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North Dakota Paralegal Schools

About 420 paralegals were employed in North Dakota as of 2015, while the state reported an unemployment rate of 3.2% in mid-2016, boasting the fourth-lowest state-level unemployment rate in the US.1,2 While North Dakota has a comparatively sparse population and is often considered remote, these characteristics can increase the value of a well-trained paralegal in the eyes of potential employers. Attending a paralegal school in North Dakota can provide prospective professionals with the skills required to succeed in this career.

How to Become a Paralegal in North Dakota

North Dakota’s laws do not require paralegals to be certified or licensed, although they cannot practice law or give legal advice to the general public and must work under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. Given this professional relationship, having an education in the paralegal field will certainly give applicants an advantage over their competitors. National certification from an organization like the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) is also strongly recommended.

North Dakota Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

North Dakota paralegals earned an average salary of $43,740 as of 2015.1 Higher averages are found in metro areas like Bismarck, where the average during the same time frame was $47,350.1 While paralegal salaries in North Dakota are competitive and the unemployment rate is low, there are a relatively low number of paralegal jobs expected in the coming years. Projections Central projects an annual average of 10 paralegal and legal assistant job openings in the state.3 This data suggests that North Dakota is seeing growth in the legal services field, which is good news for prospective paralegals who position themselves to compete for available positions.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in North Dakota

Rasmussen College: The School of Justice Studies at Rasmussen College offers an online paralegal associate degree and a paralegal certificate. The core courses in both programs include Introduction to Law and the Legal System, Civil Litigation and Procedure (I and II), Paralegal Ethics, and Legal Research. The associate degree is a 94-credit hour course of study while the paralegal certificate requires 61 credit hours. Students who attend Rasmussen College’s North Dakota campuses can enroll in face-to-face general education classes, but will need to complete the paralegal courses online.

Lake Region State College: For individuals who wish to pursue a career as a paralegal/legal assistant, Lake Region State College offers an administrative assistant (legal option) diploma and Associate of Applied Science. Both programs take two years to complete and include course requirements such as Business in the Legal Environment, Introduction to Criminal Justice, and Criminology. For advanced coursework, courses are divided into Categories I and II, with Category I consisting of accounting and other business courses and Category II courses focusing on topics including computer information systems and business technology.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in North Dakota

Mackoff Kellogg Law Firm is one of the leading law firms in North Dakota, and represents clients across the upper Midwest. Its business is focused on integrity, trust, respect, and results, as well as technology. Mackoff Kellogg goes to great lengths to recruit the best available talent, and invites inquiries from recent paralegal graduates. Crowley Fleck Attorneys LLP is a regional firm with offices in Bismarck and Williston, North Dakota, as well as in Montana. Crowley Fleck provides legal expertise in a broad array of practice areas. The firm looks for paralegal talent to support its position as one of the premier law firms in the upper Midwest. Ebeltoft Sickler, Lawyers takes a different approach to business than most law firms, attempting solve problems in new ways that tradition might not dictate. Ebeltoft Sickler invites paralegals to inquire about career opportunities.

Additional Resources

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. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
3. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm