About 1,330 paralegals are employed in Maine according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 While this number is low compared to other states, Maine is one of the least populous states in the US. Paralegals in Maine are also seeing a jobs growth rate comparable to that of the national average. However, competition for available positions can be fierce, which is why it is recommended that aspiring paralegals in Maine complete a structured paralegal program. While no programs in the state are currently approved by the American Bar Association, there are comparable campus-based programs as well as online options.
How to Become a Paralegal in Maine
There are no specific requirements set by law for becoming a paralegal in Maine. As is common for other states, Maine paralegals are required to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. However, it is strongly recommended that entry-level paralegals pursue voluntary certification through a national organization such as the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). These national certifications require candidates to possess a formal education in paralegal studies, so it makes sense for prospective paralegals to pursue a paralegal degree.
Maine Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
The overall employment outlook for Maine is average, with an unemployment rate of 3.4% reported in March 2019.2 The average annual salary for Maine paralegals was $49,490 as of May 2018, and estimates predict that jobs growth in Maine for paralegals will be 11.7% through 2026.1,3 Nationally, the paralegal profession is expected to grow 15% by 2024, which is above the average for all occupations.4 An average of 140 annual openings (including replacements) should be available for paralegals in Maine each year through 2026.3
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Maine
University of Maine at Augusta: The College of Professional Studies at the University of Maine at Augusta offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies. The certificate requires a total of 18 credit hours. To be eligible for admittance to the program, students must first complete 60 credit hours or an associate’s degree at an accredited university or college. The first five courses in the certificate program are the paralegal studies core, including Legal Research and Materials; Principles of Litigation; and Estate Administration. Students may complete a Paralegal Practicum for their elective credit, which involves working in a law firm or legal office.
Husson University: The School of Legal Studies at Husson University offers three Paralegal Studies programs: a Bachelor of Science, an Associate of Science, and a paralegal studies certificate. Students have the option of joining two student organizations, the Paralegal Club and Lambda Epsilon Chi Honor Society, through which they may build social and professional circles. The paralegal studies certificate is designed to supplement a two-year or four-year degree and consists of 36 credit hours. The Bachelor of Science and the Associate of Science are 121 and 60 credit hours, respectively, and both aim to prepare individuals to succeed in the paralegal profession.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Maine
- Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios, Chartered, LLP maintains offices throughout New England, working with some of the most successful businesses in the region. The firm stands out from other law firms in its focus on going green with an in-house sustainability program to reduce its environmental impact. Preti Flaherty gives its staff a rewarding work-life balance while challenging them to be the best.
- Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A. is headquartered in Portland, Maine, and is one of the largest multi-service law firms in northern New England. It seeks individuals who are qualified and committed to client service for its paralegal needs.
- Drummond Woodsum is regularly lauded for its pro bono work and its work in immigrant advocacy. Founded in 1965, Drummond Woodsum is well-known and still growing, leading to a need for recent paralegal graduates who want to work in a cooperative office that encourages all professionals to share their ideas.
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Maine
An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Husson University (Bangor)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies (Pre-Law)
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
University of Maine at Augusta (Augusta; Bangor)
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
- Maine State Bar Association – Promotes advancement of skills and knowledge, and also professionalism, while helping people access legal services.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: https://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
3. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
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