’s degree plus a paralegal certificate.2 For those who possess college coursework and professional experience, 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

Connecticut Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The paralegal profession in Connecticut is growing. Projections Central estimates that paralegal and legal services jobs will grow 6.8% by 2024.3 Connecticut also has one of the highest state-level concentrations of jobs in this field, second behind only the District of Columbia.2 Paralegals in Connecticut earn an average of $53,410 per year.2 There are possibilities in both the private and government sectors for a paralegal to find work.

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 offers a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies as well as a paralegal studies certificate. The BS is a 120-credit hour program, while the certificate requires 18 credit hours to complete. Both programs are approved by the American Bar Association. All students are required to take 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 school’s Legal Society and 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 in Paralegal Studies, a Bachelor of Science in University Studies with Paralegal Studies Concentration, and a paralegal certificate. All three programs have been approved by the American Bar Association and are taught by expert faculty. The BS in paralegal studies requires 120 credit hours, while the AS and the paralegal certificate are 60 and 19 credit hours respectively. The Department of University Studies has established relationships with over two dozen law firms, government offices, and courthouses where students can complete internships for course credit.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Connecticut

Finn Dixon & Herling LLP has been regularly named by Chambers as a Band 1 Corporate/M&A law firm. 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.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Connecticut

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

Manchester Community College (Manchester)*
Associate of Science | Administrative Assistant: Legal Option
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Naugatuck Valley Community College (Waterbury)
Associate of Science Degree | Legal Assistant/Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Studies/Paralegal

Norwalk Community College (Norwalk)*
Associate in Science | Legal Assistant
Certificate | Legal Assistant

Quinnipiac University (Hamden)*
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Master of Laws | Health Law
Minor | Studies in the Law
Minor | Dispute Resolution
Certificate | Health Care Compliance

Sacred Heart University (Fairfield)
Certificate | Paralegal (online)
Certificate | Advanced Paralegal (online)
Certificate | Legal Secretary (online)
Certificate | Legal Investigation (online)
Certificate | Personal Injury Law for Paralegals

University of Hartford (West Hartford)*
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Studies Concentration
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal

University of New Haven (West Haven)*
Associate of Science | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies: Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies: Dispute Resolution
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies: Public Affairs
Minor | Legal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Program | Pre-Law

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

  • Connecticut Bar Association – Provides resources and membership benefits to those in the legal industry in Connecticut. It is 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. US Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
3. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm