Maryland Paralegal Career Guide
This paralegal career guide will help you find the answers to the most common questions about how to become a paralegal in Maryland. Here you will discover information on paralegal salary in Maryland, the job outlook within the state, and helpful resources to help you launch your career. Use the easy-to-navigate directory below to get started.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Maryland
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Maryland
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Although corporations, internal legal departments, banks, and government agencies are relying more heavily on paralegal labor, private law firms continue to be the primary employers of paralegals nationwide. Venable LLP is one of Maryland’s leading law firms with over 180 practicing attorneys specializing in a wide range of areas including corporate law, bankruptcy, creditor’s rights, and commercial litigation. Miles & Stockbridge PC is another leading law firm in the state and is known for its quality results, professional atmosphere, and innovative thinking. Large law firms such as these often practice in a variety of different legal specialties and industries, requiring paralegal support. These firms, among other leading firms in the area, may provide good opportunities for career-driven paralegals and legal assistants wishing to work in large-scale business law. Additionally, large firms tend to develop area-dedicated teams and may be desirable for paralegals wishing to specialize in a specific area of law. Smaller firms have can also be great places for paralegals to gain professional experience and receive a more general introduction into paralegal work.
For those wishing to enter the corporate world as a paralegal, several Fortune 500 companies are based in Maryland, including Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Coventry Health Care, and Host Hotels & Resorts. The state also hosts many government agencies that regularly post paralegal jobs in Maryland. These organizations provide different environments for prospective paralegals and can be considered as an alternative to traditional law firm positions.
Job Outlook in Maryland
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Maryland from 2016-20261
As of May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 6,890 paralegals and legal assistants working in the state of Maryland.2 As firms seek to minimize expenses in an efficiency-oriented economy it is expected that paralegals will adopt a more substantial role within the legal sphere. This shift is expected to lead to more positions for paralegals and legal assistants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 15% employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 Paralegals in Maryland may see slower, but still positive, job growth at an expected rate of 5.7% over the same time period.1
Maryland Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average paralegal salary in Maryland is $55,360, which compares favorably to the national average paralegal salary of $53,910.2 The annual wage for paralegals can be expected to increase as more diverse and substantial tasks are allotted to support staff rather than to attorneys. Additionally, corporate positions for paralegals are expected to expand and should result in a higher average Maryland paralegal salary throughout the next decade. Prospective paralegals should also note that salaries tend to be higher in urban areas as employers compete for the most talented and qualified applicants.
Maryland Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
A quick glance at paralegal salary in Maryland by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Division||9,050||$72,010|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Maryland
The state of Maryland has not issued mandatory minimum education or training requirements for paralegals and legal assistants within the state, though Maryland’s Rule 5.3 does specify that paralegals and legal assistants may only work under the supervision of a qualified attorney. The absence of mandatory Maryland paralegal certification means that paralegals and legal assistants may still prepare for careers with on-site training. However, employers are favoring candidates with some formal paralegal education.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved four Maryland paralegal programs, varying from certificate programs to associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Paralegal schools in Maryland generally emphasize professional skills such as written and oral communication, legal research skills, and substantive legal knowledge in common areas of law. Other Maryland paralegal programs that have not been approved by the ABA are offered and may be adequate preparation for a paralegal career.
Though there are no requirements for Maryland paralegal certification, upon completing a paralegal program, prospective paralegals and legal assistants are encouraged to pursue national certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). These national associations offer certification programs which have been widely accepted as the industry standard of professional excellence within the paralegal and legal assistant profession. Paralegals and legal assistants are also encouraged to join the Maryland Association of Paralegals for information regarding paralegal education and paralegal jobs in Maryland. For more information on national associations and voluntary certification, take a look at our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Maryland
As there are no state-level regulations for Maryland paralegal certification, professionals may enter the field through a variety of routes. Most paralegals possess a combination of education and experience, which may include internships and on-the-job training. Earning a degree or certificate from one of the many paralegal schools in Maryland can give professionals a strong start in the jobs market. Recently graduated paralegals are advised to seek positions in a variety of legal settings including private firms, corporations, banks, and government agencies. You can view current Maryland paralegal jobs and typical requirements on our jobs board
Paralegals are well-positioned to make a difference for their firms and in the lives of their firms’ clients. Success as a paralegal is partly based on having access to the right resources when they are needed. The following resources can help you build a successful paralegal career.
Maryland Paralegal Career Books
- Legal Research in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia – This text gives helpful process overviews and practice tips for performing legal research in the tri-state area. Written by Leah F. Chanin and Sarah K. Wiant, leaders in the field of paralegal education, this book also includes overviews of primary and secondary sources of law and how to use and cite these sources.
- Fader’s Maryland Family Law – Now in its fifth edition, this text from LexisNexis provides authoritative coverage of matrimonial law in Maryland as well as other issues in family law and the state family court process. The text also provides an analysis of legal precedents leading to current laws, policy considerations, and issues in the implementation of the law.
- Davenport’s Maryland Wills and Estate Planning Legal Forms – Updated annually, this book is an essential desk reference for paralegals working in family law and probate. The text gives broad coverage of Maryland wills and estate law and includes a wide range of ready-to-use legal forms with completed examples for quick reference.
- Maryland Employment Law – Paralegals working in employment law, business law, and related areas will find this text on employment law in Maryland a helpful guide. Covered by the text are contracts, torts, current discrimination law, and helpful legal analysis. The current second edition is available in print or e-book format.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Maryland
- The Maryland Association of Paralegals, Inc. – Hosts an employment portal that includes paralegal jobs in Maryland from all areas of the state.
- Maryland Courts – Also host a unified employment board that includes Maryland paralegal jobs.
- Paralegal411 jobs board – For even more Maryland paralegal jobs, visit our jobs board.
Maryland Court Info
- Courts.State.MD.us – This website functions as the main portal for all courts within Maryland’s jurisdiction. From this site visitors can access links to individual court pages, locate court forms, and use court e-filing systems. The site also includes links to court news and publications, as well as access to other common court-related functions for legal professionals.
Law Libraries in Maryland
- Maryland State Law Library – Located in Annapolis, the Maryland State Law Library contains a comprehensive collection of titles focused on Maryland and Anglo-American law. The library has extended evening hours on Tuesday and Thursday. In addition to its print collections, the library also has an extensive digital collection. Annapolis-area legal professionals may also request circulating titles from other libraries in the state library system.
- University of Maryland Thurgood Marshall Law Library – Situated on the University of Maryland campus in Baltimore, this library is open to legal professionals with a bar association card and government-issued identification during limited hours for the purposes of conducting legal research. The library’s collections include over 400,000 print volumes, which cover sources of Anglo-American, international, and foreign law.
Paralegal Associations in Maryland
- Maryland Association of Paralegals, Inc. – The Maryland Association of Paralegals is an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and has been serving area paralegals since 1974. Members receive benefits including networking events, continuing education opportunities, and scholarship opportunities. Annual dues are $80 for active members and $40 for students.
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, Maryland: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/