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New Mexico Paralegal Schools

The sixth least-densely populated state in the US, New Mexico employed 1,310 paralegals in 2014, with the majority of those in the Albuquerque area.1 New Mexico paralegal schools afford aspirants the ability to receive specialized training and earn a paralegal degree in one of the fastest growing fields, and one with strong prospects for good financial earnings. New Mexico paralegals cannot engage in the practice of law; instead, they are involved with research, case preparation and document review on behalf of attorneys at law firms, corporate finance and legal departments, as well as agencies at all levels of government.

How to Become a Paralegal in New Mexico

There are no specific educational requirements for becoming a paralegal in New Mexico, but most employers strongly prefer those applicants with a solid educational foundation in paralegal studies or a background working as a paralegal. While they cannot give legal advice to the general public or represent clients in courts of law, paralegals must work under the supervision of a lawyer.

New Mexico Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The average paralegal in New Mexico earned $42,940 in 2014, but in the Santa Fe area, the average was a bit higher, at $46,270.1 The outlook for paralegals in New Mexico is not as strong as other states. The profession is expected to grow by 8.7% in the state through 2022, which is lower than the national average for the profession, of 16.7%.2 With the tight competition that might occur due to the market there, prospective paralegals will be more marketable if they have a degree in paralegal studies when applying for jobs. New Mexico paralegals can expect lateral advancement through jobs at government agencies or corporate legal departments as well as vertically with supervisory positions.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in New Mexico

Central New Mexico Community College: The School of Health, Wellness and Public Safety at the Central New Mexico Community College has an American Bar Association approved Associate of Applied Science and a post-degree certificate of completion in paralegal studies. The AAS is meant for individuals that wish to either become employed upon graduation or transfer to a four-year university while the 32-hour certificate is designed for those who already possess a two-year or four-year degree. Students from both courses of study must complete and pass Introduction to Paralegal Studies, American Law and Ethics, Torts, Legal Research and Writing, and Civil Litigation. All majors are required to pursue an internship during their final semester within a designated law office in the Albuquerque area.

Doña Ana Community College: One of the many professional degrees offered by Doña Ana Community College in Las Cruces, New Mexico is the paralegal studies Associate of Applied Science. This is a 69-76-hour program that has 34-40 of those hours dedicated to paralegal courses. Additionally, students must complete 16-17 hours of related/professional courses, including Accounting Procedures I, Work Readiness and Preparation, Keyboarding Basics and Information Processing. Majors can earn up to six credit hours through an internship and core Paralegal Studies courses include Legal System for the Paralegal, Legal Terminology, Virtual Law Office, and Litigation for the Paralegal.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in New Mexico

As one of the largest law firms in New Mexico, Miller Stratvert P.A. offers comprehensive legal services in twenty practice areas, with strong experience in civil practice and complex litigation. Miller Stratvert offers its staff challenging work with rewarding compensation and benefits. Resumes from interested applicants are always accepted. Rodey Law Firm has offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, with departments devoted to business and litigation. Rodey Law Firm is firmly committed to diversity, believing that this focus makes it a better law firm and a better place for staff to work. Rodey promises a stimulating work environment with cooperation and support. Also in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Modrall Sperling has been ranked by the Best Lawyers in America, Southwest Super Lawyers, US News, and many other prestigious publications. Modrall Sperling needs qualified paralegals to support its expanding practice.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in New Mexico

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

Central New Mexico Community College (Albuquerque)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Arts | Pre-Law
Post-Degree Certificate of Completion | Paralegal Studies

New Mexico State University-Alamogordo (Alamogordo)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Legal Assistant/Paralegal

New Mexico State University-Dona Ana Community College (Las Cruces)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

San Juan College (Farmington)
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Assistant/Paralegal

Santa Fe Community College (Santa Fe)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Arts | Legal Studies
Certificate | Law Office Administrative Assistant
Certificate | Legal Secretary
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

*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. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm