Arizona Paralegal Career Guide
Our guide to paralegal careers is designed to answer common questions about how to become a paralegal in Arizona and help you start your career in the legal field. On this page, you will find Arizona paralegal salary information, career and job outlooks, and paralegal resources to help you jump-start your career. Find the answers to your questions about becoming a paralegal using the directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Arizona
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Arizona
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Private law firms continue to be the primary employers of paralegals nationwide, though corporate legal departments and state organizations do require paralegal support as well. Snell & Wilmer is a full-service business law firm founded in Arizona with offices in Phoenix and Tucson. The large number of attorneys at these locations demand paralegal support and may offer promising opportunities to prospective paralegals interested in business law. Downtown Phoenix also hosts Jennings, Strouss & Salmon PLC, an established Arizona firm that specializes in litigation services, healthcare, real estate, finance, and utility law and is expanding into the areas of technology law, e-commerce, biotechnology, and life sciences. As the firm continues to expand into new areas, there may be new positions for paralegals. Other opportunities may be available through government organizations in Arizona such as the Army National Guard and the State Bar of Arizona. Additionally, corporations sustain a significant demand for paralegal labor, especially in urban areas such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale.
Job Outlook in Arizona
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Arizona from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,920 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Arizona.2 As employers seek to minimize the cost and maximize the efficiency of legal practice, they are expected to rely more heavily upon paralegal and legal assistant support. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, nationwide employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 15% from 2016 to 2026.3 This growth trajectory compares favorably with the 7% projected growth for all occupations in the US economy during the same period.3
Paralegals in Arizona should have even brighter job prospects, with projected 20.6% job growth for paralegals and legal assistants in the state from 2016 to 2026.1 This projection equates to 120 new Arizona paralegal job openings each year.1 As the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas currently have the highest densities of paralegal jobs in the state, growth can be expected to cluster in these areas.2
Arizona Paralegal Salary Outlook
Paralegals in Arizona earn an annual average wage of $49,860, slightly lower than the national median wage for paralegals at $53,910.2 However, it should be noted that the average paralegal salary in Arizona is based on a variety of factors, including an individual’s experience. Location has a particularly strong influence on average wages and the average Arizona paralegal salary can be significantly higher in urban areas. For example, Phoenix-area paralegals earn the highest average annual paralegal salary in Arizona, at $51,270.2 Overall, the job and salary outlook for aspiring paralegals in Arizona is positive as large law firms are already established in major cities and may shift towards paralegal labor due to financial constraints. Projected job creation in the field should foster a favorable hiring environment, especially for those who have completed paralegal programs in Arizona and have earned voluntary national certification.
Arizona Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
An overview of Arizona paralegal salary by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||130||$46,820|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Arizona
Currently, there are no formally mandated technical or educational prerequisites for Arizona paralegal certification. However, it is important to recognize that paralegals must practice under the direct supervision of an attorney unless they have been certified as an Arizona Licensed Document Preparer (LDP), who may work independently without the supervision of an attorney on certain classes of documents. In addition, it is highly recommended, though not legally required, to obtain a training certificate or educational degree within the field. Though some law offices offer in-house training, most employers prefer candidates who have attended Arizona paralegal programs. As a result, common education paths for prospective paralegals include earning a paralegal degree or certificate from an American Bar Association (ABA)-approved program or from another of the numerous paralegal schools in Arizona. There are currently two ABA-approved Arizona paralegal programs. You can find additional information about paralegal schools in Arizona on our Arizona paralegal schools page.
Though there are no requirements for Arizona paralegal certification, it is highly advisable to seek voluntary national certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), or the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI). These programs cover substantive and procedural aspects of the law and develop legal writing and research skills. Paralegals may also gain a career edge by pursuing Legal Document Preparer certification, which allows an individual to provide assistance in document preparation and related services without attorney supervision. You can learn more about this certification through the Arizona Judicial Branch. In addition, both the Arizona Paralegal Association and the State Bar of Arizona provide career and educational resources for paralegals within the state.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Arizona
Arizona paralegals may follow a variety of career paths since there are no set requirements for paralegals at the state level. The majority of paralegals have completed a formal education in paralegal studies, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree or a certificate program. Voluntary certifications such as those offered by national paralegal associations can also help prospective paralegals become more competitive in the job market.
As the paralegal profession grows due to demand for qualified paralegals, entry-level professionals can find many job opportunities. Employers differ in their requirements for paralegals, but you can get a better idea of the qualifications companies hiring paralegals in Arizona are seeking on our jobs board. For further information on how to become a paralegal in Arizona, including overviews on national certification options, read our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
The paralegal role is central to the success of law firms and legal departments. Having the right resources at the right time is a key part in establishing a successful paralegal career. The following resources for paralegals in Arizona can help you become more competitive in your career.
Arizona Paralegal Career Books
- Arizona Legal Research – Authored by Tamara Herrera, Clinical Professor of Law and Coordinator of the Legal Writing Curriculum at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, this text covers the fundamentals of Arizona legal research as well as more specialized legal research practices. Chapters on types of legal authority, court systems, secondary authority, legal citation, and much more are included in the text.
- Arizona Notary Law Primer – Paralegals are frequently called upon to perform notarial acts, making a thorough understanding of state notary law integral to paralegal practice. The Arizona Notary Law Primer covers all aspects of best practices for notaries in the state, including suggested legal wording for common acts as well as tips for comprehensive records-keeping.
- West’s Arizona Criminal Law and Rules – Paralegals working in criminal law will find this comprehensive reference indispensable for daily work. Updated annually, West’s Arizona Criminal Law and Rules annotates Arizona statutes, rules of evidence, court procedures, and other common points of reference in criminal law. Though comprehensive, the compact format of the book is also convenient for courtroom reference.
- Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice – Now in its second edition, this guide to Arizona real estate law written for real estate practitioners is also a helpful reference for paralegals working on real estate cases and transactions. The focus of this book is on common transactions and contracts, with references to Arizona case law and statutes. References for further legal research are also included throughout the text.
- Arizona Estate Administration Answer Book – Arizona is well-known as a retirement haven, meaning career paralegals in the state are likely come across estate or probate issues. The question-and-answer format of this book makes it easy to find answers to common questions about wills, estates, trusts, and probate procedure in Arizona. Less frequently encountered areas of estate law are also covered.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Arizona
- Maricopa County Bar Association Career Center – A regularly updated portal for finding paralegal jobs in Arizona, with a focus on Phoenix area paralegal jobs.
- Arizona Paralegal Association Job Bank – A source of paralegal jobs in Arizona, though access to postings is restricted to association members.
- Arizona Attorney General – Arizona paralegal jobs in government are often posted here.
- Paralegal411 jobs board – For even more Arizona paralegal jobs, visit our Paralegal411 jobs board.
Arizona Court Info
- AZCourts.gov – The Arizona Judicial Branch website functions as a collection point for links to and information about courts throughout the state. From this site users can access court publications, e-filing systems, and court rules as well as find information about state court-related programs. Users can also begin legal research from the site’s Self Help legal section.
- Apps.SupremeCourt.AZ.gov – The Public Access to Court Information initiative from the Arizona Judicial Branch allows users to search case information for 153 out of the 180 courts in Arizona. This website allows paralegals and other professionals to quickly and efficiently locate case histories and other information for legal research purposes.
Law Libraries in Arizona
- State Library of Arizona – Located in Phoenix, the State Library of Arizona has four main collections in Family History, Federal Publications, Law, and State Publications. In addition, the library hosts a Patent and Trademark Resource Center. The library also maintains the Digital Arizona Library with online access to common sources. Though the library is open for general access and research, most materials are not circulated.
- Maricopa County Law Library – Open to the public, the Maricopa County Law Library is a circulating library based in Phoenix that has been meeting Arizona legal research needs since 1913. In addition to a wide-ranging print collection, the library offers online legal research tools for state and federal research as well as access to online databases. As part of its collection, the library provides research guides and collections of court forms.
- Ross-Blakley Law Library – The Ross-Blakley Law Library, housed within the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, maintains a comprehensive collection of primary and secondary legal authority sources. Access is available to legal professionals on a limited basis while school is in session.
Paralegal Associations in Arizona
- Arizona Association of Independent Paralegals – The Arizona Association of Independent Paralegals is an organization designed to promote Arizona paralegals who are also Arizona Certified Legal Document Preparers. The association hosts regular professional meetings and seminars as well as continuing education and community service events. The initial membership fee, which includes the first year of membership, is $50, with annual dues of $25 thereafter.
- Arizona Paralegal Association – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA), the Arizona Paralegal Association is the largest paralegal association in Arizona. In addition to monthly continuing education opportunities and annual seminars, the association offers members opportunities to expand their professional networks. Membership categories include voting, non-voting, and student.
- Maricopa County Bar Association Paralegal Division – The Maricopa County Bar Association Paralegal Division offers a variety of free and nominal-cost professional development tools and events for Arizona paralegals. Maricopa County Bar Association dues for paralegals and legal assistants are $125 per year, which includes automatic membership in the Paralegal Division. Current paralegal students may join at a discounted rate of $20.
- Tucson Paralegal Association, Inc. – Founded in 1979, the Tucson Paralegal Association has over 100 active members and is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA). The association holds regular meetings and professional networking events and also hosts a Member/Student Mentor Program. Membership categories include active, associate, and student.
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, Arizona: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_az.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/