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Michigan Paralegal Schools

About 5,300 paralegals were employed in Michigan in 2015, with the majority working in the Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills metro area.1 Michigan paralegal schools offer opportunities to earn a paralegal degree and learn the skills needed to enter a profession that plays a key role in the operation of law firms. Two- and four-year programs are found throughout the state, including online paralegal programs that offer flexible courses of study for working professionals.

How to Become a Paralegal in Michigan

Although paralegals can’t offer legal advice or represent clients in court, the support tasks that they perform make them a valuable commodity in law firms and corporations. No specific education is set by law to become a paralegal in Michigan, so prospective paralegals in the state may choose to pursue a paralegal degree or be trained on the job. To be the most competitive in the market, starting with a degree in paralegal studies and pursuing voluntary certification through an organization such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) is the surest way to get ahead of the competition.

Michigan Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Michigan paralegals earned an average salary of $50,240 as of May 2015, close to the national average for the profession.1 Paralegals in the Detroit area earned a much higher average during the same time period, at $61,420.1 Growth is expected to continue over the next several years, with Projections Central estimating an 8.8% increase in paralegal jobs in Michigan through 2024.2 Furthermore, since Michigan’s cost of living lower than the US average, salaries can go further, making it an attractive place to start a career as a paralegal. Prospective paralegals can consider positions in law firms, corporate legal and finance departments, and various government agencies. Increasing responsibilities allow for vertical career growth as managers or supervisors for paralegal teams.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Michigan

Oakland University: Oakland University’s Professional and Continuing Education division offers an American Bar Association-approved paralegal certificate. This program consists of 14 courses, with 10 dedicated to core paralegal classes. Students can take evening and Saturday classes in three 12-week terms, with term starts in September, January, and April. The paralegal certificate is meant to supplement a completed degree, and students must have completed a minimum of 45 credit hours from an accredited university or college to be eligible for admission.

Grand Valley State University: The School of Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University gives students the opportunity to pursue an American Bar Association-approved legal studies major. This four-year degree includes introductory courses such as Introduction to Law, Legal Research and Writing, Property and Probate Law, and Commercial Law. Students are also required to complete a Legal Studies internship with one of the many law offices that have relationships with the School of Criminal Justice. Students can apply to scholarships specifically designed for Legal Studies majors, such as the Paralegal Michigan Bar Association Scholarship.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Michigan

Garan Lucow Miller PC is headquartered in Detroit and is one of the largest law firms in the Great Lakes Region. The firm is continually expanding its practice areas and looks for qualified support staff with integrity, excellence, and high client service aptitudes. Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC maintains an outstanding reputation thanks to its focus on results and legal excellence in all areas of practice, to which it credits its focus on Midwestern values. Foster Swift works with clients of all sizes from individuals to corporations from its six Michigan offices. Foster Swift enjoys a low staff turnover rate thanks to its highly rated workplace, and encourages interested paralegals to apply for a position. Warner Norcross & Judd LLP is recognized by the leading legal publications in the US for its accomplishments and commitments to excellence. Warner Norcross represents some of the biggest names in US industry, including Whirlpool and Dow Chemical. Warner Norcross looks to hire the very best, and is aggressively recruiting diversity candidates.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Michigan

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

Baker College of Auburn Hills (Auburn Hills)*
Associate of Business | Paralegal
Associate of Business | Paralegal (online)
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Business Administration: Accelerated Program: Legal Studies

Baker College of Clinton Township (Clinton Township)*
Associate of Business | Paralegal
Associate of Business | Paralegal (online)

Baker College of Jackson (Jackson)*
Associate of Business | Paralegal

Davenport University (Grand Rapids)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies (online)

Delta College (University Center)
Associate in Business Studies | Legal Support Professional
Advanced Certificate | Legal Support Professional: Law Office Foundation
Advanced Certificate | Legal Support Professional: Law Office Specialist

Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti)*
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal (Legal Assisting) Studies
Second Bachelor’s Degree| Paralegal Studies

Ferris State University (Big Rapids)*
Associate of Arts | Pre-Law
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Studies

Grand Valley State University (Allendale)*
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Minor | Legal Studies
Legal Education Admission Program (LEAP) | Legal Studies
Program | Pre-Law

Henry Ford Community College (Dearborn)*
Associate in Business | Paralegal Studies

Lansing Community College (Lansing)*
Associate in Business | Paralegal
Post Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal

Macomb Community College (Warren)*
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Assistant

Madonna University (Livonia)*
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Nurse Paralegal

Oakland Community College (Bloomfield Hills)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Professional Paralegal

Oakland University (Rochester)*
Certificate | Paralegal
Program | Pre-Law Studies

Student Review: “My experience with this program has been below average. Some of the classes are very educational and enjoyable, but this all depends on the teacher. From my experience in completing this program I believe that this program has not prepared me to the fullest extent needed to be successful in this field. The program director seems to have a motive of only collecting money from the students and not in providing the most positive learning experience possible. Oakland University does not even recognize the fact that they have a paralegal program. It is off campus at other locations. Also there have been multiple years of problems between some teachers and the students, however even with multiple complaints to the director of the program nothing was done. The internship you must pay for even if you are currently employed with a law firm. Also they do not have the internship opportunities as advertised on the website. When researching ABA programs to attend part of the reason I choose OU is because they had better options for internships, and also stated they would place you in the required internship. However when it came time to do the internship, they were unable to place me in a firm or company other than Mike Morris. Nothing wrong with that, but I was looking for other options in law. Overall I am extremely disappointed in this program. I could have received the same education for half the price at a Community College opposed to this University. I do want to restate that I did value the information I was taught by a select few professors in this program. Even being told by a Judge who taught a class that we can contact her with not only her subject but any questions we may have in the future. This to me means a lot. I gave this 2 stars for the amazing few professors that did show compassion and teach us things that were useful in today’s paralegal world.” – Paula P., student at Oakland University
stars-2

Wayne County Community College District (Detroit)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

  • Great Lakes Paralegal Association – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants, GLPA is committed to helping area paralegals network and continue their education, while promoting national certification.
  • State Bar of Michigan – Provides education, information, and analysis to attorneys and paralegals in the state of Michigan.

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