Delaware Paralegal Career Guide
Our paralegal career guide is designed to answer your questions about how to become a paralegal in Delaware. Here you will find information on Delaware paralegal salary, career outlook, and resources to help you become more competitive in the paralegal job market. Begin your journey to a paralegal career using the directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Delaware
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Delaware
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Though corporate legal departments are a reliable source of paralegal jobs in Delaware, law firms continue to be the primary employers and paralegals and legal assistants across the US. Wilmington hosts Richards, Layton & Finger, the largest and one of the oldest law firms in Delaware. This firm specializes in business law, bankruptcy, tax, and litigation. Also in Wilmington, Potter, Anderson & Corroon LLP works in multiple practice areas including commercial litigation, insurance law, and employment law. Large, multidisciplinary firms such as these operate in many different areas of law and tend to include numerous legal support staff on their research teams, making them good starting points for job-seeking paralegals.
Corporate internal legal departments may offer aspiring paralegals and legal assistants a slightly different work environment. Corporations with offices in Delaware include DuPont, Wilmington PharmaTech, and QPS Holdings. Additional Delaware paralegal jobs may be found through state and federal government agencies.
Job Outlook in Delaware
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Delaware from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,350 paralegals and legal assistants working in Delaware.2 The paralegal profession is expected to expand as employers seek to minimize the cost of providing legal services. This trend should create new positions for paralegals and diversify the responsibilities of legal support staff. Similarly, internal corporate legal departments are expected to expand in order to reduce the cost of relying on outside counsel. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified these trends and predicted 15% employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 Similarly positive, though more moderate, growth for Delaware paralegal jobs is predicted at 13.8% over the same time period.1 This projection is based on an anticipated 150 average annual paralegal job openings from 2016 to 2026.1
Delaware Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average Delaware paralegal salary was reported at $55,120 in 2017.2 This average annual wage is higher than the national average wage for paralegals, which was reported at $53,910.2 The high average paralegal salary in Delaware indicates that the job outlook for paralegals in Delaware is largely positive, especially given that Delaware has one of the highest concentrations of paralegals relative to other occupations in the nation.2 Urban areas are expected to produce most of the Delaware paralegal jobs added to the state economy over the next few years.
Delaware Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
An overview of paralegal salary in Delaware by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Wilmington Metropolitan Area||1,140||$56,100|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Delaware
There is no statewide requirement for Delaware paralegal certification. However, the Delaware Paralegal Association has launched a voluntary Delaware Certified Paralegal (DCP) program, about which you can read more below. Statewide, paralegals may practice under the direct supervision of a qualified attorney without Delaware paralegal certification. As a result, on-site training is still offered in some legal firms and corporate legal departments. However, the majority of employers prefer candidates who have attended one of the paralegal schools in Delaware.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved four Delaware paralegal programs. Delaware paralegal programs that do not carry ABA approval may also be sufficient to prepare candidates for entry into the legal support profession. Most programs at paralegal schools in Delaware include an overview of federal and state legal procedures, substantive areas of law, formal writing techniques, and legal research skills.
The Delaware Certified Paralegal (DCP) program offered by the Delaware Paralegal Association is a voluntary program designed to enhance paralegals’ education, skills, and career prospects. To become a Delaware Certified Paralegal, candidates must be a member of the Delaware Paralegal Association and have completed an education that includes at least a certificate in paralegal studies combined with at least four years of substantive paralegal experience. You can read more about the Delaware Certified Paralegal program on the Delaware Paralegal Association website.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Delaware
Upon completion of one of the Delaware paralegal programs, professionals are encouraged to seek voluntary national certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). The certification programs from these organizations have been generally accepted as a standard for professional competency. You can read more about national certification on our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal. In addition, the Delaware Certified Paralegal (DCP) program is highly recommended for in-state paralegals. Prospective paralegals in will position themselves competitively by completing studies at one of the paralegal schools in Delaware and pursuing national and state certification to enhance their marketability. You can gain a better understanding of the typical requirements for paralegal jobs in Delaware on our jobs board.
Paralegals play an important role in supporting the success of their firms and their firms’ clients. Much of a paralegal’s success is based on having the right resources when needed. The following Delaware paralegal resources will help you take your career in the right direction.
Delaware Paralegal Career Books
Ethics and Professional Responsibility for Paralegals – This popular text, now in its fifth edition, provides practicing paralegals with a thorough understanding of legal ethics in practice and in theory. The text focuses on ethics specific to the paralegal role and includes analysis of historic cases informing court interpretations of paralegal ethics.
Delaware Corporation Laws Annotated – Delaware is known for its business-friendly environment, which attracts many organizations towards Delaware incorporation. As a major area of employment for paralegals in the state, corporation law is an important area of knowledge. This text provides an authoritative, annotated look at Delaware laws and statutes with references for further research.
Delaware Criminal and Traffic Law Manual – Useful for paralegals working in defense or prosecution, this annotated quick reference for Delaware criminal and traffic laws is updated annually. Organized by topic rather than by statute, this book provides an efficient way to look up relevant sources of legal authority for specific types of cases in criminal and traffic law.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Delaware
Delaware Court Info
Courts.Delaware.gov – The Delaware State Courts official website links visitors with court news, rules, and forms for all courts in the state. Visitors can also access job openings in the state judiciary, legal research resources, and more.
Law Libraries in Delaware
Judicial Libraries of the State of Delaware – The State of Delaware Judiciary maintains three law libraries, one in each of the state’s counties. The libraries are open to the public and legal community and together hold a comprehensive collection of state law materials, including primary and secondary sources.
Widener University Delaware Law School Legal Information Center – The Legal Information Center at Widener University is one of the premier law libraries on the eastern seaboard. Members of the bar may borrow circulating materials and may also request document delivery at a nominal fee. On-site visitors may also access the library’s numerous electronic resources.
Paralegal Associations in Delaware
Delaware Paralegal Association – The Delaware Paralegal Association was founded in 1976 and today has over 300 active members. Members have access to lecture luncheons, continuing legal education, and more, including the association’s Delaware Certified Paralegal program. Annual dues are $60 for full members, $45 for associate members, and $35 for student members.
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, Delaware: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_de.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/