About 1,100 paralegals worked in Rhode Island in the year 2018.1 While this number is comparatively low, the neighboring states of Massachusetts and Connecticut also provide work opportunities for many paralegals (7,330 and 4,780 respectively), and the nearby state of New York reported 25,500 paralegals employed in 2018.1 With various paralegal schools and potential employers, Rhode Island is becoming a good place to be a paralegal.
How to Become a Paralegal in Rhode Island
As in most other states, paralegals in Rhode Island are not required to hold a particular degree or certification, but they must work under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney and are unable to give legal advice to the general public. Attending a paralegal school in Rhode Island will be beneficial, as it provides prospective paralegals with the necessary training to be competitive in the jobs market. Earning voluntary certification through a national organization like the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) is also recommended.
Rhode Island Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
Rhode Island boasts a fast-growing market for well-trained paralegals despite its small population. Paralegals in the state earned an average salary of $50,650 as of 2018.1 The outlook for paralegals in the state is also positive; the Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated 14.7% jobs growth for paralegals in Rhode Island through 2026.2 With these statistics in mind, Rhode Island can be a good place to start a career as a paralegal.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Rhode Island
Roger Williams University: The School of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Roger Williams University has an Associate of Science, a Bachelor of Science, and a certificate in paralegal studies. These three programs are the only American Bar Association-approved paralegal courses of study in the state of Rhode Island. The BS consists of 121 credit hours of coursework while the AS is 61 credit hours. The certificate program takes only two semesters to complete. Many of the courses are available online, making instruction convenient for students working full time, though a minimum of 10 credit hours must be completed on campus.
Community College of Rhode Island: An associate degree in paralegal studies is available through the Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Department at the Community College of Rhode Island. This is a 61-credit hour course of study with 40 credit hours reserved for major courses. In addition to legal courses, paralegal studies students enroll in business and communications classes to become efficient with accounting and specialty software applications. Core Paralegal Studies courses include Criminal Procedure, Introduction to Paralegal Studies, Law of Contracts, Law of Evidence, and Constitutional Law.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Rhode Island
- Adler Pollock & Sheehan PC has been ranked as one of the best law firms in Rhode Island by Chambers USA. This firm uses an open approach to law that allows it to be flexible in servicing the needs of its clients. Adler Pollock & Sheehan prefers to hire professionals looking for a long-term career, and who are respectful and dedicated to their work.
- Barton Gilman is one of Rhode Island’s largest law firms. The firm’s attorneys work in many different areas of the law, including appellate litigation, business law, and real estate and land use litigation.
- Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP is a full-service firm dedicated to excellence in all of its activities and has also been ranked as one of the Best Places to Work in Rhode Island. Thanks to its growth track, Partridge Snow is regularly recruiting.
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Rhode Island
An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Community College of Rhode Island (Warwick)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Roger Williams University (Bristol)*
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Nurse Paralegal
*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)
- Rhode Island Paralegal Association – RIPA exists to support paralegals in the state of Rhode Island, helping them to find jobs, network, and gain further education.
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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