Colorado Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This guide to paralegal careers provides a road map for learning how to become a paralegal in Colorado. Generally speaking, there are no formal certification requirements on becoming a paralegal in Colorado; however, an associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies is often the entry-level requirement. On this page, you will discover how to begin your career in the paralegal field with information on how to become a paralegal in the state, paralegal certification options, salary and job outlook, and career resources. Begin your career exploration by using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Colorado
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal 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. While there are several different paths to becoming a paralegal in the state, most Colorado paralegals possess a combination of education and experience, which may include on-the-job training or internships completed as part of a paralegal education program.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Even though Colorado does not require a degree or certificate to become a paralegal, many paralegals choose to obtain a formal education earned at one of the Colorado paralegal programs. Many programs are available across the state, ranging from certificates to associate’s degrees to bachelor’s degrees. Currently, four Colorado paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).1
2. Gain experience.
On-the-job experience can be gained through internships and job shadowing and is commonly offered as part of paralegal education programs. On-site training is also available at law firms and corporate legal departments throughout the state. Some paralegals even start at the entry level as document preparers or legal secretaries.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Although 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. You can read more about Colorado certification below.
Paralegal Certification in Colorado
In Colorado, paralegals are called legal assistants or paralegals. Many Colorado paralegals become members of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association); the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); or the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI). These associations offer paralegal certification programs widely accepted as the industry standard of professional excellence. Additionally, paralegals in Colorado can join the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association, headquartered in Denver. For more information on national certification options, take a look at our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Colorado Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Large law firms are the primary employers of paralegals in Colorado. Holland & Hart LLP is the largest law firm in the state. Headquartered in Denver, the firm has been recognized as a top pro bono law firm and a top firm for diversity, featuring several women in leadership. Named the “Firm of the Year in Colorado” by IFLR1000, Holland & Hart is well-known for its team-oriented work environment and innovative legal strategy. The firm is a promising source of paralegal jobs in Colorado, especially for those interested in pro bono work, energy law, environmental law, and trademark infringement. Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP is another large law firm in Colorado. Also headquartered in Denver, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP is a full-service law firm that specializes in energy, mining, technology, hospitality, aviation, and private equity, and frequently hires paralegals and legal assistants throughout the region.
In addition to law firms, there are several large corporations headquartered in Colorado that often hire paralegals for their in-house legal departments. Such corporations may include Dish Network, DaVita, Newport Mining, and Western Union. Government agencies also routinely post Colorado paralegal jobs. LinkedIn is a great resource to search for paralegal jobs in Colorado. On LinkedIn, you can search by geography (Colorado or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Colorado with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
- City and County of Denver
- Holland & Hart LLP
- State of Colorado
- Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP
- University of Denver
- US Army
To find out more about careers for paralegals, take a look at our careers page.
Colorado Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Colorado from 2018-20282
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 5,520 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Colorado.3 Colorado paralegal jobs are expected to increase by 27% between 2018 to 2028, a rate that far exceeds the national projected growth for paralegals for the same time period, of 13.1%.2 The expansion of the paralegal field may reflect a cost-saving trend; 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.
Paralegals and legal assistants in Colorado earned an average annual wage of $62,950 as of May 2020, which is the fourth top-paying state for this occupation in the nation.3,4 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 BLS reports that the Boulder metropolitan area has the highest average paralegal salary in Colorado, at $66,160.3 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.
Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in October 2021.
Colorado Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed5||Average Annual Salary5|
Paralegal Associations in Colorado
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geographical area and/or area of law.
- Legal Assistants of the Western Slope (LAWS): Strives to create and maintain good fellowship among members of the legal community and offers educational opportunities to legal support staff.
- Pikes Peak Paralegals (PPP): Affiliated with NALA, promotes the paralegal profession through continuing legal education and professional networking for its membership and the legal community at large.
- Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA): Works to advocate for the paralegal profession while promoting professional development and interaction with the greater legal community.
- Colorado Bar Association (CBA): Regularly posts Colorado paralegal jobs from across the state.
- Colorado Supreme Court Library: Offers its research and reference resources to legal professionals and the general public, including computer access to major legal research databases.
- Colorado Judicial Branch: Links visitors to state court pages, forms libraries, case and public records search, and e-filing systems for court correspondence, providing access to court rules, career opportunities, and pertinent news for practicing professionals.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: For paralegal jobs in Colorado, visit our jobs board.
- Paralegal Resource Center, Inc. (PCR): Helps paralegals find temporary and permanent positions.
- University of Colorado-Boulder Law School William A. Wise Library: The largest law library in the state of Colorado, encompassing over 850,000 print volumes and 330,000 titles in alternate formats.
- University of Denver Sturm College of Law Westminster Law Library: Offers major collections such as Colorado law, environmental and natural resources, government documents, and international law.
1. American Bar Association Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm