Maine Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This paralegal career guide is your starting point for learning how to become a paralegal in Maine. Generally speaking, there are no formal requirements for becoming a paralegal in Maine; however, an associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies is often the entry-level requirement. On this page, you will find up-to-date information on how to become a paralegal in Maine, certification options, salary and career outlook, and career resources to help you get started. Begin your career exploration using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Maine
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Maine
Since there are no requirements for Maine paralegal certification, nor does the state regulate the profession in any way, 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.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Although Maine does not require a degree or certificate to become a paralegal, many paralegals choose to obtain a formal education earned at one of the Maine paralegal programs. Currently, there are no American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal programs in Maine.1 However, a few paralegal programs are available in the state, ranging from certificates to bachelor’s degrees.
2. Gain experience.
On-the-job experience can be gained through internships and job shadowing and is commonly offered as part of paralegal education programs. On-site training is also available at law firms and corporate legal departments throughout the state. Some paralegals even start at the entry level as document preparers or legal secretaries.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Although Maine paralegal certification is not required to become a paralegal in the state, voluntary certification is a highly desirable credential in the eyes of employers. You can read more about Maine certification below.
Paralegal Certification in Maine
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 while performing substantive legal work. Many Maine paralegals become members of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association); the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); or the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI). These associations offer paralegal certification programs widely accepted as the industry standard of professional excellence. You can read more about national paralegal certification through our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal
Maine Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
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 on 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 two offices in Maine, one in Portland and the other in Augusta, as well as several additional offices on the east coast, and is internationally recognized for its expertise in a wide range of practice areas.
Paralegals and legal assistants wishing to work in a corporate environment should investigate opportunities with 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.
LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Maine or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Maine with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Bernstein Shur
- Drummond Woodsum
- Eaton Peabody
- Pierce Atwood LLP
- State of Maine
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Maine Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Maine from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 1,280 paralegals and legal assistants working in Maine.3 As firms and corporations seek to minimize the cost of legal services, the number of paralegal and legal assistant positions is 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, Projections Central predicts 12% employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide, and 9.3% in Maine, from 2018 to 2028.2 An average of 170 annual openings for paralegals is expected in the state through 2028.2
The average paralegal salary in Maine was reported at $50,860 in 2020.3 Though this is below the national average salary for paralegals at $56,610, this may be due to the lower cost of living in some areas of the state.3 Additionally, the average paralegal salary in Maine tends to be higher in urban areas; for example, Portland-area paralegals earned an average of $53,120 in 2020.4 Overall, positive trends for paralegals indicate a favorable hiring environment with prospects for more competitive salaries. Paralegals with voluntary certification, paralegal education, and experience may be better positioned for higher salaries. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in December 2021.
Maine Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
|Northeast Maine nonmetropolitan area||70||$45,270|
|Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area||270||$47,690|
Paralegal Associations in Maine
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.
- NALS of Maine: With chapters throughout the state, strives to support paralegals and legal assistants through regional networking events, continuing education opportunities, and job postings.
- Maine State Bar Association (MSBA): Promotes the legal profession in Maine, provides continuing education opportunities, and encourages a high code of ethics among licensed legal professionals.
- University of Maine School of Law Garbrecht Law Library: Holds over 335,000 print volumes featuring federal and state laws, as well as Canadian and British Commonwealth law reports and statutes as an official depository for the European Union (EU).
- Maine Judicial Branch: A one-stop website with links to all courts in the state’s jurisdiction providing access to court forms, rules, and schedules, as well as e-filing systems.
- Maine Law and Legislative Reference Library: Hosts approximately 111,000 print volumes and an extensive electronic collection that includes international, federal, and state legal resources.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: For paralegal jobs in Maine, visit our jobs board.
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