Mississippi Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
Our career guide is your starting point for finding out how to become a paralegal in Mississippi. Certification is not required to become a paralegal here, but many individuals choose to complete a paralegal studies program and gain on-the-job experience to be more competitive in the job market. Voluntary certification is also possible through national organizations. On this page, you will find information about paralegal salaries in Mississippi, the state job outlook for legal assisting careers, 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
- How to Become a Paralegal in Mississippi
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Mississippi
Mississippi does not regulate the paralegal profession, so paralegals and legal assistants may have a combination of paralegal education, experience, and on-site training at law firms or corporations. Most employers offering entry-level paralegal jobs in Mississippi prefer candidates with paralegal education or experience, though those who have not attended a Mississippi paralegal program may be able to enter the profession by beginning as a legal secretary or legal document preparer. Prospective paralegals should also note that pursuing voluntary certification can enhance their career prospects.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Mississippi paralegal programs, including certificate, associate, and bachelor’s programs, can increase your knowledge of the legal system and teach you the skills required to be successful in the paralegal profession. There are Mississippi paralegal programs offered throughout the state, and the American Bar Association (ABA) has approved two of them.1
2. Gain experience.
Prospective paralegals can gain experience through job shadowing, internships, or other on-the-job experiences available through paralegal studies programs. If your program does not offer a work experience component, look for opportunities through paralegal associations or other networks. Work experience can help build your professional network when you are ready to job search.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Voluntary paralegal certification through a national organization requires the completion of a paralegal education program and can set you apart from other candidates for paralegal jobs.
Paralegal Certification in Mississippi
Current state law does not require Mississippi paralegal certification to work as a paralegal or perform legal support tasks. Mississippi law requires that non-lawyer assistants must be supervised by a lawyer and act in a professional and ethical manner. Those interested in building a legal assisting career are highly encouraged to seek paralegal certification through a national paralegal association such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association); the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); or the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI). These organizations offer voluntary certification examinations that assess legal knowledge and ability. You can read more about national certification on our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Mississippi Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Though many different types of organizations 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 many areas of law across a broad range of industries, such as construction, education, and manufacturing. Another large firm based in Mississippi is Merkel & Cocke, PA. With four offices located throughout the state, Merkel & Cocke specializes in complex litigation and is one of the largest plaintiff personal injury law firms in the state.
Those seeking corporate paralegal jobs in Mississippi may look for opportunities in legal departments of companies such as Sta-Home Health & Hospice, Merit Health Central, and Cal-Maine Foods. Government agencies also require paralegal support and may provide good opportunities for recently graduated paralegals seeking job experience. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Mississippi or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Mississippi with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Baker Donelson
- Butler Snow LLP
- Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP
- Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson & Tardy LLC
- Phelps Dunbar LLP
- University of Mississippi
- The University of Southern Mississippi
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Mississippi Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Mississippi from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 1,680 paralegals and legal assistants working in Mississippi.3 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. Projections Central has projected an employment growth rate of 2.5% for paralegals and legal assistants in the state from 2018 to 2028, which is slower than the nationwide estimate for that time period.2
The average paralegal salary in Mississippi was reported at $48,240 in 2020.3 Though this average annual wage is lower than the national median wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $56,610, it likely reflects the relatively lower cost of living throughout the state.3 Additionally, Mississippi paralegal salary tends to be higher in urban areas. Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula paralegals, for example, earn an average salary of $54,280.4 Paralegals who have completed paralegal education or have work experience may be able to command higher salaries as well. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in December 2021.
Mississippi Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
Paralegal Associations in Mississippi
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.
- Mississippi Paralegal Association (MPA): Advocates to advance the paralegal profession and the use of legal support staff in Mississippi and offers regular professional development and networking meetings.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: To search for paralegal openings in Mississippi, visit our jobs board.
- State Law Library of Mississippi: Provides public access to Mississippi General Laws, House & Senate Journals as well as local laws in the state.
- State of Mississippi Judiciary: Maintains a main web portal for all courts in the state’s jurisdiction with directories for all the courts, the most current versions of Mississippi laws, and additional electronic resources.
- University of Mississippi Grisham Law Library: Hosts a premier collection of legal materials, includingprimary and secondary legal sources in Mississippi law; study aids and exams; and electronic access to legal databases and e-journals.
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, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm