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Minnesota Paralegal Career and Salary Guide

find information about how to become a paralegal in the state, paralegal salary and job outlook information, 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
How to Become a Paralegal in Minnesota
Paralegal Certification
Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Paralegal Resources

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. In addition, it is typical for prospective paralegals to gain experience in the field, often through internships. Some employers may also offer on-the-job training; many paralegals begin as legal document preparers or legal assistants before working up the career ladder.

1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.

Earning a degree in the paralegal field can help accelerate the process of finding a career as a paralegal. An associate degree or bachelor’s degree, or a certificate from a Minnesota paralegal school, can help build the necessary skills and experience an applicant will need to be hired. Five Minnesota schools offering paralegal education programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).1

2. Gain experience.

Gaining experience in the field is crucial to starting a paralegal career. Many paralegal programs have internships included in their curricula, which is a common way to begin networking in the field and gaining exposure to legal assistant duties. Some aspiring paralegals who are hired without paralegal education are able to receive on-the-job training to prepare them for their new roles.

3. Seek certification, if desired.

While the state of Minnesota does not require special certification to begin a career as a paralegal, voluntary certification can be attractive to potential employers and may offer the opportunity to specialize in legal areas of interest, which can help you stand out as an applicant.

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. Upon completion of a formal paralegal degree program, many prospective paralegals also seek voluntary national certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), or the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI). See our Steps to Become a Paralegal page for more information on national certification options.

Minnesota Certification

Though there are no requirements for paralegal certification in Minnesota, the Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA) has instituted a voluntary program for those who wish to become a Minnesota Certified Paralegal (MnCP). Eligibility for the MnCP credential is based on a combination of experience and education. For example, candidates with four years of substantive paralegal experience and an associate degree from an ABA-approved institution qualify, and so do candidates with two years of experience and a bachelor’s degree from an ABA-approved institution. You can find more information on requirements and the application process on the MPA’s website.

Minnesota Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook

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 Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP is one of the leading law firms in Minnesota and practices in a wide range of legal subjects. Dorsey & Whitney LLP is another large business law firm based in Minneapolis, specializing in litigation, contracts, and mergers. These firms and others may offer 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. Government agencies may also provide Minnesota paralegal jobs for new paralegals wishing to explore an alternate work environment. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Minnesota or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Minnesota with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:

  • Fish & Richardson P.C.
  • Robert Half
  • State of Minnesota
  • Target
  • University of Minnesota
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo

For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.

Minnesota Paralegal Salary Information

Projected Job Growth

13.3%

Paralegals in Minnesota from 2018-20282

As law firms and corporations seek to lower their expenses, paralegal and legal assistant positions are expected to expand, with tasks previously assigned to attorneys being reassigned to paralegal support staff.2 As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 5,350 paralegals and legal assistants working in Minnesota.3 According to Projections Central, a 13.3% job growth rate for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2018 to 2028, which exceeds the average projected growth rate of paralegal positions across the US for the same time period (12%).2 This growth translates to 670 new paralegal jobs added in Minnesota over this time period.2

The average Minnesota paralegal salary was reported at $58,270 in 2020, which is above the national average paralegal salary of $56,610.3 The average annual paralegal wage in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area was reported at $61,130 in May 2020, which is more competitive than the average paralegal salary in Minnesota.3 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 by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Duluth MN-WI150$49,530
Fargo ND-MN170$53,310
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI4,140$61,130
Rochester130$48,160
St. Cloud150$52,720

Paralegal Resources

Paralegal Associations in Minnesota

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.

  • Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA): An affiliate of tNFPA that hosts a full meeting calendar with events dedicated to sections of paralegal practice, continuing education opportunities, and more.
  • Red River Valley Paralegal Association (RRVPA): Serving western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, RRVPA is an affiliate of NALA seeking to promote the use of paralegal professionals in law offices while encouraging the professional development of its members.

Additional Resources

References:
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://www.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