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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
Salary by Metro Area
Paralegal Certification
Certification in Minnesota
Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Minnesota
Additional Paralegal Resources
Minnesota Paralegal Career Books
Paralegal Job Search Websites
Minnesota State Court Info
Law Libraries in Minnesota
Paralegal Associations in Minnesota

Paralegal Careers

Though government agencies, banks, and corporations are hiring 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 and has been named as one of the best law firms for women by the National Association for Female Executives and Flex-Time Lawyers. This firm practices in a wide range of legal subjects and requires a large degree of paralegal support, 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

10.4%

Paralegals in Minnesota from 2012-20221

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. In May 2014, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 17% job growth rate for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2012 to 2022.2 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.2 The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has projected lower, though still positive, growth in Minnesota paralegal jobs of 10.4% from 2012 to 2022.1 This translates to 1,230 paralegal job openings over the period, the majority of which are expected to come from replacement openings.1

Minnesota Paralegal Salary Outlook

As of May 2014, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,170 paralegals and legal assistants working in Minnesota.3 This represents a notable increase over the 4,100 paralegals and legal assistants working in the state as of 2012.3 The average Minnesota paralegal salary was reported at $52,640 in 2014, slightly above the national average paralegal salary of $51,840.3,4 The average annual paralegal wage in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area was reported at $55,240 in May 2014, which is more competitive than the average paralegal salary in Minnesota.4 As the occupation expands, average annual salaries are expected 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 AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Duluth110$45,840
Mankato-North Mankato70$44,030
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI4,190$55,240
Rochester140$43,880
St. Cloud160$36,460

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

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).

Minnesota Certification

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.

Paralegal Resources

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 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.

References:
1. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: https://mn.gov/deed/data/data-tools/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2014 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-6
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,
Minnesota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mn.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
5. American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/