Hawaii Paralegal Career and Salary 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. Currently, Hawaii does not regulate the paralegal profession, so candidates with relevant education, experience, and voluntary certification may be more competitive in the job market. 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
- How to Become a Paralegal in Hawaii
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Hawaii
Since Hawaii does not have any mandatory requirements for paralegals, 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, completing a work experience program, seeking national certification, and joining a state or national paralegal association.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Several Hawaii paralegal programs are available, culminating in certificates and associate’s degrees, most of which include instruction in formal legal writing, legal technology, and substantive areas of law. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved one Hawaii paralegal program.1
2. Gain experience.
Earning work experience in the legal field through internships, externships, job shadowing, or other programs can give you an advantage in the job market as prospective employers tend to favor candidates who have some real-world training. These programs may be available through your school or law firms and other organizations that employ paralegals.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
It is highly recommended that prospective paralegals seek national certification through a paralegal association following completion of a paralegal degree program. Voluntary certification can demonstrate your commitment to the legal profession and your ability to meet rigorous standards.
Paralegal Certification in Hawaii
State law identifies paralegals as nonlawyer assistants and mandates that they must work under the supervision of a qualified attorney. Voluntary certification is available to qualified candidates with a paralegal studies degree or certificate through national organizations, such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association); the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); and the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI). Learn more about how to earn voluntary paralegal certification in our guide to becoming a paralegal.
Hawaii Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Though corporate legal departments require paralegal support, law firms remain the primary employers of paralegals and legal assistants. Due to their larger client base, law firms may offer paralegals the chance to specialize in a particular area of the law or a particular industry. 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, such as bankruptcy, immigration, and tax. Large firms like these generally require a greater degree of paralegal support and may provide opportunities for recently graduated paralegals.
Corporations often hire paralegals to support internal legal departments and may be another good option for entry-level paralegal positions. The largest corporate employers in Hawaii include Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.; Hawaii Medical Service Association; Matson, Inc.; 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.
LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Hawaii or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Hawaii with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Carlsmith Ball
- Clay Chapman Iwamura Pulice & Nervell
- Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
- State of Hawaii
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- US Army
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Hawaii Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Hawaii from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 1,070 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Hawaii.3 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. Projections Central has projected 6.1% employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants in Hawaii, with an anticipated 130 average paralegal openings each year, though 2028.2
The average Hawaii paralegal salary was reported at $55,520 in 2020.3 This wage is only slightly below the average national annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $56,610.3 Most paralegals and legal assistants are employed in the Honolulu area, though smaller firms and employers may be found throughout the state. Average salaries are comparable throughout the state, although paralegals outside of metro areas reportedly earn slightly more. Paralegals with formal education and voluntary national certification will be the best positioned to negotiate for higher salaries. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in December 2021.
Hawaii Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
|Hawaii/Kauai Nonmetropolitan Area||100||$57,790||Urban Honolulu||900||$55,420|
Paralegal Associations in Hawaii
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geographical location and/or area of law.
- Hawaii Paralegal Association (HPA): Promotes the paralegal profession and the professional development of its members through networking and learning opportunities.
- Hawaii State Judiciary: Provides information about the court system and rules in Hawaii and offers online services, such as e-filing, document submission, and payment of fines.
- Hawaii State Law Library System: Maintains locations across the islands, primarily housed within the Supreme Court and Circuit Court buildings for each district, that offer circulation privileges for federal and state materials.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: To search for paralegal jobs in your area, visit our jobs board.
- University of Hawaii at Manoa Law Library: Houses regular and electronic collections open to the public with a specialization in Hawaiian law, including indigenous 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 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm