Mississippi Paralegal Career Guide
Our career guide is your starting point for finding out how to become a paralegal in Mississippi. On this page, you will find information about paralegal salary in Mississippi, job outlook, and in-depth resources to help you explore a legal support career in the state. Start your career journey using the easy to navigate directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in Mississippi
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in Mississippi
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Though corporations, banks, and government agencies rely on legal support staff, law firms continue to be the primary employers of paralegals and legal assistants nationwide. Large law firms generally practice in a wide range of legal areas and allocate paralegals to subject-focused groups, which may create promising opportunities for paralegals interested in specializing in a specific area of law. Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC is one of the nation’s largest law firms with a substantial office operating out of Jackson. This firm practices in virtually every area of law across a broad range of industries. Another large firm based in Mississippi is Merkel & Cocke, PA. Based in Clarksdale, Merkel & Cocke specializes in complex litigation and is one of the largest plaintiff law firms in the state.
Those seeking corporate paralegal jobs in Mississippi may look for opportunities in legal departments of companies such as Tyson Foods Inc. and Howard Industries Inc. Government agencies also require paralegal support and may provide good opportunities for recently graduated paralegals seeking job experience.
Job Outlook in Mississippi
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Mississippi from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,760 paralegals and legal assistants working in Mississippi.2 As law firms seek to lower their expenses, tasks previously allotted to attorneys are likely to be delegated to paralegal support staff, expanding the responsibilities of the paralegal profession and the number of positions available. In addition, corporations are expected to invest in more cost-effective internal legal departments, creating paralegal jobs in Mississippi and beyond. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected an employment growth rate of 15% for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2016 to 2026.3 Projections call for 130 new paralegal jobs in Mississippi over the same time period, translating to a 7% job growth rate for in-state paralegals.1
Mississippi Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average paralegal salary in Mississippi was reported at $43,650 in 2017.2 Though this average annual wage is lower than the national median wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $53,910, this likely reflects the relatively lower cost of living throughout the state.2 Additionally, Mississippi paralegal salary tends to be higher in urban areas. Jackson paralegals, for example, earn an average salary of $49,160.2
Mississippi Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
An overview of paralegal salary in Mississippi by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in Mississippi
Current state law does not require Mississippi paralegal certification to work as a paralegal or perform legal support tasks. However, most employers prefer candidates with some formal paralegal education. Mississippi paralegal programs are offered throughout the state to prepare professionals for legal support careers. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved two paralegal programs in Mississippi. Many other paralegal schools in Mississippi offer programs that do not have ABA approval but may be accepted by employers as adequate preparation for entry-level positions. After completing a Mississippi paralegal program, individuals are highly encouraged to seek certification through a national paralegal association such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). These organizations offer voluntary certification examinations that assess legal knowledge and ability.
Currently, there are no Mississippi paralegal certification requirements. However, those who graduate from one of the paralegal schools in Mississippi may refer to themselves as “certificated” paralegals. Though not mandated by state law, voluntary national paralegal certification examinations such as those offered by NALA and the NFPA are generally accepted within the paralegal profession and can benefit paralegal and legal assistant candidates. For more information regarding paralegal education and employment within Mississippi, refer to the Mississippi paralegal associations listed below.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Mississippi
Mississippi state law does not regulate paralegal training and education and does not require Mississippi paralegal certification, meaning that paralegals and legal assistants may be trained on-site at law firms or corporations. Most entry-level paralegal jobs in Mississippi require a combination of education and experience, though those who have not attended one of the Mississippi paralegal programs may be able to climb the career ladder by beginning as a legal secretary or legal document preparer. You can get a better idea of the skills that Mississippi paralegal jobs typically require on our jobs board. Prospective paralegals should also note that pursuing voluntary certification can enhance their career prospects. You can read more about national certification on our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Paralegals can make a positive difference for the firms in which they work and for their firms’ clients. One key to success as a paralegal is having the right resources available when they are needed. These resources for Mississippi paralegals can help you get your career off to a bright start.
Mississippi Paralegal Career Books
- Legal Research and Writing for Paralegals – Mastery of legal research and writing is what sets successful paralegals apart from the competition. This guide provides comprehensive information on efficient legal research processes and professional legal writing practices in an easy-to-understand format. The text also covers legal citation and effective use of electronic resources for the paralegal.
- Fundamentals of Litigation for the Paralegal – This text takes paralegals through the legal process from the initial client consultation to the post-judgment phase, providing a helpful and in-depth understanding of the litigation process for those who wish to work in this area of law. The text has recently been updated to emphasize the role of technology in modern practice.
- Mississippi Landlord and Tenant Law: With Forms – This helpful guide to tenancies, leases, and laws governing the tenant-landlord relationship is helpful for paralegals working in litigation or contract law. The text covers tort liability, breaches and remedies, and much more. Also included are lease forms for various types of contracts both residential and commercial.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for Mississippi
- Mississippi Paralegal Association – The Mississippi Paralegal Association offers placement assistance to members seeking paralegal jobs in Mississippi.
- Paralegal411 jobs board – For more Mississippi paralegal jobs, be sure to check out our jobs board.
Mississippi Court Info
- Courts.MS.gov – The State of Mississippi Judiciary maintains a main web portal for all courts in the state’s jurisdiction. On this site, visitors will find directories for the courts, the most current versions of Mississippi laws, and additional electronic resources. The site also hosts a docket calendar and webcasts of oral arguments for the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
Law Libraries in Mississippi
- State Law Library of Mississippi – Located in the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson, the State Law Library of Mississippi is open to the general public. Many of the library’s materials are circulating. The library has particularly strong collections in Mississippi law, as well as English and Canadian court reports between 1801 and 1982 and federal documents since 1880.
- University of Mississippi Grisham Law Library – On the University of Mississippi’s main campus in Oxford, the Grisham Law Library hosts a premier collection of legal materials. In addition to a strong collection of primary and secondary legal sources in Mississippi law, the library has extensive holdings in federal and tax law. The library has extended evening hours during regular semesters.
Paralegal Associations in Mississippi
- Mississippi Paralegal Association – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the Mississippi Paralegal Association works to advance the paralegal profession and the use of legal support staff in Mississippi. The organization was founded in 1980 and holds regular professional development and networking meetings. Annual dues are $65 for voting members, $50 for non-voting members, and $25 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, Mississippi: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ms.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/