Nevada Paralegal Career and Salary Information

How to Become a Paralegal Nevada

Paralegals are not permitted to practice law within Nevada, and may only preform legal tasks under the direct supervision of a qualified attorney. Characterized as ‘paraprofessionals’, paralegals and legal assistants within Nevada are subject to no minimum training or education requirements. This lack of regulation allows law firms, corporations and other paralegal employers to provide on-site training for individuals lacking in previous formal paralegal education. However, more and more employers are favoring paralegal and legal assistant candidates with formal education within the paralegal field. Currently, the American Bar Association has approved one paralegal degree program within Nevada. Other programs are offered throughout the state, though non-approved programs are generally less recognized by employers within the state and nationwide. These programs are not standardized and may vary in duration, content and rigor. Individuals should select a program based upon personal availability, prior education and career goals. Upon completion of a college paralegal program, paralegals and legal assistants are highly encouraged to seek optional national certification from a national organization such as the National Association of Legal Assistants, or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. These two national organizations offer both certification programs and continuing education programs for already certified paralegals. These certification credentials function as the national standard of excellence within the field and greatly increase employment opportunities for new paralegals. Another good resource for recently certified paralegals and legal assistants is the Nevada Paralegal Association which supports paralegal employment and education throughout the state.

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Career Opportunities for Paralegal Graduates

Paralegal and legal assistant positions are expected to multiply as the profession undergoes nationwide expansion. The effects of this expansions should be most pronounced at law firms, corporations, banks and government agencies centered in urban areas throughout the state. Large, full-service law firms tend to require a large degree of paralegal support and form subgroups based on practice area and may be good starting points for paralegals and legal assistants interested in a large working environment or interested in subject specialization. Lionel Sawyer & Collins is the largest private law firm in Nevada and practices across a broad range of legal subjects. This firm has a strong connection to federal, state, and local government bodies and may be a good candidate for individuals interested in both the political and business world within the state. Woodburn and Wedge is another independent law firm in Nevada and has strong connections with mining, utilities and real estate companies. Slightly smaller firms such as this provide a distinct working environment and can foster closer relations between paralegal support staff and attorneys. Corporate legal departments also provide numerous opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants and diversify the job prospects for recent graduates. Large corporations in Nevada are primarily related to the gaming and entertainment industries and include Las Vegas Sands, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International. These extensive corporations require a high degree of legal support and are expected to contribute to the nationwide expansion of the paralegal occupation. Other sources of paralegal opportunities include banks and government agencies throughout the state.

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Nevada Paralegal Jobs and Salary by Metro Area

Metro Area Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Carson City 30 $51,510
Las Vegas-Paradise 1,520 $51,400
Reno-Sparks 240 $48,660

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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Paralegal Job Outlook and Salary in Nevada

Projected Job Growth

6.3%

Paralegals in Nevada from 2010-20203

The paralegal and legal assistant profession is expected to undergo a period of growth as legal departments and law firms reduce attorney hiring in favor of paralegal labor. Tasks previously allocated to attorneys are expected to shift to paralegals, expanding the role and prominence of support staff within the legal community. Law firms are expected to rely more heavily on paralegal labor and create more positions for support staff nationwide. Additionally, corporations are expected to invest more strongly in internal legal departments to offset the rising cost of external counsel. This shift is expected to drive an increase in corporate positions for paralegals and legal assistants as well. Existing positions should be safe from the nationwide trend of outsourcing due to the hands-on and necessary nature of paralegal tasks. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an 18% growth in paralegal and legal assistant employment nationwide from 2010 to 2020.1 This projection is significantly greater than the expected employment growth for all US occupations at 14% and for all legal occupations at 11% over the same time period.1 This projection reflects the trends mentioned above and suggests a increasingly positive hiring environment for recently certified paralegals nationwide and in Nevada. As of May 2011, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 1,640 paralegals and legal assistants employed throughout Nevada, earning an average annual wage of $51,350.2 This average annual wage is greater than the national median wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $46,680 and is expected to increase as the role of paralegals and legal assistants becomes more important in the legal community.1 Additionally, wages for paralegals tend to be higher at large law firms and in cities in comparison to smaller firms or smaller cities.1 Considering the nationwide expansion of the paralegal profession and the prominence of entertainment corporations in urban areas in Nevada, the job outlook for paralegals and legal assistants in Nevada is quite positive. Though not legally required, candidates will continue to benefit from formal paralegal education, national certification and previous legal experience.

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Nevada Paralegal Associations

Nevada Paralegal Association

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nv.htm
3. Nevada Workforce Informer: http://www.nevadaworkforce.com/cgi/dataanalysis/occprjReport.asp?menuchoice=occprj