Alaska Paralegal Career Guide
This guide to paralegal careers provides you with information on Alaska paralegal salary, job outlook, career resources, and more to help you learn how to become a paralegal in Alaska. Begin by using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Alaska
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Alaska
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Anchorage hosts several large law firms including Stoel Rives LLP and Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot. Stoel Rives LLP has 11 offices in the western United States and employs over 400 attorneys nationwide, relying on paralegal support in a variety of legal subjects. Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot is one of the largest firms in the state of Alaska and has accumulated a diverse client base. Paralegals at this firm handle a wide variety of tasks with focuses on tort litigation, commercial transactions and real estate, natural resources, and government contracting. Large firms such as these are a good source of paralegal jobs in Alaska for recent graduates.
Alaska paralegal jobs are also available in government agencies across the state, including the Public Offices Commission. Additional positions may be available through the Alaska Court System and may be appropriate for prospective paralegals interested in appellate and criminal law. Corporate paralegal positions are also available in the legal departments of large corporations. These positions provide a slightly different work environment and may be appropriate for professionals interested in business and finance law.
Job Outlook in Alaska
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Alaska from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 550 paralegals and legal assistants employed in the state of Alaska.2 As private law firms and corporate legal departments strive to minimize their operating costs, the role of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to expand. Concurring with these trends, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected 15% growth in paralegal and legal assistant employment nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 The job outlook for paralegals in Alaska is less positive, with projections anticipating a decrease in total available Alaska paralegal jobs over the same period.1 However, an average of 40 annual openings is expected, and projections may change as local economies strengthen or move towards service-based industries that rely on legal services.1
Alaska Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average paralegal salary in Alaska was reported at $62,860 in 2017.2 Wages in Alaska tend to be higher due to the high cost of living in the state, though this average annual wage compares favorably overall with the national median annual paralegal wage of $53,910.2 Anchorage has one of the densest concentrations of paralegal jobs in the state, and the average paralegal salary in this area is reported at $63,560.4
Alaska Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
An overview of Alaska paralegal salary by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Alaska
There are currently no formal Alaska paralegal certification requirements. However, it is recommended that aspiring paralegals begin their careers by obtaining a certificate or degree in paralegal studies from one of the paralegal schools in Alaska. These programs vary from certificates to associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved two Alaska paralegal programs. Though completion of an Alaska paralegal program is not required by law, it is a competitive career move.
Voluntary certification through a national paralegal association such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) is also recommended. Certification through these organizations carries prerequisite education and/or work experience requirements and although national certification is not required by most states, it is a valuable credential representing a standard of proficiency within the paralegal field.
Though Alaska paralegal certification is not required to work as a paralegal in the state, candidates can increase their competitiveness by completing study at one of the paralegal schools in Alaska and pursuing national certification. Applicants should also look into the resources provided by the Alaska paralegal associations listed below for additional career and education opportunities. National associations such as NALA and the NFPA also provide important information for aspiring and practicing paralegals.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Alaska
Alaska paralegals may follow a variety of career paths. Most paralegals in the state possess a combination of education and experience. Others may begin their careers as legal secretaries or document preparers and work their way up the career ladder. As noted above, national certification is a valuable credential for those competing for Alaska paralegal jobs. You can read more about national certification on our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal. You can also view typical requirements for paralegal jobs in Alaska on our jobs board.
Paralegals play an integral role in supporting the success of their firms and can make a difference in the lives of clients. Part of a paralegal’s success is based on being able to provide the right resources when they are needed. The following resources for Alaska paralegals can help you set yourself apart.
Alaska Paralegal Career Books
- Alaska Natives and American Laws – Alaska is one of a few states where indigenous law and practice is regularly relevant in court cases and civil actions. This guide looks at the law of Alaska’s indigenous peoples in the context of state and federal law from 1867 through 2011, divided into sections based on legal topics for easy reference.
- Alaska Native Corporations: Practices, Considerations, and Contracting Programs – Alaska native corporations have special rights within the state granted by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. This text helps legal professionals understand the regional corporations, shareholders’ rights, and laws and legislation governing native corporations through 2013.
- Alaska Criminal and Traffic Law Manual – Published by LexisNexis, the Alaska Criminal and Traffic Law Manual provides an up-to-date and easy to use reference for current criminal and traffic law and related statutes in the state. The text can be purchased in print or e-book formats.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Alaska
- Alaska Bar Association – Provides listings for many different types of Alaska paralegal jobs.
- State of Alaska Department of Law – Posts government paralegal jobs in Alaska on a regular basis.
For more paralegal jobs in Alaska, visit the Paralegal411 jobs board.
Alaska Court Info
- Courts.Alaska.gov – The Alaska Court System is a unified web portal for all courts in the state’s jurisdiction. This site provides links to the state appellate and trial courts, including court rules and forms.
Law Libraries in Alaska
- Alaska Court System Law Library – The Alaska Court System Law Library has locations across the state, including three staffed locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. Materials from libraries that are not regularly staffed can be requested for delivery.
- University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library – Though not a dedicated law library, the Egan Library on the main campus of the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau holds many titles in state and federal law. Members of the public are welcome to use the library’s facilities for on-site research and may also apply for circulation cards. The library is a member of the Alaska Joint Library Consortium, which means that users may also request to borrow materials from other consortium member libraries.
Paralegal Associations in Alaska
- Alaska Association of Paralegals – The Alaska Association of Paralegals is an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) serving legal support professionals across the state. The association was founded in 1981 and holds monthly luncheons and regular educational seminars. Annual dues are $88.40 for full members, $78 for associate members, and $41.60 for student members. Discounted dues are offered to government members.
- Fairbanks Association of Legal Assistants – The Fairbanks Association of Legal Assistants is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). The organization was originally founded in 1985 and reorganized in 2002 and offers networking and education opportunities to its members. Annual dues are $40 for active members, $30 for associate members, and $20 for student members.
1. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-5
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Alaska: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/