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New York Paralegal Schools

New York employed a whopping 22,660 paralegals in 2014, the third most for any state, following California and Florida.1 The New York metropolitan area also has the highest level of employment for the profession.1 Aspiring paralegals who choose one of the New York paralegal schools can gain the skills and education necessary to earn a paralegal degree and enter one of the fastest growing professions with one of the highest rates of pay for those graduating with an associate degree or certificate degree. Paralegals don’t practice law, but instead conduct research of relevant cases, interview witnesses for trials, assist with deposition preparation and prepare a variety of documents.

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How to Become a Paralegal in New York

There are currently no licensing requirements to work as a paralegal in New York. Employers typically look for a combination of education and experience when hiring for a paralegal position. New York paralegal aspirants generally focus on a number of key legal fields, including trusts and estates, business organization, real estate and contracts. While the state does not mandate any minimal educational requirements for paralegals, groups such as the Empire State Alliance of Paralegals Associations strongly advocate for the education of New York paralegals.1 They suggest that an education requirement be implemented for state paralegals, which would mandate all paralegals to possess a postgraduate certificate, a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, or an associate degree in paralegal studies.2

New York Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

New York state has one of the highest levels of employment for paralegals, as well as one of the highest average salaries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Paralegals in the state earn an average of $56,200, with salaries in and around New York City closer to $60,080.3 Opportunities for lateral advancement are possible for those moving from law firms to corporate legal and finance departments, as well as New York state and local agencies. The outlook for paralegals in New York is also promising. In the area of professional and business services, which includes legal services, New York grew by 3.7% between 2012 and 2013, which is slightly faster than average.4 The profession as a whole is expected to grow by 15.8% in the state through the year 2022, which is just under the national average for the profession, but still very high, making New York a good place to pursue a paralegal degree.5

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Paralegal Quote: “Never stop learning. I worked as a commercial real estate paralegal at Blank Rome LLP for over eight years. On January 9, 2012, I will start as a commercial real estate paralegal at Chadbourne & Parke LLP. Sounds the same, doesn’t it? However, the group I am joining assists with energy projects and this is something that I never did before. People who don’t know the subject matter will say that ‘real estate’ is always ‘real estate’. But it is not true. There is a huge difference between residential and commercial real estate, between representation of a lender and a borrower, a buyer and a seller, selling of a multifamily project and shopping mall, or buying an office building and a hotel chain.” -Mariana Fradman, President of the New York City Paralegal Association Inc.

ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in New York

There are currently 20 New York paralegal schools that have been approved by the American Bar Association. They include:

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Profiles of Well-Known Schools in New York

St. John’s University: The Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at St. John’s University has three American Bar Association Legal Studies programs: a Bachelor of Science, and Associate of Science, and a certificate. The BS is a four-year, 126-hour program while the AS and certificate are 60 hours and 21 hours respectively. The Legal Society and Lambda Epsilon Chi are two student organizations through which Legal Studies majors can develop their social and professional networks. Four members of the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies faculty teach the different legal studies programs.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in New York

The Lanier Law Firm is one of the best law firms not just in New York, but in the entire US, with the National Law Journal calling the firm’s founder Mark Lanier “one of the decade’s most influential lawyers.” The Lanier Law Firm specializes in complex litigation and provides legal and trial counsel services. Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. is a top ranked mid-size firm, and provides services in most areas of the law. Hurwitz & Fine takes pride in its staff, and invites qualified applicants to contact the firm for opportunities. Harris Beach PLLC provides full-service representation and legal advice, and also has deep experience in narrow areas of the law, such as nanotechnology and energy. Harris Beach seeks well rounded professionals to work in a supportive environment with abundant training and mentoring for career growth.

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Online and New York Paralegal Schools

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Paralegal Schools and Programs in New York

Berkeley College (New York, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Bryant & Stratton College (Albany, NY; Amherst, NY; Buffalo, NY; Liverpool, NY; Orchard Park, NY;
Rochester, NY; Syracuse, NY)

Associate Degree | Paralegal
Associate of Science | Paralegal

CUNY-Bronx Community College (Bronx, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

CUNY-LaGuardia Community College (Long Island City, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

CUNY-New York City College of Technology (Brooklyn, NY)
Associate Degree | Law and Paralegal Studies
Bachelor Degree | Law and Paralegal Studies

Everest Institute (Rochester, NY)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Finger Lakes Community College (Canandaigua, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Genesee Community College (Batavia, NY)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Herkimer County Community College (Herkimer, NY)
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal (online program)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (online program)

Hilbert College (Hamburg, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies

Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Certificate | Paralegal

Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY)
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Nassau Community College (Garden City, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

New York Career Institute (New York, NY)
Associate in Occupational Studies | Stenotype Court Reporter
Associate of Science | Paralegal/Legal Assistant
Associate of Science | Stenotype Court Reporting
Certificate | Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Olean Business Institute (Olean, NY)
Associate Degree | Paralegal

SUNY-Broome Community College (Binghamton, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

SUNY-Dutchess Community College (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

SUNY-Erie Community College (Buffalo, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

SUNY-Jefferson Community College (Watertown, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

SUNY-Rockland Community College (Suffern, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

SUNY-Schenectady County Community College (Schenectady, NY)
Associate Degree | Paralegal

SUNY-Suffolk County Community College (Selden, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

SUNY-Westchester Community College (Valhalla, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Tompkins Cortland Community College (Dryden, NY)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Additional Resources:

Empire State Alliance of Paralegals Associations, Inc. – Strengthening the paralegal profession in New York State through networking.

The Western New York Paralegal Association, Inc. (WNYPA) – A voluntary, non-profit association that exists to promote high ethical standards for paralegals in the western portion of the state.

The New York City Paralegal Association, Inc. (NYCPA) – An organization whose primary objectives are education, networking, proficiency standards, and professional recognition.

Capital District Paralegal Association, Inc. (CDPA) – Nonprofit association that exists to promote the image of paralegals within the legal community and to foster the education of and communication among fellow paralegals in the Capital District area.

References:
1. Empire State Alliance of Paralegals Associations, Inc.: http://empirestateparalegals.org/faqs
2. Empire State Alliance of Paralegals Associations, Position Statement on Paralegal Education Standards in New York State: http://empirestateparalegals.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/ESAPA_Paralegal_Education_Position_Paper1.114183058.pdf
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
4. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
5. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm