Approximately 1,000 paralegals are employed in Hawaii.1 Aspiring paralegals in Hawaii face a competitive job market, so it is recommended that those pursuing this career complete a reputable paralegal degree or certificate program. Hawaii has one brick-and-mortar school that offers a paralegal program. There are also online degree options for those wishing to become a paralegal in Hawaii.
How to Become a Paralegal in Hawaii
Though there have been recent attempts to mandate education and training for paralegals in Hawaii, the state has not yet adopted specific education or training requirements to become a paralegal. However, attending a paralegal program in Hawaii can be beneficial to the aspiring paralegal, as it can provide necessary skills and a means of networking with future job prospects. Voluntary national certification is also strongly recommended after completing a paralegal degree or certificate program, as this can set a candidate apart in the eyes of employers.
Hawaii Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
Although a relatively low number of paralegals work in Hawaii, the industry as a whole is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 10.9% jobs growth for paralegals and legal assistants in the state through 2026, with 140 average annual openings including replacements.2 The average annual salary for paralegals in Hawaii was $52,280 as of 2018.1 Paralegals with competitive qualifications and experience are positioned to negotiate for higher salaries.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Hawaii
Kapi’olani Community College: The Business, Legal, and Technology Education division at Kapi’olani Community College has the only American Bar Association-approved paralegal program in the state of Hawaii. The Associate of Science is a two-year, evening course of study that totals 60 credit hours. All students enroll in foundational paralegal courses such as the Hawaii Legal System and Legal Research during their first year and then move on to specialized advanced courses during their second year. Second-year courses are specifically designed to prepare students for specialized paralegal practices including legal writing, client interviewing, and litigation preparation.
Online Paralegal Programs Available in Hawaii
There are many paralegal degree programs, including certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees, that can be completed through online study in Hawaii. Virginia College, University of Massachusetts, and Oregon State University all offer online paralegal studies programs. For postgraduate study, George Washington University offers an online master’s degree, the Master of Professional Studies in Paralegal Studies, which is similar to their campus program.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Hawaii
- Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel was founded in 1878 and represents local, national, and international clients from its headquarters in Honolulu. Its multiple awards bolster its reputation as a world-class firm. Goodsill strives to provide a congenial and cooperative work environment and looks for applicants who will contribute towards the firm’s goals.
- Cades Schutte is also based in Honolulu, with additional offices in Kailua-Kona and Waimea. Cades works to train its professionals and maintains an environment of talent and creativity where recent paralegal graduates can thrive.
- Carlsmith Ball LLP is the oldest law firm in Hawaii and is also one of the largest. The firm provides legal services to Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size businesses, governments, and individuals. Carlsmith Ball is hiring to meet the staffing needs of its Pacific expansion.
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Hawaii
An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Kapiolani Community College (Honolulu)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Secretary
*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)
- Hawaii Bar Association – Offers a variety of benefits to its members and the public.
- Hawaii Paralegal Association – Promotes high standards, continuing education, community involvement, and communication among those in the legal industry.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
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