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Connecticut Paralegal Career Guide

Our paralegal career guide is your starting point for learning how to become a paralegal in Connecticut. In this overview you will find information about Connecticut paralegal salary and job outlook, career resources, and more to help you plan your career in the paralegal field. Begin your career exploration with the easy to navigate directory below.

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

Paralegal Careers

Though corporate legal departments and governmental bodies depend on paralegal support, law firms remain the primary employers of legal assistants and paralegals nationwide. Cummings & Lockwood LLC is one of the largest Connecticut-based law firms with offices in Stamford, Greenwich, and West Hartford. This firm is committed to maintaining a cooperative and informal work environment for both attorneys and legal support staff. The resources of this large firm include top-notch technology and an extensive library system. Hartford’s Robinson & Cole LLP serves clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies and also employs many paralegals in practice areas such as estate planning, probate, immigration, intellectual property, public finance, and litigation.

Corporate legal departments offer a slightly different career path for aspiring paralegals. Connecticut hosts the headquarters of General Electric Co. Inc., United Technologies Corp., Tosco Corp., and Xerox Corp, all of which employ paralegals within their legal departments. Additional Connecticut paralegal jobs may be available at a variety of local, state, and federal government agencies.

Job Outlook in Connecticut

Projected Job Growth

15.4%

Paralegals in Connecticut from 2012-20221

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected 17% growth in paralegal and legal assistant employment nationwide from 2012 to 2022.2 This projection compares favorably with the average projected growth across all occupations at 11% over the same time interval.2 Observable trends within the legal community support these projections. As employers seek to optimize cost efficiency, an expanded role has been allocated to paralegals and legal assistants. Similarly, large corporations have been exhibiting a stronger preference for cost-efficient in-house counsel rather than outside representation, and the expansion of these internal legal departments is expected to produce more positions for paralegals. Projections for paralegal jobs in Connecticut show similar trends, with the Connecticut Department of Labor projecting 15.4% job growth for paralegals from 2012 to 2022.1 These projections are based on an anticipated 161 annual openings for paralegals and legal assistants within the state.1 The majority of these new Connecticut paralegal jobs are likely to be posted in urban areas such as the Hartford metropolitan area, which has one of the densest concentrations of paralegals and legal assistants in the nation.3

Connecticut Paralegal Salary Outlook

In May 2014, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,200 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Connecticut.4 The average paralegal salary in Connecticut was reported at $52,550, slightly above the national average paralegal salary of $48,350.3,4 The average paralegal salary in Connecticut is also likely to trend higher in urban areas. For example, the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area reports an average paralegal salary of $61,980, significantly higher than the state average.4 Overall the job and salary outlook for prospective paralegals in Connecticut is positive, with many already employed, a relatively high average annual wage, and strong established demand for paralegal labor from law firms and corporate legal departments.

Connecticut Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area

An overview of Connecticut paralegal salary by metro area:

Metro AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk1,230$61,980
Danbury200$48,270
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford2,560$50,290
New Haven650$52,810

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

Paralegal Certification in Connecticut

State law does not require Connecticut paralegal certification in order to work as a paralegal. Paralegals and legal assistants are classified as paraprofessionals who must work under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. However, though it is not mandated by state law, employers are exhibiting a greater preference for candidates with formal paralegal training, such as that earned at one of the many paralegal schools in Connecticut. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved five of the available Connecticut paralegal programs. Though it is respected, ABA approval is not required by all employers; other paralegal schools in Connecticut can also prepare prospective paralegals for entry-level careers.

Connecticut Certification

Following completion of a Connecticut paralegal program, prospective paralegals and legal assistants are advised to pursue voluntary national certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). These certification programs are not required by Connecticut law, but have been recognized as the national standard of excellence within the paralegal profession. For more information regarding paralegal training and career prospects, refer to the Connecticut paralegal associations listed below.

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

As formal Connecticut paralegal certification is not required, a few firms and corporate law divisions still offer on-site paralegal training; however, it is highly advisable for aspiring paralegals to attend one of the paralegal schools in Connecticut before entering the job market. Internships, externships, and job shadowing opportunities offered through these programs can be very advantageous for job seekers. In addition, education and/or work experience prerequisites typically need to be completed before a candidate is eligible to take national certification exams. Candidates are thus strongly encouraged to seek formal education and national certification to bolster their resumes. Smaller law firms or companies may also be promising options for new paralegals wishing to gain on-the-job experience before pursuing careers in larger firms or corporations. You can get a better idea of the typical requirements for paralegal jobs in Connecticut on our jobs board. You can also learn more about national certification and standards for paralegals with our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.

Paralegal Resources

As a paralegal, you play a critical support role for your firm and can make a difference in the lives of your firm’s clients. Part of a paralegal’s success draws from being able to access the most current information available when it is needed. These Connecticut paralegal career resources can help you set yourself apart.

Connecticut Paralegal Career Books

  • Connecticut Legal Research – Written by Jessica G. Hynes, Associate Professor of Legal Studies at Quinnipiac University, this state-specific guide to legal research is essential for practicing paralegals. The text covers efficient research strategies and sources of Connecticut law in print and online. Also included are tips for legal research in other states and at the federal level.
  • The Connecticut Notary Law Primer – As firms seek to optimize expenses, paralegals are frequently called upon to perform notary services. This guide to notary law in Connecticut provides professionals with the fundamentals of notary practice in the state. The text also includes helpful practice tips and guidelines for common forms.
  • Connecticut Criminal Legal Forms – Written with a focus on criminal defense, this compendium of criminal legal forms for use in Connecticut is both comprehensive and accessible. In two volumes, this collection includes over 400 ready-to-use forms that can be updated to suit the facts and circumstances of each individual case, saving paralegals valuable time.
  • Library of Connecticut Family Law Forms – Paralegals working in family law will find this library of ready-to-use forms for family law actions indispensable. The most recent edition includes over 200 forms in print and on CD-ROM with commentary and analysis from the authors.

Paralegal Job Search Websites for Connecticut

Connecticut Court Info

  • Jud.CT.gov – The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch maintains a one-stop website for all courts in the state system. Site visitors can access case lookup functions, e-filing systems, and court directories. Also provided are court forms, rules, and other resources of interest to legal professionals and the public.

Law Libraries in Connecticut

  • Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries – The Connecticut Judicial Branch maintains a system of law libraries with locations across the state. On the main library website visitors can search the library’s holdings to see where volumes are held and make requests for circulating titles. The state law library system also maintains an expansive collection of electronic resources.
  • University of Connecticut School of Law Thomas J. Meskill Law Library – Located on the University of Connecticut’s main campus in Hartford, this law library has expansive print and electronic holdings with particularly deep collections in Connecticut law. The library also hosts one of the most comprehensive collections of insurance law in the US.
  • Connecticut State Library – The Connecticut State Library, located in Hartford, holds numerous titles in its law and law-related collections. Specific collections include Connecticut State Documents, Federal Documents, and Law and Legislation with holdings that include statutes, regulations, and case law from across the US. The library also contains deep holdings in local government and state archives, many of which have been digitized.

Paralegal Associations in Connecticut

  • Central Connecticut Paralegal Association, Inc. – The Central Connecticut Paralegal Association was founded in 1982 to advance the paralegal profession through continuing education and partnerships with the greater legal community. The association hosts regular meetings and continuing education seminars, as well as a members-only jobs bank and mentoring program. Annual dues are $85 for voting members, $60 for affiliate members, and $45 for student members.
  • Connecticut Association of Paralegals – Active since 1975, the Connecticut Association of Paralegals seeks to promote the paralegal profession and the continuing development of its members. Membership benefits include education seminars, speakers’ meetings, and access to other professional resources. Annual dues are $60 for voting members, $40 for associate members, and $35 for student members.
  • New Haven County Association of Paralegals – Since 1980 the New Haven County Association of Paralegals has been serving legal support professionals throughout the New Haven metropolitan area. Association members receive numerous benefits including co-membership in the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Annual dues are $65 for voting members and $20 for student members.

References:
1. Connecticut Department of Labor: http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/projections.asp
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2014 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-6
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,
Connecticut: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm
5. American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/