Maine Paralegal Career Guide
This paralegal career guide is your starting point for learning how to become a paralegal in Maine. On this page you will find up-to-date information on Maine paralegal salary as well as current job outlook and career resources to help you get started. Begin your career exploration using the directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook In Maine
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Maine
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Though corporations do employ paralegals and legal assistants, private law firms are the primary employers of paralegals nationwide. Drummond Woodsum is a premier law firm based in Portland that specializes in a variety of legal areas. This firm may have promising opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants interested in focusing in specific areas of law, as the firm tends to divide teams into small, case-based groups. Pierce Atwood LLP is another New England law firm originating in Maine which provides services to a variety of companies ranging from startups to multinational corporations. Pierce Atwood has offices in Portland and Augusta and is known for its efficiency and positive work environment.
Paralegals and legal assistants wishing to work in a corporate environment should investigate opportunities at Maine’s larger employers, which include Hannaford Brothers Company, Maine Medical Center, and LL Bean Inc. Maine paralegal jobs can also be found in government agencies throughout the state.
Job Outlook in Maine
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Maine from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,280 paralegals and legal assistants working in Maine.2 As firms and corporations seek to minimize the cost of legal services, the number of paralegal and legal assistant positions are expected to increase. The tasks allotted to legal support staff are also expected to expand as the profession adopts a more substantial role in the legal field. Accordingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 The expansion of paralegal jobs in Maine is also expected to be positive, if more moderate, with a prediction of 11.6% growth in the occupation during the same timeframe.3 An average of 140 annual openings for paralegals is expected in the state through 2026.1
Maine Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average paralegal salary in Maine was reported at $48,110 in 2017.2 Though this is below the national average salary for paralegals at $53,910, this may be due to the lower cost of living in some areas of the state.2 Additionally, the average paralegal salary in Maine tends to be higher in urban areas; for example, Portland-area paralegals earn an average of $50,760.4 Overall, positive trends for paralegals indicate a favorable hiring environment with prospects for more competitive salaries.
Maine Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
A quick look at paralegal salary in Maine by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Maine
Maine paralegal certification is not required to work as a paralegal or legal assistant in the state. Maine law defines paralegals and legal assistants as paraprofessionals qualified by education, training, or work experience who must be supervised by an attorney or organization performing substantive legal work. Though certification is not required, it is highly recommended that prospective professionals attend one of the paralegal schools in Maine to prepare for a legal support career. The American Bar Association (ABA) has not approved any of the available Maine paralegal programs. However, the paralegal programs offered by two- and four-year schools in the state are generally accepted by employers as adequate preparation for an entry-level paralegal career. These programs typically cover substantive legal study and include instruction in basic administrative and professional skills such as technical proficiency, formal writing, and legal research.
After attending one of the available Maine paralegal programs, prospective paralegals should consider seeking voluntary national certification through the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). These certification examinations are not mandatory but have been generally accepted as setting a national standard of competence within the paralegal profession. Paralegals should also consider membership in national paralegal organizations or organizations located in nearby states, which often offer discounted memberships to students currently attending paralegal schools in Maine or in other states. As of 2015, Maine was one of few states without a state-focused paralegal association.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Maine
Since there are no requirements for Maine paralegal certification, candidates may take a variety of paths to a paralegal career. Many paralegals start out as legal document preparers or legal secretaries before moving up the career ladder. However, the majority of paralegals have a combination of education and experience, which may include internships through one of the numerous Maine paralegal programs. Paralegals may also be prepared through on-the-job training or national certification. You can read more about national paralegal certification through our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal. You may also wish to visit our jobs board to gain an understanding of the typical requirements for paralegal jobs in Maine.
As a paralegal, you are positioned to make a positive impact on your firm and for your firm’s clients. Successful paralegals know that having the right resources at the right time is a critical skill in the legal environment. These resources for Maine paralegals can help you get your career off to a strong start.
Maine Paralegal Career Books
Maine Legal Research Guide – An understanding of legal research strategies is fundamental for practicing paralegals. This state-specific guide emphasizes efficient research processes using primary and secondary sources of Maine law.
Maine Real Estate Law and Rule Handbook – This accessible text on Maine real estate laws and guidelines serves as a helpful, easy-to-use reference for paralegals working on real estate cases. The extensive table of contents facilitates quick access of needed information, including all rules and statutes touching on Maine real estate ownership and transactions.
Davenport’s Maine Will and Estate Planning Legal Forms Booklet – Estate planning is a common task for legal professionals and can be time consuming. This concise guide to common forms for executing wills and related estate planning tasks in Maine can help paralegals save time in drafting legal documents. All forms included in the text are based on those written by the Maine legislature.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Maine
The Maine Bar Association Career Center includes postings for Maine paralegal jobs across the state. Those interested in government work may wish to check out the Maine Attorney General website for judicial paralegal jobs in Maine. You can also find Maine paralegal jobs on the Paralegal411 jobs board.
Maine Court Info
Courts.Maine.gov – The State of Maine Judicial Branch maintains a one-stop website that includes links to all courts in the state’s jurisdiction. On this site, visitors can access court forms, rules, and schedules as well as e-filing systems. Helpful research tools and court news are also provided.
Law Libraries in Maine
Maine Law and Legislative Reference Library – Housed within the state legislature in Augusta, this library offers late access when the state House or Senate are meeting. The library holds approximately 111,000 print volumes in addition to an extensive electronic collection. Collections include state, federal, and international materials.
Garbrecht Law Library at the University of Maine School of Law – Located in Portland, the Garbrecht Law Library is considered a large law library, with over 335,000 print volumes. Major collections include federal and state laws, Canadian and British Commonwealth law reports and statutes, and legal periodicals from America, Britain, and Canada. In addition, the library is an official depository for the European Union.
Paralegal Associations in Maine
There are currently no active paralegal associations in Maine.
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, Maine: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_me.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/