Louisiana Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
Our Louisiana paralegal career guide is your starting point for becoming a paralegal or legal assistant. Louisiana has no state-wide requirements to become a paralegal. However, obtaining a degree or certificate in paralegal studies and/or becoming a certified paralegal or legal assistant can increase job opportunities and expand your hiring potential. This guide is designed to answer your questions about how to become a paralegal in Louisiana with paralegal outlook and salary information, career resources, and more. Begin researching your paralegal career with the easy-to-use directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Louisiana
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Louisiana
Since Louisiana paralegal certification is voluntary, paralegals in the state may take a variety of career paths. Most paralegals land their first position through a combination of education and experience, which may include training at a Louisiana paralegal program, internships, and on-the-job training. Beginning in an entry-level position, such as a legal document preparer or legal secretary, can allow candidates to work their way up the career ladder. Formal education, certification, and work experience will continue to benefit applicants for paralegal openings.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
There are several schools throughout Louisiana that offer paralegal certification programs culminating in certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. Although certification in Louisiana is voluntary, obtaining a formal education earned through one of the Louisiana paralegal programs can greatly improve your hiring potential. Currently, four Louisiana paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).1
2. Gain experience.
On-the-job training, including internships and job shadowing, is another important step for many in becoming a paralegal in Louisiana. These opportunities are often offered by formal paralegal certification programs. Some paralegals begin their career as legal document preparers or legal secretaries, which allows candidates to work their way up the career ladder.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Louisiana does not require specific certification for paralegals. However, voluntary certification can give paralegal candidates an edge in the hiring process. Read more about Louisiana certification below.
Paralegal Certification in Louisiana
Upon graduation from one of the paralegal schools in Louisiana, prospective paralegals are also encouraged to seek national certification through organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Though national certification is voluntary it represents a professional standard of excellence. Please refer to each organization’s website for eligibility requirements and general information regarding certification. Prospective paralegals and legal assistants are also encouraged to consult with the Louisiana paralegal associations listed below.
Although there are no mandated Louisiana paralegal certification requirements, the Louisiana State Paralegal Association does offer the Louisiana Certified Paralegal credential to qualified professionals. A Louisiana Certified Paralegal, or LCP, is a paralegal who has completed formal paralegal training or who has completed a college degree and earned experience working as a paralegal. Candidates must pass an exam, which is administered twice annually, to earn the Louisiana Certified Paralegal designation. You can learn more about this program through the Louisiana State Paralegal Association.
Louisiana Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Law firms are the primary employers of paralegals and legal assistants in Louisiana, although corporate legal departments and government agencies also often rely on paralegal support. Large law firms often engage in a variety of practice areas and may have promising opportunities for paralegals wishing to focus their careers in a specific area of law or who are seeking a larger work environment. Phelps Dunbar LLP is a large Louisiana-based law firm with offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge that specializes in business, litigation, insurance, and admiralty. The firm prefers to hire paralegals within practice areas to foster specialization and career growth. Adams and Reese LLP, with an office in New Orleans and another office in Baton Rouge, is another large multidisciplinary law firm that provides legal counsel on the local, national, and international levels, and requires a large degree of paralegal support. Individuals seeking a smaller or more generalized work environment may find promising Louisiana paralegal jobs at small to medium-sized local firms.
For those seeking employment in a corporate setting, Louisiana is home to several Fortune 500 companies including CenturyLink, Entergy, and Shaw Group. Smaller retail companies, insurance companies, banks, and government agencies are also likely to have interesting positions for paralegals and legal assistants throughout the state.
LinkedIn is a great resource to search for paralegal jobs in Louisiana. On LinkedIn, you can search by geography (state or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Louisiana with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Deutsch Kerrigan, L.L.P.
- Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers
- Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys
- Jones Walker LLP
- Kean Miller LLP
- Tulane University
- US Army
Louisiana Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Louisiana from 2018-20282
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 4,930 paralegals and legal assistants employed throughout Louisiana.3 To reduce the cost of providing legal services, law firms are expected to undergo a shift from attorney-based labor to paralegal and legal assistant labor. This shift is expected to drive an expansion of the profession, resulting in more positions for paralegals nationwide in a variety of professional settings. The range of tasks allotted to paralegals and legal assistants is also expected to diversify as they adopt more significant roles in legal offices.
From 2018 to 2028, employment for paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 12% nationwide.2 Louisiana is expected to see slower growth than the national average, adding an estimated 290 jobs from 2018 to 2028.2 Urban areas such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans are likely to produce the greatest number of paralegal jobs in Louisiana, though suburban and rural law firms are also expected to employ more paralegals and legal assistants.
The average Louisiana paralegal salary was reported at $47,580 as of May 2020.3 Though this is lower than the national average paralegal salary of $56,610, the cost of living in many areas of the state is lower than the national average.3 In addition, the average paralegal salary in Louisiana is higher in urban areas; New Orleans paralegals, for example, made an average salary of $52,410 in 2020.3 Based on positive projected growth trends, Louisiana paralegals should continue to encounter more positive hiring and salary trends throughout the next decade. Paralegals with voluntary certifications, a formal paralegal education, and real-world experience may be better positioned for higher salaries. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in October 2021.
Louisiana Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Average Annual Salary4
Paralegal Associations in Louisiana
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geography and/or area of law.
- Baton Rouge Paralegal Association, Inc. (BRPA): Provides members with a full calendar of events, including professional development and networking opportunities.
- Lafayette Paralegal Association, Inc. (LPA): Serves paralegals in the greater Lafayette metropolitan area through regular socials, educational luncheons, and other professionally-oriented events.
- Louisiana State Paralegal Association (LSPA): Serves paralegals statewide and offers its members access to regular networking opportunities, continuing education, and more.
- New Orleans Paralegal Association (NOPA): Holds monthly meetings for its members as well as periodic education seminars and socials.
- Lafayette Bar Association (LBA): The LBA offers an employment portal that includes many Louisiana paralegal jobs, the majority of which are in the Lafayette area.
- Law Library of Louisiana: Holds approximately 150,000 volumes with a focus on law, including law in other states and the federal government, as well as an online collection of legal research guides.
- Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA): The LSBA also maintains a jobs board that includes Louisiana paralegal jobs from across the state.
- Louisiana State University Law Library: Welcoming legal professionals and the general public, the library’s collections include over 850,000 volume equivalents and 109,000 volumes of court records.
- Louisiana Supreme Court: Provides links to court rules, programs, and news releases. Site visitors can also access the court’s docket as well as filing requirements, fees, and forms.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: You can search for paralegal jobs in Louisiana on our jobs board.
- State Library of Louisiana: One of the largest libraries in the United States, offering many sources of law from the state to the international level.
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