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Arkansas Paralegal Career Guide

This guide to paralegal careers is designed to answer the most common questions about how to become a paralegal in Arkansas. Here you will discover information about paralegal salary in Arkansas as well as state-specific career outlooks and resources for paralegals and legal assistants. Use the easy-to-navigate directory below to start your paralegal career journey.

Table of Contents:
Paralegal Careers
Job Outlook in Arkansas
Salary Outlook
Salary by Metro Area
Paralegal Certification
Certification in Arkansas
Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Arkansas
Additional Paralegal Resources
Arkansas Paralegal Career Books
Paralegal Job Search Websites
Arkansas State Court Info
Law Libraries in Arkansas
Paralegal Associations in Arkansas

Paralegal Careers

Though paralegals can be found working in nearly all sectors of industry, law firms remain the primary employers of paralegals nationwide. Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP is the largest law firm in Arkansas and serves a wide range of clients in diverse industries. Based in Little Rock, Friday, Eldredge & Clark sustains a significant demand for paralegal labor and may provide promising Arkansas paralegal jobs for candidates interested in working for a large firm. Also based in Little Rock, Mitchell Williams Law emphasizes teamwork and innovation within the firm and has been credited with having a positive and productive office environment.

Paralegals may also find employment in corporate legal departments. Arkansas-based companies include Wal-Mart, Tyson, and J.B. Hunt Trucking. Additional paralegal jobs in Arkansas may be found working for government agencies, which are often viewed as a good fit for recently graduated paralegals.

Job Outlook in Arkansas

Projected Job Growth

21.8%

Paralegals in Arkansas from 2016-20261

In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,670 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Arkansas.2 Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected 15% growth in paralegal and legal assistant employment from 2016 to 2026.3 The expansion of the paralegal occupation reflects anticipated shifts in the legal field from reliance on attorney labor to greater use of paralegal labor in an effort to minimize cost and maximize efficiency. Similarly, a corporate trend toward internal legal counsel is expected. This shift should also be reflected in Arkansas, with projected 21.8% growth in Arkansas paralegal jobs from 2016 to 2026.1 This projection is based on an anticipated 340 new Arkansas paralegal jobs added to the workforce.1

Arkansas Paralegal Salary Outlook

The average paralegal salary in Arkansas was reported at $41,270.2 This annual wage is below the median national wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $51,910 and may reflect the lower cost of living within the state.2 However, the average Arkansas paralegal salary is higher in urban areas; Little Rock paralegals earn an average of $47,200.2 In addition, the relatively low number of paralegals currently employed in Arkansas and the projected expansion of the occupation nationwide suggests a favorable hiring environment within the state that may raise the average Arkansas paralegal salary in the coming years.

Arkansas Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area

An overview of paralegal salary in Arkansas by metro area:

Metro AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers AR-MO480$41,410
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway650$47,200

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4

Paralegal Certification in Arkansas

As in most states, Arkansas paralegal certification is not required by state law. Though on-site training is available at a few firms, nearly all paralegals obtain professional training through an Arkansas paralegal program or a paralegal school in another state. These programs typically provide a basic foundation in legal knowledge with emphases on legal procedures, legal ethics, and professional research and writing. Paralegal programs may offer a variety of degrees with online options and internship opportunities. Currently, the American Bar Association (ABA) has approved two paralegal schools in Arkansas.

Though state licensure for paralegals is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that prospective paralegals earn voluntary certification. National organizations including the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offer generally accepted certification programs and examinations.

Arkansas Certification

Though Arkansas paralegal certification is not required to work as a paralegal, national certification is highly recommended for prospective paralegals after attending one of the paralegal schools in Arkansas. The Arkansas Paralegal Alliance endorses the NALA CLA/CP examination while the Arkansas Paralegal Association endorses the NFPA’s PACE/PCCE examination. Both the Arkansas Paralegal Alliance and Arkansas Paralegal Association provide valuable resources to aspiring paralegals in Arkansas. You can find out more about the programs offered by Arkansas paralegal associations through our links below. You can also read more about national certification on our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.

Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Arkansas

There are many career paths that prospective professionals can follow to become a paralegal in Arkansas. Most paralegals have both education and experience, which may include internships or other work experience in a legal setting. Some paralegals start out as legal document preparers or legal secretaries and move up the career ladder. Paralegal candidates will continue to benefit from formal education and national certification as graduation from an accredited paralegal program and certification through a national organization can allow paralegal candidates within Arkansas to compete for higher salaries. You can gain a better understanding of what employers are looking for in candidates by viewing available paralegal jobs in Arkansas on our jobs board.

Paralegal Resources

Paralegals are central to the success of the firms and legal departments for which they work. Being able to deploy the right resources at the right time is key to establishing a successful career in the paralegal field. These resources for Arkansas paralegals can help you start out on the right track.

Arkansas Paralegal Career Books

  • Arkansas Legal Research – Legal research is a crucial skill for paralegals. This state-specific guide to legal research in Arkansas is a helpful primer as well as a continuing reference for working paralegals. Electronic and print sources of law are covered in the text following a process-oriented approach to research.
  • Ethics for Paralegals – All legal professionals, including paralegals, should have a firm understanding of ethics as it applies to the practice of law. This text specifically for ethics in legal support positions helps paralegals understand ethics both in theory and in practice, with helpful tips and hypothetical situations for consideration throughout.
  • Arkansas Employment Laws – Helpful for paralegals working in litigation as well as those working in corporate legal departments, this guide covers the need-to-know laws and rules governing employment relationships in Arkansas. The e-book version of the text includes active links to state law and statutes and covers everything from wage laws to leave laws.
  • Arkansas Criminal and Traffic Law Manual – Though written from the law enforcement perspective, this text is a helpful reference for paralegals working in either prosecution or defense. In concise, easy-to-understand terms this text covers criminal law and procedure, juvenile law, and related statutes for numerous other areas of criminal law in Arkansas.

Paralegal Job Search Websites for Arkansas

Arkansas Court Info

  • Courts.Arkansas.gov – The official site for the Arkansas Judiciary contains links and information for all courts within the state’s jurisdiction. The site provides visitors with access to court forms and rules, e-filing systems, and news of interest to legal professionals. Site users can also access legal research resources and court publications.

Law Libraries in Arkansas

  • University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Library – Located in Little Rock and sharing resources with the Pulaski County Law Library, this law library offers a range of research materials from state to international law. Practicing legal professionals may borrow private carrels for in-depth research and also have access to printers, copiers, and a book scanner. A document delivery service and interlibrary loans are also offered to attorneys.
  • University of Arkansas School of Law Young Law Library – Based on the University of Arkansas’s Fayetteville campus, this law library holds over 250,000 volumes. The library is a depository for Arkansas and federal government documents and also has deep holdings in national, international, and comparative law. Its collection of agricultural law materials is also notable.

Paralegal Associations in Arkansas

  • Arkansas Paralegal Association – The Arkansas Paralegal Association is an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). The organization holds member meetings the first Saturday of every other month as well as periodic professional seminars. Annual dues are $50 for voting members and $40 for student members.

References:
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, Arkansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/