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Kentucky Paralegal Career Guide

Our paralegal career guide is an easy-to-navigate handbook for those who want to learn how to become a paralegal in Kentucky. Here you will find information regarding Kentucky paralegal salary and job outlook, career resources, and more. Start your career exploration with the directory below.

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

Paralegal Careers

Though corporate legal departments and government agencies are increasing paralegal and legal assistant employment, private law firms continue to produce the largest number of paralegal jobs in Kentucky. Stites & Harbison is a premier law firm with offices in Lexington and Louisville and is one of the oldest law firms in the nation as well as one of the largest law firms in the region. Specializing in a variety of practice areas ranging from banking to family law, Stites & Harbison relies heavily upon specialized paralegal support and may have promising Kentucky paralegal jobs for those wishing to focus their career in a specific area of law. Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP is another leading firm within the state with offices in Louisville and Lexington. This firm employs over 200 attorneys and practices in over 50 different practice areas.

For paralegals interested in corporate employment, Kentucky is home to Fortune 500 companies such as Humana, Yum Brands, and General Cable, among several others. Kentucky paralegal jobs can also be found in government agencies operating throughout the state.

Job Outlook in Kentucky

Projected Job Growth

12.5%

Paralegals in Kentucky from 2016-20261

In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2,770 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Kentucky.2 As firms seek to reduce the cost of providing legal services a hiring shift from attorney-based labor toward paralegal labor is expected, which may increase both the number of paralegal jobs in Kentucky and the diversity of tasks performed within those positions. Corporate legal departments are also expected to expand as corporations develop internal legal services rather than relying on more expensive outside counsel.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ occupational estimates mirror these expected trends, with a 15% employment growth rate projected for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 This projected growth rate is significantly higher than average projected growth for all occupations (7%) and for all legal occupations (11%) over the same period.3 In Kentucky, similar job growth of 12.5% for paralegals and legal assistants is projected from 2016 to 2026.1

Kentucky Paralegal Salary Outlook

The average paralegal salary in Kentucky is $45,590.2 However, the average paralegal salary in metro areas tends to be higher. For example, in the Lexington area the average paralegal salary is $49,000.2 Though these averages are below the national average of $53,910, candidates should keep in mind that the cost of living in Kentucky is generally lower than in other states.2 Formal paralegal education, work experience, and certification will position prospective paralegals throughout the state to demand more competitive salaries.

Kentucky Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area

An overview of paralegal salary in Kentucky by metro area:

Metro AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Bowling Green170$40,080
Lexington-Fayette370$49,000
Louisville-Jefferson County1,160$44,840

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4

Paralegal Certification in Kentucky

As in most other states, Kentucky paralegal certification is not required to work as a paralegal, though the Kentucky Paralegal Association offers the voluntary Certified Kentucky Paralegal credential. Paralegals in the state must disclose to clients that they are not lawyers, practice under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney, and adhere to client confidentiality.

Paralegals are encouraged to obtain formal paralegal training through one of the Kentucky paralegal programs offered within the state. Kentucky paralegal programs range from certificate programs to bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved six paralegal programs in Kentucky. Formal training programs offered by paralegal schools in Kentucky typically include a review of basic legal proceedings, an introduction to several major substantive areas of law, and skill training in formal writing, research, and technology. Upon completion of one of these training programs, paralegals are strongly encouraged to seek state and national certification.

Kentucky Certification

The Kentucky Paralegal Association has instituted the voluntary Certified Kentucky Paralegal program. This examination-based program is in place to encourage minimum requirements for on-the-job training, work experience, and paralegal education. To earn this credential, candidates must meet education and experience requirements. The minimum requirement is graduation from an ABA-approved Kentucky paralegal degree program, though those who attend other accredited paralegal schools in Kentucky are also eligible with appropriate experience after graduation. Refer to the Kentucky Paralegal Association website for specific eligibility requirements for the certification examination.

Voluntary national certification is also highly recommended for prospective paralegals. Comparable certification examinations are offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Though not mandated, these certification examinations have been generally accepted as a standard of excellence within the paralegal profession. Prospective paralegals are also encouraged to consult with the Kentucky paralegal associations listed below.

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

Though Kentucky paralegal certification is not mandated, obtaining the Certified Kentucky Paralegal credential is a competitive career move and is the standard held out by many paralegal employers in the state. Kentucky paralegals will also find benefits from pursuing internships to gain experience as well as from earning voluntary national certification. You can gain a better idea of what paralegal jobs in Kentucky typically require from candidates on our jobs board. For more information on national certification, see our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.

Paralegal Resources

Paralegals are positioned to have a positive impact on the success of their firms and can also make a positive difference for their firms’ clients. To be competitive, paralegals must be able to provide the right resources when they are needed. The following resources for Kentucky paralegals can help you get your career off to a strong start.

Kentucky Paralegal Career Books

  • Kentucky Legal Research – Legal research is a core skill for paralegals. This guide to legal research in Kentucky helps paralegals hone those skills while learning how to create a more efficient research process. The book also includes research sources and processes for federal legal research, as well as citation guidelines.
  • Kentucky Corporation Law & Practice – Paralegals working in corporate and business law will find this guide indispensable. Co-authored by Richard Getty, a Managing Member of The Getty Law Group PLLC, the text covers everything that legal professionals need to know about corporation law in Kentucky.
  • Kentucky Practice Series: Tort Law – This is one of few texts specific to Kentucky law that covers intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability in a single volume. The text explains statutory law as well as case law relating to these areas, as well as guidelines from other jurisdictions that can help provide guidance where Kentucky law is not specific or authoritative.
  • Kentucky Law of Damages – This text focuses on the types of relief available through the Kentucky courts while providing analysis of the principles applied to these forms of relief. In-depth explanations of specific types of actions and remedies through the Kentucky courts provide a deeper understanding of the state’s law and processes.

Paralegal Job Search Websites for Kentucky

Kentucky Court Info

  • Courts.KY.gov – The Kentucky Court of Justice maintains a portal to all courts in Kentucky’s jurisdiction. This website provides access to court offices, schedules, and records. Also provided are court news and resources as well as links to court e-filing systems.

Law Libraries in Kentucky

  • Kentucky State Law Library – Located in Frankfort, the Kentucky State Law Library hosts a complete collection of primary sources relating to Kentucky state law. Visitors may also electronically access the HeinOnline Law Journal Library, Shepard’s Citations Service, and Westlaw Patron. Access is open to legal professionals and the public.
  • University of Kentucky College of Law Library – On the University of Kentucky’s main campus in Lexington, this law library is open to the public during all hours that the library is open to students, which includes extended hours during the semester. Major collections include Kentucky materials, federal reporters and digests, and American jurisprudence. The library also has a comprehensive collection of cases and statutes relating to law in Canada and Great Britain.
  • University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Library – Located in Louisville, the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Library hosts an expansive research collection. As the focus of the library’s holdings is research, most materials do not circulate, though those that do can be checked out by any Louisville resident. Visitors may also use the library’s extensive electronic databases for legal research.

Paralegal Associations in Kentucky

  • Kentucky Paralegal Association – Serving paralegals across the state, the Kentucky Paralegal Association is the only association to offer the Certified Kentucky Paralegal credential. Members of the association receive opportunities for networking, professional development, and continuing education to maintain Kentucky paralegal certification. Annual dues are $50 for active and associate members, and free for current student members.
  • Louisville Association of Paralegals – Founded in 1978, the Louisville Association of Paralegals seeks to expand the use of paralegals in the legal environment while encouraging networking and cooperation between the legal professions. The association now counts over 200 members and maintains an active schedule of events. Annual dues are $50 for voting members, $55 for associate members, and free for current student members.
  • Northern Kentucky Association of Paralegals – Serving the northern half of the state, the Northern Kentucky Association of Paralegals offers joint membership with the Northern Kentucky Bar Association. The association hosts a jobs board and offers its members opportunities for networking and pro bono service. Annual dues are $50 for active members, $45 for associate members, and free for current student members.

References:
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, Kentucky: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/