Minnesota Paralegal Career Guide
Our guide is designed to answer your questions about how to become a paralegal in Minnesota and jump-start your career in the legal support field. This page presents Minnesota paralegal salary information, job outlook, and career resources to help you prepare for an exciting paralegal career. Start your professional journey with the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Minnesota
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Minnesota
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Though government agencies, banks, and corporations hire paralegal staff, private law firms continue to be the leading employer of paralegals and legal assistants nationwide. With offices in Minneapolis, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP is one of the leading law firms in Minnesota. This firm practices in a wide range of legal subjects and is often hiring, providing promising paralegal jobs in Minnesota for recently certified paralegals. Dorsey & Whitney LLP is another large business law firm based in Minneapolis, specializing in litigation, contracts, and mergers. This firm may have good opportunities for paralegals interested in large-scale business and corporate law.
For paralegals interested in a corporate work environment, several Fortune 500 companies are based in Minnesota. These companies include UnitedHealth Group, Target, Best Buy, and 3M. Newly-certified paralegals may seek employment at smaller law firms and corporations to receive a more general introduction to the paralegal field. Government agencies may also provide Minnesota paralegal jobs for new paralegals wishing to explore an alternate work environment.
Job Outlook in Minnesota
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Minnesota from 2016-20261
As of May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,020 paralegals and legal assistants working in Minnesota.2 As law firms and corporations seek to lower their expenses, paralegal and legal assistant positions are expected to expand as tasks previously assigned to attorneys may be allotted to paralegal support staff. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% job growth rate for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 This projected growth rate exceeds the average projected growth rate across all occupations and the average projected growth rate across all legal occupations for the same time period.3 Projections call for slightly lower, though still positive, growth in Minnesota paralegal jobs of 13.3% from 2016 to 2026.1 This translates to 650 new paralegal jobs added in Minnesota over this time period.1
Minnesota Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average Minnesota paralegal salary was reported at $56,510 in 2017, which is above the national average paralegal salary of $53,910.2 The average annual paralegal wage in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area was reported at $57,480 in May 2017, which is slightly more competitive than the average paralegal salary in Minnesota.2 As the occupation expands, average annual salaries are expected to increase gradually. The favorable hiring trends for paralegals nationwide and the already high average salary within Minnesota suggest that the state should continue to produce promising opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants.
Minnesota Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
A quick glance at paralegal salary in Minnesota by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI||4,370||$57,480|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Minnesota
Minnesota paralegal certification is not currently required by the state, which has no regulations governing the training or education of paralegals. Under Minnesota’s Rule 5.3, paralegals and legal assistants are defined as paraprofessionals who are authorized to perform law-related tasks under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. These guidelines allow paralegals and legal assistants to be trained on-site in law firms and corporations. However, more and more employers are favoring candidates with formal paralegal education from one of the paralegal schools in Minnesota or in other states. In addition, education is a qualifying factor to earn the voluntary Minnesota Certified Paralegal (MnCP) credential, about which you can read more below.
Currently, the American Bar Association (ABA) has approved six paralegal schools in Minnesota. These Minnesota paralegal programs range from certificates to associate’s degree programs to bachelor’s degree programs. In addition, non-ABA approved Minnesota paralegal programs are offered throughout the state and may be sufficient preparation for an entry-level paralegal career. Upon completion of a formal paralegal degree program, prospective paralegals are highly encouraged to seek voluntary national certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
Though there are no requirements for paralegal certification in Minnesota, the Minnesota Paralegal Association has instituted a voluntary program for those who wish to become a Minnesota Certified Paralegal (MnCP). Eligibility for the Minnesota Certified Paralegal credential is based on experience and education. In addition to state certification, many paralegals seek voluntary national certification from NALA or the NFPA. These organizations offer highly respected certification examinations that have been generally accepted within the paralegal profession. Paralegals are also advised to consult the Minnesota paralegal associations listed below for information regarding paralegal and legal assistant education and information about paralegal jobs in Minnesota.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Minnesota
Though Minnesota paralegal certification is not required to become a paralegal in the state, the majority of paralegals do have professional career preparation through formal education. You can read about the opportunities offered by paralegal schools in Minnesota on our Minnesota paralegal programs page. Note also that some employers may offer qualified applicants on-the-job training; many paralegals begin as legal document preparers or legal assistants before working up the career ladder. You can get a better idea of the qualifications posted for paralegal jobs in Minnesota on our jobs board. You can also learn more about national certification with our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Paralegals play a key support role in the firms for which they work. One major aspect of the support paralegals provide is being able to contribute the right resources at the right time. The following resources for Minnesota paralegals will help you start your career on the right track.
Minnesota Paralegal Career Books
- Minnesota Legal Research – This guide to performing legal research in Minnesota serves as an introductory text as well as a continuing reference. Coverage of online and print resources is provided for both state and federal law. The text is process-oriented to promote efficient research strategies.
- Minnesota Corporation Law & Practice – Now in its third edition, this comprehensive desk reference to corporation law in Minnesota is essential for business paralegals. Chapters include coverage of all major corporate transactions as well as less-encountered corporate business needs, contrasted with Delaware corporation law. Also included is a CD-ROM with over 75 useful forms.
- Minnesota Employment Laws – Paralegals working in litigation are likely to encounter cases involving employment law, making this a useful desk reference. This text includes summaries as well as the text of Minnesota laws governing employment relationships. The e-book version includes active links to relevant resources and statutes.
- Davenport’s Minnesota Wills and Estate Planning Legal Forms – Of particular interest to family law and probate paralegals, this guide to using estate planning forms in Minnesota provides fillable downloads of the ten most-used forms. The forms, written by practicing attorneys, can save paralegals valuable time and can also be modified as needed.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Minnesota
- Minnesota Paralegal Association – Regularly lists paralegal jobs in Minnesota on its jobs board.
- Minnesota Board of Public Defense Those interested in Minnesota government paralegal jobs may wish to visit this employment portal.
- Minnesota State Bar Association – Its Bench & Bar journal is another great source of paralegal jobs in Minnesota.
- Paralegal411 jobs board – For even more Minnesota paralegal jobs, be sure to visit our jobs board.
Minnesota Court Info
- MNCourts.gov – The home page of the Minnesota Judicial Branch includes links to all state courts as well as court forms and e-filing systems. Site visitors can also access case records, procedures, and other helpful reference materials such as court calendars and news of interest.
Law Libraries in Minnesota
- Minnesota State Law Library – Based in St. Paul, the Minnesota State Law Library collections encompass state, regional, federal, and periodical publications as well as reference texts and briefs. The library serves members of the state judicial system, legal professionals, and the general public. The archive for the appellate courts available through the website is updated twice weekly.
- University of Minnesota Law School Law Library – Located in Minneapolis, the law library at the University of Minnesota Law Library is open to legal professionals for research during circulation desk hours. Borrowing privileges for circulating materials may be extended on request to licensed attorneys. In addition to an expansive print collection, the library also offers access to select electronic databases and electronic collections.
Paralegal Associations in Minnesota
- Minnesota Paralegal Association – The Minnesota Paralegal Association is an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). This large association hosts a full meeting calendar with events dedicated to sections of paralegal practice, continuing education opportunities, and more. There are multiple levels of membership, with discounted membership rates for students.
- Red River Valley Paralegal Association – Serving Western Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota, this paralegal association seeks to promote the use of paralegal professionals while encouraging the professional development of its membership. The association was founded in 1981 and is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Annual dues are $60 for voting members, $45 for associate members, and $20 for student members.
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, Minnesota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mn.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/