Colorado Paralegal Career Guide
This guide to paralegal careers provides a road map for learning how to become a paralegal in Colorado. Here you will discover how to begin your career in the paralegal field with Colorado paralegal salary information, job outlook, career resources, and more. Begin your career exploration using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Colorado
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Colorado
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Large law firms continue to be the primary employers of paralegals nationwide and within Colorado. Headquartered in Denver, Holland & Hart LLP is the largest law firm in Colorado and has been recognized as a top pro bono law firm as well as a top firm for diversity for women. These accolades are reflected in testimonials from current and past employees who emphasize the team-oriented work environment and innovative legal strategy. Holland & Hart is likely to be a consistent source of paralegal jobs in Colorado, especially for those interested in pro bono work, natural resources, trademark infringement, or software licensing. Denver-based Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP is one of the Mountain West’s most prominent law firms, specializing in corporate finance, energy and mining, natural resources, and litigation. This regional firm values professional enthusiasm, strong interpersonal skills, and client service. Additionally, the firm has expressed a commitment to inclusive and diverse hiring. The intermediate size of Davis Graham & Stubbs makes it an ideal option for prospective paralegals who are interested in working for a large, but not impersonal, law firm.
Large corporations headquartered in Colorado may require paralegal support within their internal legal departments and may provide additional career opportunities for prospective paralegals and legal assistants. Dish Network, DaVita, Newport Mining, and Western Union are all based within the state and may provide good starting points for those interested in corporate employment. Government agencies also routinely post Colorado paralegal jobs.
Job Outlook in Colorado
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Colorado from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,420 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Colorado.2 The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected 15% employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 This projected growth outstrips both the average projected growth for all US occupations (7%) and the average projected growth for other legal occupations (11%).3 These trends are expected to hold true for Colorado paralegal jobs as well, with estimates calling for 22.6% job growth for paralegals in the state between 2016 and 2026.1 The expansion of the paralegal field reflects cost-saving trends; as employers seek to minimize the cost of providing legal services, certain tasks previously allocated to lawyers may be given to paralegals. Corporations are also expected to depend more heavily on internal legal departments, rather than seek more expensive outside counsel.
Colorado Paralegal Salary Outlook
Paralegals and legal assistants in Colorado earn an average annual wage of $58,340.2 Major business centers in the state, primarily Denver and Colorado Springs, should experience the greatest degree of job growth, which may lead to higher salary offers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the Denver metropolitan area has the highest average paralegal salary in Colorado, at $60,430.2 Job and salary prospects for aspiring Colorado paralegals are quite positive as the state hosts many active and expanding law firms as well as government bodies and well-established corporations that rely on paralegal support.
Colorado Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
An overview of paralegal salary in Colorado 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 Colorado
The state of Colorado does not directly regulate paralegal practice and has issued no formal Colorado paralegal certification requirements for those wishing to apply for positions as paralegals or legal assistants. State law only requires that paralegals operate under the direct supervision of an attorney. Though on-site training is still available in a few firms and corporate legal departments, the vast majority of employers prefer candidates with formal education such as that earned at one of the paralegal schools in Colorado. Many Colorado paralegal programs are available across the state, ranging from certificate programs to associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Currently, two Colorado paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Though Colorado paralegal certification is not required to become a paralegal in the state, voluntary paralegal certification is a highly desirable credential in the eyes of employers. Since voluntary certification is based on education and experience, completion of a formal Colorado paralegal degree program is an essential step for those seeking paralegal or legal assistant positions. You can find out more about paralegal schools in Colorado on our Colorado paralegal programs page.
Though certification is not required for paralegals in Colorado, employers may prefer candidates with certification from national paralegal associations. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offer well-respected national certification programs for paralegals who have completed a paralegal degree. These certification credentials can be an asset to those seeking employment in the field. Hiring prospects will be best for candidates who have completed a formal paralegal degree program and received national certification. For more information regarding paralegal training or employment in Colorado, refer to the Colorado paralegal associations listed below.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Colorado
There are many paths that you can follow to become a paralegal in Colorado. Most Colorado paralegals possess education and experience, which may include on-the-job training or internships completed at one of the paralegal schools in Colorado. Another way to become a paralegal in Colorado is to begin at the entry level as a document preparer or legal secretary. You can see typical requirements for Colorado paralegal jobs on our jobs board. You can also learn more about voluntary national certification options with our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Paralegals play an integral role in promoting the success of the firms for which they work. Paralegals also make a positive difference by knowing where to find the right resources at the right time to find information and complete tasks efficiently. The following Colorado paralegal resources can help you become more competitive in your career.
Colorado Paralegal Career Books
- Colorado Legal Research – Legal research is a fundamental skill for practicing paralegals. This guide to legal research with a specific focus on the processes and sources applicable to Colorado law is an essential desk reference for entry-level and experienced paralegals alike. Covered are primary and secondary sources of law, statutory, regulatory, and case law, as well as court rules and much more.
- Colorado Family Law Deskbook with Forms – Family law is a major specialty practice area for attorneys and paralegals and can be involved in other areas of law as well. Paralegals who may encounter questions regarding family law will benefit from this book’s discussions of the legal processes and procedures for all major family law actions. Included with the text is a helpful forms library on CD.
- Colorado Environmental Law Handbook – Colorado is well-known for its natural beauty, which is protected in part by state-specific environmental laws as well as federal laws. Paralegals working in practices that handle environmental law cases will find this text’s coverage of air, water, and natural resource regulations, permit requirements, and other pertinent aspects of Colorado law useful as a learning tool and continuing reference.
- Oil and Gas Law in a Nutshell – Now in its 6th edition, this guide to oil and gas law is particularly helpful to Colorado paralegals as the energy industry expands its presence in the state. Private, corporate, and government ownership of resources are explained concisely in the text, as are laws of conveyance, leasing, and taxation for mineral resources.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Colorado
- Paralegal Resource Center, Inc. – A well-known, Denver-based paralegal staffing firm that can help paralegals find temporary and permanent positions.
- Colorado Bar Association – Regularly posts Colorado paralegal jobs from across the state.
- Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association – Posts Colorado paralegal and legal assistant jobs.
- Paralegal411 jobs board – For even more paralegal jobs in Colorado, visit our jobs board.
Colorado Court Info
- Courts.State.CO.us – The main portal for the Colorado judicial branch links visitors to state court pages, forms libraries, case and public records search, and e-filing systems for court correspondence. Visitors can also access court rules, career opportunities, and pertinent news for practicing professionals.
- Colorado Supreme Court Library – Based in Denver, the Colorado Supreme Court Library offers its research and reference resources to legal professionals and the general public. In addition to its print collection, the library offers computer access to major legal research databases. Copies of documents from the collections can also be delivered via fax or e-mail for a nominal fee.
- William A. Wise Library at the University of Colorado-Boulder Law School – The William A. Wise Law Library is the largest law library in the state of Colorado. Its collections, which encompass over 850,000 print volumes and 330,000 titles in alternate formats, are available to the legal community and the public for research purposes. In addition to its comprehensive collections in Colorado law, the library also holds comprehensive collections for federal and international law, among other legal topics.
- Westminster Law Library at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law – Located in Denver, the Westminster Law Library is typically open to legal professionals and the general public, though access may be restricted during certain periods to university-affiliated visitors. This library offers circulation privileges to those who apply for and purchase an annual library card. Major collections include Colorado law, environmental and natural resources, government documents, and international law.
- Pikes Peak Paralegals – Since 1977, this association has been promoting the paralegal profession through continuing legal education and professional networking for its membership and the legal community at large. The organization was the first to become an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA). Individuals may qualify for active membership with appropriate education and experience. A student membership level is offered for current students.
- Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association – Founded in 1973, the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association is a charter member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). The association works to advocate for the paralegal profession while promoting professional development and interaction with the greater legal community, with an emphasis on pro bono service for the community at large. Annual dues are $85 for voting members, $80 for associate members, and $45 for student members.
Law Libraries in Colorado
Paralegal Associations in Colorado
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, Colorado: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/