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Rhode Island Paralegal Schools

While Rhode Island is the smallest in area of all the United States and the eighth least populous, it is also the second most densely populated state. Employing 1,120 paralegals in the year 2014, and with one paralegal school currently approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), Rhode Island is becoming a good place to be a paralegal.1 The neighboring states of Massachusetts and Connecticut employ many paralegals (6,700 and 5,200 respectively), and the nearby state of New York employed 22,660 paralegals in 2014.1

How to Become a Paralegal in Rhode Island

As in other states, paralegals in Rhode Island are not required to hold a particular degree or certification in order to be hired, but they must work under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney, and are unable to give legal advice to the general public. Attending a paralegal school will be beneficial to any perspective paralegals in Rhode Island, as it will give them the training, and possibly experience through internships, they need to be most hirable.

Rhode Island Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Rhode Island boasts a fast-growing market for well-trained paralegals despite its smaller population. Due to its small size, the average paralegal salary does not fluctuate between locations in the state, and is very high compared to the national average. Paralegals in the state earned an average salary of about $50,350 or $24.21 per hour in 2014.1 The outlook for paralegals in the state is also positive. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which measures the gross domestic product for each state, stated that in the category of professional services, which includes legal services, Rhode Island grew by 7.4% between the years of 2012 and 2013, which is double that of the United States as a whole for the same time period.2 With these statistics in mind, and since the profession is growing at a faster rate than other professions, with 17% projected growth through 2022, Rhode Island is a good place to start a career as a paralegal.3

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Rhode Island

Roger Williams University: The School of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Roger Williams University has an Associate of Science, a Bachelor of Science, and a certificate in paralegal studies. These three programs are the only American Bar Association-approved paralegal courses of study in the state of Rhode Island. The BS consists of 121 credit hours of coursework while the AS is 61 hours. The certificate program takes only two semesters to complete. Many of the courses are available online, making instruction convenient for students working full time, but a minimum of 10 hours must be completed within a physical classroom.

Community College of Rhode Island: An associate degree in paralegal studies is available through the Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Department at the Community College of Rhode Island. This is a 61-credit hour course of study with 40 hours reserved for major courses. In addition to legal courses, paralegal studies students enroll in business and communications classes to become efficient with accounting and different specialty software applications. Core Paralegal Studies courses include Criminal Procedure, Introduction to Paralegal Studies, Law of Contracts, Law of Evidence, and Constitutional Law.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Rhode Island

Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. has been ranked as one of the best law firms in Rhode Island by Chambers USA. This firm uses an open approach to law that allows it to be flexible in servicing the needs of its clients. Adler Pollock & Sheehan prefers to hire professionals looking for a long term career, who are respectful and dedicated to their work. Taylor Duane Barton & Gilman LLP is one of Rhode Island’s largest law firms. The firm’s attorneys work in many different areas of the law, including appellate litigation, business law, and real estate and land use litigation. Taylor Duane has regularly been ranked as one of the Best Places to Work in Rhode Island. Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP is a full-service firm dedicated to excellence in all of its activities, and has also been ranked as one of the Best Places to Work in Rhode Island. Thanks to its growth track, Partridge Snow is regularly recruiting.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Rhode Island

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

Community College of Rhode Island (Warwick)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Roger Williams University (Bristol)*
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Nurse Paralegal

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