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West Virginia Paralegal Schools

In 2015, approximately 2,140 paralegals were employed in West Virginia.1 Though this isn’t a noticeably high number, given its relatively low population the state does have one of the highest concentration of paralegal jobs in the country, coming in fourth after Washington DC, Connecticut, and Delaware.1 The highest concentration of paralegal jobs can be found in the Charleston area.1 West Virginia paralegal schools offer good opportunities for aspirants considering a career in the legal sector. These programs focus on key legal studies and research capabilities, helping students earn a paralegal degree and begin a career in one of the United States’ fastest growing occupations.

How to Become a Paralegal in West Virginia

Currently, West Virginia does not have any requirements to become a paralegal. Like in other states, paralegals in West Virginia are required to practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Also as in other states, the state legislature does periodically consider updating the law to include specific requirements for paralegal practice. While no such law has yet been passed, it would be wise for aspiring West Virginia paralegals to start their careers by completing a paralegal degree, especially since many employers prefer candidates who have some formal legal training.

West Virginia Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

While West Virginia paralegals take home a salary that is lower than the national average, averaging $43,910 per year in 2015 against a national average of $48,810, the cost of living in the state is also significantly lower than that found in other states.1 Nationally, jobs growth for paralegals and legal assistants is projected at 8% through 2024.2 A paralegal in West Virginia can find opportunities at public sector agencies or corporate legal departments, as well as in law firms.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in West Virginia

Mountwest Community and Technical College: Mountwest Community and Technical College offers an American Bar Association-approved paralegal Associate in Applied Science degree. Graduates of this program are ready to transfer to Marshall University’s undergraduate legal studies program should they desire to complete a four-year degree, or they may begin entry-level paralegal careers. This course of study was created in partnership with the West Virginia State Bar and an advisory committee. Many courses at Mountwest Community and Technical College are conveniently offered online or in a hybrid format.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in West Virginia

Martin & Seibert, LC is a regional firm with offices in West Virginia, as well as in Virginia and Maryland. The firm’s experience is deep and encompasses many practice areas. Martin & Seibert encourages interested applicants to contact its offices regarding opportunities. Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe PLLC focuses on civil litigation, which it approaches with a customer service orientation. Many of its clients are national and regional insurance companies, and the firm itself is growing quickly. This firm is always open to receiving inquiries from paralegals interested in starting a career. Huddleston Bolen LLP was one of the oldest law firms in West Virginia before its 2015 merger with Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. Dinsmore & Shohl welcomes resumes and inquiries from recent paralegal graduates.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in West Virginia

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

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (Martinsburg)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Office Assistant

Mountwest Community & Technical College (Huntington)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Pierpont Community and Technical College (Fairmont)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown (Charleston)
Associate Degree | Legal Office Assisting
Associate Degree | Legal Office Assisting (online)
Undergraduate Certificate | Legal Office Assisting
NALA Certification | Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

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 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm