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Oregon Paralegal Schools

Oregon paralegal schools help students start careers in a rewarding and growing field by offering the opportunity to earn a paralegal degree. About 3,050 paralegals were working in Oregon as of 2015 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, with most of these positions in the Portland metro area.1 Oregon is also one of the top-paying states for paralegals and legal assistants. For these reasons, it can be a good decision for a person interested in becoming a paralegal to start their career by attending an Oregon paralegal school.

How to Become a Paralegal in Oregon

There are no standards set by law for the training or education of prospective paralegals in the state of Oregon, although as in most other states, a paralegal must work under the direct supervision of an attorney who accepts responsibility for the professional actions of the paralegal. Because of this professional relationship and the growing scope of work assigned to paralegals, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have earned a paralegal degree. Candidates who also hold certification from an organization like the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) can gain a competitive edge in this jobs market.

Oregon Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Paralegals in Oregon earn a relatively a high annual salary, averaging $54,180 per year as of 2015.1 Projections Central predicts a 15.6% increase in paralegal jobs in Oregon through 2024, which is higher than the national growth rate, predicted at 8%.2,3 For these reasons, the outlook for perspective paralegals in the state of Oregon is strong, making it an ideal state in which to pursue an education in paralegal studies and to secure a job as a paralegal.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Oregon

Pioneer Pacific College: Pioneer Pacific College offers an American Bar Association-approved Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies at the Wilsonville and Clackamas campuses. This program is typically completed in 70 academic weeks and includes a 180-clock hour internship. The required core major courses include topics in criminal law, legal research, legal writing, civil procedures, and business law. Pioneer Pacific College has a partnership with MonsterTRAK in order to provide students with online notices of new job and internship opportunities.

Portland Community College: Portland Community College has two American Bar Association-approved paralegal programs: an Associate of Applied Science and a certificate. The AAS is a 90-credit hour degree with 45 hours set aside for paralegal classes, while the certificate is a 45-credit hour limited-admission course of study. Both AAS and certificate students must complete Introduction to Law (Fundamentals, Substantive Areas, and Ethics); Techniques of Interview; Legal Software; Legal Research and Library Use; Computer Research in Law; and Applied Legal Research and Drafting. Specialized courses available include Estate Planning, Income Tax Law, Immigration Law, and Corporate Law Practice.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Oregon

National firm Stoel Rives LLP maintains its largest office in Oregon, which is also the largest law practice in Oregon. Stoel Rives’ attorneys focus on corporate and industrial law, and within this scope the firm can handle nearly any litigation or transaction. This firm offers competitive benefits and a commitment to recognizing the contributions of its professional staff. Dunn, Carney, Allen, Higgins & Tongue, LLP is another of Oregon’s largest law firms, with over 70 years in business. Dunn Carney relies on paralegals to supplement the work of its attorneys in providing quality, cost-effective service, and consistently solicits resumes. Harrang Long Gray Rudnick PC has been ranked by US News as one of the nation’s best law firms. The scope of its practice is broad, offering paralegals the opportunity to work within many areas of the law.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Oregon

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

Pioneer Pacific College (HCI | Wilsonville)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Portland Community College (Portland)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Umpqua Community College (Roseburg)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Assitant

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

  • Oregon Paralegal Association – The OPA exists to support members of the paralegal and legal assistant community of Oregon, offering conferences and opportunities for members to network and advance in the profession.
  • Pacific Northwest Paralegal Association – PNPA is an organization dedicated to serving Oregon and southwest Washington paralegals by helping them build their skills and learn about trends in the market and leadership opportunities.

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
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm