Michigan Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
The general entry-level requirement for paralegals in Michigan is the completion of an associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies. This career guide includes Michigan paralegal salary and job outlook information, career resources, and answers to the most common questions about how to become a paralegal in Michigan. Start your journey to a paralegal career using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents:
- How to Become a Paralegal in Michigan
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Michigan
Since there are no statewide requirements for Michigan paralegal certification, individuals may take a number of different paths to becoming a paralegal. The most common route to a paralegal career is completing an education paired with experience. Experience may come from in-school internships or through on-the-job training as a legal assistant or entry-level paralegal.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Completing an associate’s degree or certificate program through one of the many paralegal schools in Michigan can help candidates build their credentials and become more competitive applicants for available paralegal jobs. As of February 2020, the American Bar Association (ABA) has approved 12 Michigan paralegal programs.1
2. Gain experience.
Many paralegal programs include internships, job shadowing, or other real-world experience working in legal environments. Even in programs where such experiences are not required to earn a degree or certificate, they are typically recommended for the on-the-job experience and professional networking opportunities they provide.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
While state-level licensure or certification is not required to work as a paralegal in Michigan, earning what is known as voluntary certification can enhance your qualifications when applying for open positions. You can read more about certification below.
Paralegal Certification in Michigan
In Michigan, paralegals are defined as paraprofessionals and are permitted to perform select tasks under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. Michigan does not have any minimum training or education requirements for paralegals, which allows for on-the-job training. However, most employers prefer paralegal candidates who have formal training. After earning a paralegal degree or certificate, individuals can seek certification through organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). For additional information about how to become a paralegal, including further information on national certification, visit our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Michigan Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Corporate legal departments, government agencies, and private law firms all employ paralegals in Michigan. Miller Canfield is an international firm based in Detroit that practices in several areas of law. Honigman LLP is another business law firm based in Michigan that provides legal services in a wide variety of industries. Large firms such as these tend to form specialized groups within legal fields with dedicated paralegals, which may be a match for aspiring paralegals wishing to focus on a specific area of law.
For those seeking a corporate working environment, many Fortune 500 companies are based in Michigan including General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Dow Chemical Company, and Kellogg’s. Smaller companies are also in need of paralegal support and may be starting points for recently certified legal assistants and paralegals. Government agencies are another source of paralegal jobs in Michigan that may be of interest for recently qualified professionals looking for a more general introduction into paralegal work. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Michigan or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Michigan with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Dow Chemical Company
- Dickinson Wright PLLC
- Ford Motor Company
- General Motors
- Miller Canfield
- State of Michigan
- Stenger & Stenger PC
- University of Michigan
- Warner Norcross + Judd
You can read more about different paralegal career tracks and specialties on our careers page.
Michigan Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Michigan from 2018-20282
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 6,870 paralegals and legal assistants in Michigan.3 As organizations seek to reduce the cost of legal services, a national increase in paralegal and legal assistant employment is expected, leading to more positions as well as diversification in the types of tasks allotted to paralegal support staff.4 The BLS has projected 12% employment growth nationally for legal assistants and paralegals from 2018 to 2028; the job outlook for Michigan paralegals is slightly lower, at 9.1% during the same time period.2
The average paralegal salary in Michigan was $54,350 as of May 2020.3 This is close to the national median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $56,610.2 With positive projected job growth, the Michigan paralegal career outlook is favorable. Prospective paralegals should note that urban areas with higher populations may offer more competitive salaries. For example, paralegals in the Grand Rapids metro earn an average annual salary of $73,090, far higher than the average paralegal salary in Michigan.3 In addition, candidates may position themselves to negotiate for higher salaries by completing formal training from paralegal programs in Michigan, national certification, and/or legal work experience.
Michigan Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed5||Average Annual Salary5|
Paralegal Associations in Michigan
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected Boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geography and/or area of law.
- Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA): Welcomes members from all sections of the legal professions, including paralegals and legal assistants, and offers networking opportunities, regular professional development, and continuing education meetings.
- Great Lakes Paralegal Association (GLPA): Seeks to promote strong ethics and professional attainment for paralegals.
- Davenport’s Michigan Wills and Estate Planning Legal Forms: Forms included in this book can be modified as necessary to clients’ needs during initial drafting, saving paralegals valuable time.
- John F. Schaefer Law Library at Michigan State University: Hosts extensive collections of law materials and provides access to electronic sources for legal research.
- Michigan Court of Justice: Access court filing systems, research cases and opinions, and see court and legal news of interest. Court forms, published law, and other reference materials are also available on this site.
- Michigan Court Rules: Covers court rules for civil, criminal, probate, and appellate procedures.
- Oakland County Bar Association: Hosts a jobs board that includes positions for paralegals and legal assistants.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: For even more paralegal jobs in Michigan, check out our jobs board.
- State Bar of Michigan Career Center: Source for finding Michigan paralegal jobs from across the state.
- State Law Library of Michigan: Provides the general public with access to an extensive print collection as well as electronic subscription databases.
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, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-6
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm