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Massachusetts Paralegal Schools

About 7,400 paralegals are employed in Massachusetts, with over 5,000 of these professionals working in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metropolitan area.1 It can take as little as two years to complete a paralegal degree at one of the numerous Massachusetts paralegal schools. Becoming a paralegal in Massachusetts means joining one of the fastest-growing career areas in the state.

How to Become a Paralegal in Massachusetts

There are a variety of programs available at Massachusetts paralegal schools, including two-year associate degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees. There are also certificate programs available for those who have previous college and/ or work experience. The state prohibits paralegals from giving legal advice to clients, and mandates that they work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Prospective paralegals in Maryland may choose to pursue national certification after completing a paralegal degree, which increases candidates’ competitiveness in the job market.

Paralegal Quote: “I was told to find an area of the law that I enjoyed and stick with it. Do not try and be a jack of all trades and master of none. Find something, do it, get great at it.” -Shawn Hartman, Chair of Probates/Estate at the Massachusetts Paralegal Association

Massachusetts Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Massachusetts paralegals earn higher salaries than the national average, averaging $52,790 per year as of May 2015.1 The Boston-Cambridge-Newton area boasts the eighth-highest employment level of paralegals out of all metro areas in the US.1 The job prospects for paralegals in the state of Massachusetts are good, with an increase of 6.5% in paralegal jobs expected through 2024.2 Job opportunities are available at nonprofits and corporate legal departments in addition to the numerous law firms.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Massachusetts

Boston University: Boston University’s online Certificate in Paralegal Studies program allows students to benefit from BU’s high standards of academic quality without ever coming to campus. Designed to present an affordable, flexible path towards working as a paralegal, the program’s curriculum focuses on the skills employers expect, offering hands-on practice working with the technologies and databases paralegals use on a regular basis. Through specialized modules, real-world case studies, and practical exercises, students can prepare to excel in the field with the help of expert BU faculty members. The program also includes access to the WestLawNext database, an essential case research tool, to help give students direct experience navigating one of the paralegal’s most fundamental job functions. Students can complete the program in just 14 weeks, making it a perfect option for career changers looking to make a quick transition and explore new opportunities.

Suffolk University: Suffolk University’s Government Department offers a bachelor’s degree in applied legal studies, an associate degree in applied legal studies, and a paralegal certificate, all of which are approved by the American Bar Association. Applied legal studies students can choose from four different academic tracks in Public Interest, Litigation, Corporate/Business, or Family Law, each of which are based on specialized courses. Students have access to top libraries and legal research facilities with Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis, and the department assists with dozens of internship placements each semester. Courses are taught by licensed and practicing attorneys who have extensive professional networks in the Boston area.

Northern Essex Community College: Northern Essex Community College offers an American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies certificate and two unique associate’s degrees with career option and transfer options. The career option is designed for students who wish to become professional paralegals upon graduation and the transfer option is suited for those who wish to transfer to a four-year university. In addition to being ABA-approved, Northern Essex Community College is an institutional member of both the American Association for Paralegal Studies and the Massachusetts Paralegal Association, through which students can be alerted of internship and employment opportunities. Seven faculty members teach for the paralegal studies division and all have extensive experience in the legal profession.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Massachusetts

Mclane Middleton is a diverse and progressive practice that uses unique hiring strategies, training, and technology to assist its clients in navigating the legal landscape. The firm has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA, and has the highest legal ability rating awarded by Martindale-Hubbell. At McLane Middleton family comes first, leading to add-on benefits few other firms offer such as an annual Children’s Holiday Party and Ice Cream Socials. Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP is a leading law firm with a focus on top-quality service. It accepts resumes from recent paralegal graduates interested in contributing to its practice. Goodwin Procter began its practice in Boston in 1912 and is now an internationally known and recognized law firm. Few other firms can claim the history that Goodwin Procter can, as the firm has taken part in historic high profile cases involving the Titanic and the Nuremberg trials, among others. It offers paralegals career tracks to higher levels of responsibility while earning levels of compensation that only top firms can offer.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Massachusetts

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

Assumption College (Worcester)
Minor | Law, Ethics, and Constitutional Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Program | Pre-Law

Bay Path College (Longmeadow)*
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Bachelor Degree | Dual Major: Legal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies: Forensic Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Minor | Legal Studies
Certificate | Advanced Paralegal Studies

Boston University (Boston)
Bachelor of Science | Business Administration- Law Concentration
Executive Master of Laws | International Business Law
Master of Laws | American Law
Master of Laws | Banking & Financial Law
Master of Laws | Intellectual Property Law
Master of Laws | Taxation
Master of Laws | Taxation (online)
Program | Pre-Law
Certificate | Paralegal (online program)

Bunker Hill Community College (Boston)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal

Cape Cod Community College (West Barnstable)
Certificate | Paralegal

Elms College (Chicopee)*
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Social Services and Paralegal Studies
Minor | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Advanced Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Legal Nurse Consulting

Massachusetts Bay Community College (Wellesley Hills)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (online)
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies (online)

Middlesex Community College (Bedford; Lowell)*
Associate of Science | Liberal Studies: Paralegal
Associate of Science | Liberal Studies: Paralegal Transfer
Post-Graduate Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Mount Wachusett Community College (Gardner)
Associate’s Degree | Legal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal

Newbury College (Brookline)
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies

Northern Essex Community College (Haverhill)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal

North Shore Community College (Danvers)*
Associate of Science | Legal Administrative Assistant
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Office Support
Certificate | Paralegal

Quincy College (Quincy)
Associate in Science | Legal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Suffolk University (Boston)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Applied Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Applied Legal Studies
Accelerated Master of Business Administration for Lawyers
JD/Master of Laws | Taxation: Accelerated Dual Degree
Master of Laws | General
Master of Laws | Global Law and Technology
Six-Year Bachelor’s/Law Degree
Certificate | Legal Practice Skills
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst)
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies

Student Review: “UMass Amherst has a fairly decent legal studies program. It’s good in its faculty and integrity, but offers little sense of community or any small class sizes. Even as an older student, my classes are around 30-40 people, which for me, feels big. It’s reading intense and can honestly be kind of boring. I noticed a definite liberal bias and a certain spin on certain issues by particular professors. Overall it’s a challenging program and would prepare someone well for law school or any job in that service. I would suggest taking a science major at UMass- much better buildings, class sizes, and creativity.” – Student at University of Massachusetts Amherst

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

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. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm