In 2018, approximately 1,810 paralegals were employed in West Virginia.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 $46,080 per year in 2018 against a national average of $54,500, the cost of living in the state is also significantly lower than that found in other states.1 Predictions suggest that paralegal jobs in West Virginia will increase by 9.2%, or 190 jobs, through 2026.2 Nationally, jobs growth for paralegals and legal assistants is projected at 15% through 2026.3 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.
Pierpont Community and Technical College: The Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies at Pierpont Community and Technical College helps students build the skills, professional competencies, and knowledge necessary to work as legal support professionals. The paralegal program requires 60 credit hours to complete, with 39 credit hours focused on fundamental legal and paralegal courses. These courses include Interviewing and Investigating; Legal Research and Writing; Computer Applications for Legal Professionals; and Negotiating Essentials. All students must also take a practicum and a professional development course. Graduates will be prepared to work as paralegals in law firms, government organizations, corporations, and other legal service environments.
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).
Alderson Broaddus University (Philippi)
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (Martinsburg)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Office Assistant
BridgeValley Community & Technical College (South Charleston)
Associate’s | Paralegal Studies
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)
West Virginia University (Morgantown)
Master of Legal Studies
*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)
- Legal Assistants/ Paralegals of Southern West Virginia – LAPSWV was established in 2004 to support area legal assistants and paralegals. It is affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
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
3. 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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