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Hawaii Paralegal Schools

Hawaii currently employs around 1,170 paralegals.1 This can mean that an aspiring paralegal in Hawaii is facing a large amount of competition when it comes to getting employment in this field. For this reason, it makes sense for the Hawaii paralegal candidate to enroll in a reputable paralegal degree or certificate program. Hawaii has two brick-and-mortar schools that offer a paralegal program. There are many online options for those wishing to become a paralegal in Hawaii.

How to Become a Paralegal in Hawaii

Hawaii, like many other states, does not have specific educational or training requirements to become a paralegal. There have been recent attempts to mandate educational training for paralegals in Hawaii, but no laws have been passed yet. Attending a paralegal program in Hawaii can be beneficial to the aspiring paralegal, as it can provide necessary skills and a means of networking with future job prospects. A paralegal in this state must work under the supervision of a lawyer.

Hawaii Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Despite the fact that Hawaii currently employs a relatively low number of paralegals, the industry as a whole is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 17% growth in the legal industry by 2022, which is faster than average growth.1 The Bureau of Economic Analysis measures gross domestic product for each state. In addition, they analyzed the growth of the business and professional services industry, which includes legal services, and found that Hawaii had a 3% growth from 2012 to 2013.2 This is just slightly below the national average of 3.5%. In general, Hawaii’s unemployment rate is quite low. As of February 2015, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.1%, which ranked 11th out of 50 states and Washington D.C.3

The average annual salary for a paralegal in Hawaii was $51,490 in 2014.1 This figure could be higher for a paralegal with more qualifications and experience, and could also vary depending upon where the paralegal is employed, such as working for a large firm versus working for a non-profit organization.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Hawaii

Kapi’olani Community College: The Business, Legal, and Technology Education division at Kapi’olani Community College has the only American Bar Association-approved paralegal program in the state of Hawaii. The Associate of Science is a two-year evening course of study that is a total of 60 credit hours. All students enroll in foundation paralegal courses such as the Hawaii Legal System and Legal Research during their first year and then move onto specialized advanced courses their second year. Second-year courses are specifically designed to prepare students for specialized paralegal practices including legal writing, client interviewing and litigation.

Hawaii Community College: Though not approved by the American Bar Association, the Hawaii Community College (a satellite campus of the University of Hawaii) offers a thorough and practical paralegal program. The Paralegal Certificate Course is offered both face-to-face and online for both beginning and advanced legal professionals. The program consists of two consecutive, intensive courses (Paralegal I and II), which together costs students less than $1,200. Both courses can be completed in less than two months and will adequately prepare interested individuals to work within attorney offices.

Online Paralegal Programs Available in Hawaii

There are many paralegal degree programs that are offered online in Hawaii. Some offer an associate’s degree in paralegal (Virginia College, Stonecliffe College Online, and Westwood College). Some offer an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree. Some programs offer a certificate program in addition to their associate’s and bachelor’s degrees (Minnesota School of Business and Post University. George Washington University offers an online Master’s degree (Master of Professional Studies in Paralegal Studies), which is similar to their campus program.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Hawaii

Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel was founded in 1878 and represents local, national, and international clients from its headquarters in Honolulu. Its multiple recognitions and awards bolster its reputation as a world-class firm. Goodsill strives to provide a congenial and cooperative work environment and looks for applicants who will contribute towards the firm’s goals. Cades Schutte is also based in Honolulu, with additional offices in Kailua-Kona and Waimea. Cades works to train its professionals and maintains an environment of talent and creativity where recent paralegal graduates can thrive. Carlsmith Ball LLP is the oldest law firm in Hawaii and is also one of the largest. The firm provides legal services to Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size businesses, governments, and individuals. Carlsmith Ball is hiring to meet the staffing needs of its Pacific expansion.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Hawaii

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

Hawaii Community College (Hilo)
Certificate | Paralegal

Kapiolani Community College (Honolulu)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Secretary

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

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, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm