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Washington D.C. Paralegal Schools

Washington D.C. is the 23rd most populous city in the United States, and in 2014 employed 5,750 paralegals, with the highest concentration of paralegals in the country.1 The metropolitan area that includes D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria employed almost twice that many: 9,850 paralegals.1 Washington D.C. has a huge legal community and paralegals play a key role at thousands of law firms, government agencies, and corporations in the area. Paralegal schools in the Washington D.C. area offer specialized training for individuals interested in the interesting and always changing legal field without having to spend several years and many thousands of dollars on a law degree.

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How to Become a Paralegal in Washington D.C.

To become qualified to work as a paralegal in D.C., a common path is to earn a paralegal degree at an accredited college. While there is no particular educational requirement for D.C. paralegals, earning a degree can also help you attain a national paralegal certification such as the Certified Paralegal or Registered Paralegal certification, which can help you secure a job. Individual employers have varying levels of education requirements for job candidates.

Washington D.C. Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

While some new law school grads have struggled to find employment during the economic downturn, the market for paralegals has been more favorable due to factors like the lower cost to employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for paralegals in Washington D.C. in 2014 was $74,930 per year, or $36.03 per hour, the highest in the nation by far.1 The metropolitan area including D.C, Arlington, and Alexandria is the highest-paying metropolitan area for paralegals in the US, with an average salary of $69,880.1 The outlook for D.C. paralegals is solid too, with a growth of 9.2% expected by 2022.2 Several factors are contributing to the demand for paralegals including retiring baby boomers, a growing population that will need legal services, and the growth of prepaid legal services.

ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Washington D.C.

There is one Washington D.C. paralegal school that has been certified by the American Bar Association:

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Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Washington D.C.

George Washington University: The paralegal studies graduate certificate and master’s degree are both offered through the College of Professional Studies at George Washington University. Both programs were certified in association with the GWU Law School with classes offered at the Foggy Bottom Campus or online. The graduate certificate consists of 18 credits, while the master’s degree is 32 credits. The core course sequence for both plans are American Jurisprudence, Legal Research and Writing, Litigation, and Corporate and Contracts Law.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Washington D.C.

Williams & Connolly LLP has been recognized for its top tier performance by such publications as the Vault Guide, The National Law Journal, Chambers USA, and The American Lawyer. Williams & Connolly is a global firm, but maintains only one office, which is located in Washington, DC. Williams & Connolly is interested in recruiting exceptional paralegal candidates with developed skills. BuckleySandler LLP has also been recognized for excellence by Chambers USA, as well as The Legal 500, Super Lawyers, and Smart CEO. It represents primarily corporate and business clients in related areas of the law. BuckleySandler supports the personal and professional growth of its staff, and welcomes inquiries from qualified paralegal candidates. Sidley Austin LLP is a well known firm, and its office in Washington, DC handles civil and administrative litigation as it relates to federal law. Sidley Austin is a world class firm that seeks world class candidates for its openings.

Online and Washington D.C. Paralegal Schools

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Paralegal Schools in District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)

George Washington University (Washington, DC)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Graduate Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Graduate Certificate | Paralegal Studies (online program)
Masters Degree | Paralegal Studies
Masters Degree | Paralegal Studies (online program)

Georgetown University (Washington, DC)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
post-baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies (ABA approved)

Additional Resources:

National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA) – Non-profit organization that was formed to support paralegals working in the D.C. – suburban Maryland – northern Virginia area.

References:
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