Montana Paralegal Schools
In Montana, 950 paralegals were employed in the year 2014.1 Since it is the third least-densely populated state, this low number comes at no surprise. More people are taking advantage of courses offered in Montana paralegal schools as jobs in legal administration grow throughout the state. Prospective students have taken note of the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting as much as 23.3% growth in the career field in Montanta.3
How to Become a Paralegal in Montana
Montana is a unique legal market and students currently living in the state or planning to move there should research what the needs of their potential employers may be. Since the area of legal administration is not regulated like that of attorneys, employers are free to set their own employee requirements.
A career as a paralegal most often begins with some level of study, although there are many programs available to fit a wide a range of student needs. Montana students have a choice of whether they will participate in a certificate or paralegal degree program, and whether they will do it in a physical classroom or online.
Montana Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
In 2014, Montana paralegals earned an average of $44,180 per year.1 However, in the Great Falls and Billings areas, paralegals made over $50,000 on average.1 With a low unemployment rate of 4.3%, Montana ranks 15th lowest in the country.2 Through 2022, the state is expected to grow by 23.3% in paralegal jobs, which is much higher than the national rate of 16.7%.3 That said, Montana seems to be an ideal place to start a career as a paralegal.
ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Montana
There are two Montana paralegal schools that have the American Bar Association certification. They include:
- University Of Great Falls in Great Falls offers a bachelor’s degree and an associate degree in paralegal studies.
- University of Montana in Missoula offers an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Montana
University of Great Falls: The University of Great Falls offers a Bachelor of Science in legal and paralegal studies as well as an Associate of Science in paralegal studies; both approved by the American Bar Association. Both types of students are required to complete and pass Introduction to Paralegalism, Introduction to Legal Analysis, and Legal Research and Writing. Paralegal majors also must pursue an internship with a designated law office or legal agency/organization to gain the necessary experience for the paralegal profession. The Bachelor of Science is 128 credit hours while the Associate of Science is exactly half the number of hours and is divided according to a four-semester plan.
The University of Montana: The Department of Business Technology at the University of Montana has an American Bar Association-approved Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies. This is a four-semester program that admits new students only in the fall and consists of 70 credit hours. Not only do students enroll in Paralegal Studies courses, but they must also complete lower level accounting, computer information systems, business, and psychology classes. Two dozen full-time and part-time professors and instructors teach for the Department of Business Technology and contribute to the multidisciplinary curriculum of the paralegal studies program.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Montana
Garlington, Lohn & Robinson PLLP has been rated by US News as one of the best law firms in Missoula. Many of its attorneys have also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America. GLR specializes in many practice areas for businesses and individuals, including Real Estate Law, Intellectual Property, Estate Planning, and Products Liability. Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry, & Hoven P.C. has four offices across Montana from Bozeman to Great Falls, primarily servicing businesses and allied trade associations. Its core competencies are in legislative and public affairs, but the firm has grown to provide all types of legal services to its clients. BKBH invites recent paralegal graduates to contact the firm regarding career opportunities. Moulton Bellingham P.C. traces its Montana roots back to the turn of the century. It is one of the most respected law firms in Montana, with a diverse client base. The firm welcomes inquiries from paralegals interested in starting a career at Moulton Bellingham, with competitive salaries and excellent benefits.
Online and Montana Paralegal Schools
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Montana
The University of Montana (Montana, MT)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
University of Great Falls (Great Falls, MT)
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies
Montana Association of Legal Assistants/ Paralegals (MALA) – Formed in 1992, MALA exists to foster communication between and promote the growth of Montana legal assistants and paralegals.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rate for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm