Maine Paralegal Schools
Maine currently employs 1,010 paralegals.1 Considering the fact that Maine is also the ninth least populous state, this number does not seem so low. Still, though, the profession is seeing growth in Maine, as well as the rest of the country. However, competition can be fierce. Thus, it makes sense for an aspiring paralegal in Maine to gain preparation through a structured paralegal program. Program options in Maine are limited, and there are currently no programs in the state that are approved by the American Bar Association. There are, however, some campus-based programs, and also online options for the individual who is committed to becoming a paralegal in Maine.
How to Become a Paralegal in Maine
Maine is similar to many other states in that there are no specific requirements for becoming a paralegal; however Maine law states that a person who does not possess proper education or experience and represents himself or herself as a paralegal can be be subject to legal ramifications.2 So in Maine, even more than in other states, it makes sense for prospective paralegals to pursue a paralegal degree, not only to be more competitive, but also to avoid potential legal problems. As is common for other states, Maine paralegals are required to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
Maine Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
The overall employment outlook for Maine is average, with an unemployment rate of 5.0% reported in February 2015.3 This puts Maine at number 21 in the nation.3 Specifically, the paralegal profession looks good. The average annual salary for a Maine paralegal is $44,450, and it also appears that the field is growing.1 The Bureau of Economic Analysis measured gross domestic product for each state, and more importantly, the Business and Professional Services industry, of which legal services is included. Maine saw a 3.6% growth from 2012 to 2013.4 This is just slightly above the national average of 3.5% for this industry. Nationally, the paralegal profession is expected to grow 17% by 2022, which is seen as above-average growth.1 Knowing this, it seems that an aspiring paralegal in Maine would be wise to take steps to become as marketable as possible, as this can be a profession that is both lucrative and fulfilling.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Maine
Husson University: The School of Legal Studies at Husson University offers three Paralegal Studies programs: a Bachelor of Science, an Associate of Science, and a paralegal studies certificate. Students have two organizations, the Paralegal Club and Lambda Epsilon Chi Honor Society, through which to build social and professional circles. The paralegal studies certificate is designed to supplement a two-year or four- year degree and consists of 36 credit hours. The Bachelor of Science and the Associate of Science are 121 hours and 60 hours, respectively, and both adequately prepare individuals to succeed in the paralegal profession.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Maine
Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios, Chartered, LLP maintains offices throughout New England, and works with some of the most successful businesses in the region. The firm stands out from other law firms in its focus on going green with an in-house sustainability program to reduce its environmental impact. Preti Flaherty gives its staff a rewarding work life balance while challenging them to be the best. Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A. is headquartered in Portland, Maine, and is one of the largest multi-service law firms in northern New England. It seeks not just qualified individuals but individuals committed to client service for its paralegal needs. Drummond Woodsum is regularly lauded for its pro bono work and its work in immigrant advocacy. Founded in 1965, Drummond Woodsum is well known and still growing, leading to a need for recent paralegal graduates who want to work in a cooperative office that encourages all professionals to share their ideas.
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Maine
Husson University (Bangor, ME)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Kaplan University (S Portland, ME)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Maine State Bar Association – Promotes advancement of skills and knowledge, and also professionalism, while helping all people of Maine to have their legal needs met.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Maine State Legislature: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/4/title4ch18.pdf
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
4. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/