Hawaii Paralegal Career Guide
Our guide is designed to help those interested in beginning a career in the legal field learn how to become a paralegal in Hawaii. On this page you will find Hawaii paralegal salary information, job outlook, and career resources to help you launch your paralegal career. Get started using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Hawaii
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Hawaii
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Though corporate legal departments require paralegal support, law firms remain the primary employers of paralegals and legal assistants. Carlsmith Ball LLP is Hawaii’s oldest law firm and one of its largest, serving domestic companies as well as international and federal bodies. The firm has offices in Hilo, Honolulu, Kona, and Maui. Based in Honolulu, Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel LLC is a large firm with experience in a wide variety of legal areas. Large firms like these generally require a greater degree of paralegal support and may have promising opportunities for recently graduated paralegals.
Corporations often hire paralegals to support internal legal departments. The largest corporate employers in Hawaii include Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc., Hawaii Medical Service Association, and Bank of Hawaii Corp. Insurance companies such as First Insurance Company of Hawaii Ltd also employ paralegals and legal assistants and may be appropriate for paralegals interested in insurance law. Government organizations may also be good sources for finding Hawaii paralegal jobs.
Job Outlook in Hawaii
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Hawaii from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 910 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Hawaii.2 As employers seek to minimize costs, the legal profession is expected to undergo a shift towards paralegal labor. This shift is expected to both broaden the range of tasks allotted to paralegals and to increase the number of paralegal positions nationwide. Corporate legal departments are likewise expected to expand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected 15% employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016-2026.3 This projection compares favorably to the average projected growth for all US occupations (7%) and the average projected growth for all other legal occupations (11%) for the same time period.3 These shifts should also lead to new paralegal jobs in Hawaii, with projections calling for 10.2% job growth for paralegals in the state from 2016 to 2026 based on an anticipated 130 paralegal positions added to the state job market.1
Hawaii Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average Hawaii paralegal salary was reported at $50,740 in 2017.3 This wage falls below the median national annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $53,910.2 Most paralegals and legal assistants are employed in the Honolulu area, though smaller firms and employers may be found throughout the state. Paralegals with formal education and voluntary national certification will be the best positioned to negotiate for higher salaries.
Hawaii Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
An overview of paralegal salary in Hawaii by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Hawaii / Kauai Nonmetropolitan Area||110||$47,520|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Hawaii
There are no requirements for Hawaii paralegal certification at the state level, though state law mandates that paralegals and legal assistants, designated as paraprofessionals, must work under the supervision of a qualified attorney. Though on-site training is available at a few law firms and corporations, most employers prefer candidates with formal training such as that offered by one of the paralegal schools in Hawaii.
Several Hawaii paralegal programs are available, ranging from associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs to certificate programs. Most programs include instruction in formal legal writing, legal technology, and substantive areas of law. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved one Hawaii paralegal program. It is highly recommended that prospective paralegals seek national certification through a paralegal association such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) following completion of a paralegal degree program.
Neither the Hawaii State Bar nor the Hawaiian Supreme Court has issued regulations regarding paralegal training, education, or employment. However, voluntary national certification programs greatly increase candidates’ job prospects within the state and nationwide. You can read more about national certification on our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal. It can also be helpful to gain an understanding of the typical requirements for paralegal jobs in Hawaii, which you can view on our jobs board. For more information regarding paralegal education or employment in Hawaii, please refer to the Hawaii paralegal associations listed below.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Hawaii
Since Hawaii paralegal certification is not mandatory, candidates for paralegal jobs may take a variety of career paths. Prospective paralegals may start out as legal secretaries or document preparers and advance to the paralegal position, and promising candidates may be offered on-the-job training for paralegal work. However, candidates can greatly enhance their chance of employment by attending one of the paralegal schools in Hawaii, seeking national certification, and joining a state or national paralegal association.
Paralegals play an important role in supporting the success of the firms for which they work. Part of this success is tied to having the right resources available when needed. These resources for Hawaii paralegals can help you get a strong start with your career.
Hawaii Paralegal Career Books
- Hawaii Notary Law Primer – Paralegals are often called upon to function as notaries, making it necessary to understand notary law. This guide covers notary laws specific to the state as well as more generalized rules for national practice, with chapters covering identity verification, suggested document wording, and more.
- Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise – Native Hawaiian law is a complex issue that is encountered across the Hawaiian islands. This text helps paralegals working in practices that may encounter cases touching on indigenous peoples’ law understand the fundamentals of such topics as burial rights, water rights, access rights, and more in the context of state and federal law.
- Hawaii Evidence Rules Courtroom Quick Reference – Updated annually, this portable text is a helpful reference and guide to the rules of evidence in Hawaii. The text covers state as well as federal court rules and is also available as an e-book.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Hawaii
- Hawaii State Judiciary – Regularly posts Hawaii paralegal jobs in government agencies across the state.
- Paralegal411 jobs board – For more paralegal jobs in Hawaii, visit our jobs board.
Hawaii Court Info
- Courts.State.HI.us – The Hawaii State Judiciary maintains this web portal for all courts within the state. Visitors to the site can access court rules, forms, and reports. The site also provides access to court e-filing systems and an extensive list of electronic legal references specific to legal research in Hawaii and the US.
Law Libraries in Hawaii
- Hawaii State Law Library System – The Hawaii State Law Library System encompasses locations across the islands, primarily housed within the Supreme Court and Circuit Court buildings for each district. Circulation privileges are extended to current members of the bar and those sponsored by active bar members. The library system is a depository for federal documents as well as materials published by the State Justice Institute.
- William S. Richardson School of Law Library at the University of Hawaii at Manoa – Located in Honolulu, this law library is open to legal professionals and the public. Its collections include a wide array of electronic resources and select digitized collections from its regular holdings. The library’s deepest holdings are in Hawaiian law, including indigenous law.
Paralegal Associations in Hawaii
- Hawaii Paralegal Association – Founded in 1978, the Hawaii Paralegal Association seeks to promote the paralegal profession and the professional development of its members. The organization has close ties to the Hawaii Bar Association and the Hawaii Institute for Continuing Education, providing networking and learning opportunities. Annual dues are $70 for voting members, $60 for associate members, and $30 for student members.
1. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/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, Hawaii: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_hi.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/