South Dakota Paralegal Schools
South Dakota paralegal schools offer students the ability to earn a paralegal degree in one of America’s fastest growing fields in spite of the recession, and learn how to assist attorneys and handle a number of matters involving legal casework on their own. While South Dakota paralegal aspirants can’t offer legal advice or represent clients, they can play a key role in how a case is developed. Employing only 440 paralegals in 2014, South Dakota is also the fifth least populous state in the US.1 The highest concentration of paralegals in the state can be found in the Sioux Falls area, which employs about half of South Dakota’s paralegal population.1
How to Become a Paralegal in South Dakota
There are a number of schools that offer associate degree or bachelor’s degree programs to offer educational opportunities to become a paralegal in South Dakota. There is no particular educational or training path required for paralegals to practice in South Dakota. Still, it helps for aspiring paralegals in the state to seek an education in paralegal studies, especially one that offers an internship so that students can gain experience they can use later.
South Dakota Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
Paralegals in South Dakota saw average salaries of $43,810 per year, or $21.06 per hour, in 2014.1 While the state employs a relatively low number of paralegals, the field is expected to grow in the state, increasing by 20.3% by 2022, according to Projections Central.2 South Dakota also boasts a low unemployment rate, being ranked fourth lowest in the nation in a March 2015 poll.3
ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in South Dakota
There are currently three South Dakota paralegal schools that are approved by the American Bar Association. They are:
- National American University – Rapid City in Rapid City offers an Associate of Applied Science and a Bachelor of Science in paralegals studies.
- National American University – Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls offers an Associate of Applied Science and a Bachelor of Science in paralegals studies.
- Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City offers an associate degree in paralegals studies.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in South Dakota
Western Dakota Technical Institute: Western Dakota Technical Institute’s Legal and Public Services Programs include an American Bar Association-approved paralegal/legal assistant Associate of Applied Science. This 72-hour, 18-month program generates skilled graduates who are ready to pursue one of the 20 fastest growing professions in the United States today. The core major courses include Introduction to Paralegalism, Torts, Criminal Law, Real Property, Legal Research and Writing (I and II), and Contracts. The required internship course is seven credits and involves 280 work hours in a law office.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in South Dakota
The Bangs McCullen Law Firm was founded in the Dakota Territory before South Dakota became a state, and has developed with changing legal theory and technology to become one of the most respected law firms in South Dakota today. The firm’s attorneys work in a variety of practice areas from its offices in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Bangs McCullen regularly recruits for paralegals. Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith LLP is one of the largest law firms in South Dakota, and has grown its practice by listening to its clients’ needs. Davenport Evans invites qualified paralegals to inquire about opportunities with the firm. Gunderson Palmer Nelson Ashmore LLP partners with its clients to provide solutions to their needs, and prides itself on its experience in various areas of the law. Gunderson Palmer frequently recruits for paralegals to join its team.
Paralegal Schools and Programs in South Dakota
Globe University (Sioux Falls, SD)
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies (online program)
Bachelor Degree | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor Degree | Paralegal Studies (online program)
National American University (Rapid City, SD;Sioux Falls, SD)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Western Dakota Tech (Rapid City, SD)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal/Legal Assistant
South Dakota Paralegal Association – This non-profit organization was established to grow the paralegal profession and is afflicted with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
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
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm