North Dakota Paralegal Career Guide
Our paralegal career guide is designed to help you learn how to become a paralegal in North Dakota. Here you will find information on paralegal salary in North Dakota as well as job outlook, career resources, and more. Start your paralegal career journey using the directory below.
Table of Contents:
- Paralegal Careers
- Job Outlook in North Dakota
- Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Certification
- Career Quick Start Tips – How to Become a Paralegal in North Dakota
- Additional Paralegal Resources
Law firms continue to be the largest employers of paralegals and legal assistants nationwide, though corporations, banks, and government agencies are expected to increase paralegal hiring over the next decade. Large regional law firms based in urban centers furnish the greatest number of paralegal jobs in North Dakota. Many of these firms delegate labor based upon legal subject, so these firms may provide promising opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants interested in specializing in a particular area of law. Ebeltoft Sickler Lawyers PLLC is an established law firm based in Dickinson that is known for its positive employee relations. The firm’s practice areas include real estate, litigation, personal planning, and business solutions, among several others. Vogel Law Firm is the largest law firm in northwestern Minnesota and North Dakota, with offices in Fargo, Bismarck, and Williston. Vogel has achieved a reputation for integrity and success within several areas including employment law, secured transactions, securities, and franchising.
Another source of paralegal jobs in North Dakota is internal legal departments within corporations based in the state. These positions offer different challenges and a distinct work environment and may be interesting for paralegals seeking a more corporate work environment. Large corporations based in North Dakota include Bobcat Company, Great River Energy, American State Bank & Trust, and Butler Machinery Company. Government agencies also require paralegal support and frequently post North Dakota paralegal jobs at the local, state, and federal levels.
Job Outlook in North Dakota
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in North Dakota from 2016-20261
In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were 590 paralegals and legal assistants employed throughout North Dakota, a notable increase over the 360 paralegals and legal assistants counted in May 2012.2 The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% job growth for paralegals and legal assistants across the US from 2016 to 2026.3 This projection is higher than the corresponding average employment growth projections for all US occupations (7%) and for all other legal occupations (11%).3 The higher job growth rate for paralegals can be attributed to national trends: As law firms seek to minimize expenses, hiring trends are expected to shift away from attorney hiring in favor of less costly paralegal labor. Corporations also seeking to reduce the cost of legal services are expected to invest more heavily in internal legal departments as opposed to seeking more costly outside counsel. Positive growth for paralegal jobs in North Dakota is also expected based on these trends, with an anticipated job growth rate of 16% from 2016 to 2026.1
North Dakota Paralegal Salary Outlook
The average North Dakota paralegal salary was reported at $46,220 in 2017.2 This average annual wage is below the national median wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $53,910 but is likely based in part on the lower cost of living in the state.2 Additionally, the average paralegal salary in North Dakota is higher in the central part of the state, with Bismarck-area paralegals earning an average salary of $53,650.2 As new positions are added, more competitive salary offers may be on the horizon for qualified applicants.
North Dakota Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area
An overview of North Dakota paralegal salary by metro area:
|Metro Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Grand Forks ND-MN||90||$45,570|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4
Paralegal Certification in North Dakota
Paralegals in North Dakota are categorized as legal paraprofessionals and are authorized to perform legal tasks under the supervision of a qualified attorney. Currently, there are no requirements for North Dakota paralegal certification for those wishing to work as paralegals. Though the American Bar Association (ABA) has not approved any of the available North Dakota paralegal programs, there are many options for those wishing to pursue paralegal education. Programs are offered at several paralegal schools in North Dakota, including technical or trade schools and community colleges. Prospective paralegals and legal assistants may also choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, legal studies, or a related field. Additionally, paralegals and legal assistants who have already completed a college-level degree may pursue a paralegal certificate from one of the North Dakota paralegal programs. Online programs in North Dakota and other states are also available.
North Dakota Certification
Though North Dakota paralegal certification is not required, attending a formal paralegal training program is a smart career move. For students attending paralegal programs that have not been formally approved by the American Bar Association, post-degree certification programs are especially important. National organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offer optional certification programs designed to establish a national standard of proficiency for paralegals. Candidates should also consult the North Dakota paralegal associations listed below for more information regarding paralegal and legal assistant employment and education.
Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in North Dakota
Most prospective paralegals and legal assistants begin their career path by seeking formal paralegal training and education through an accredited institution, such as one of the paralegal schools in North Dakota. Others may begin their careers as legal secretaries or legal document preparers and move up the career ladder. Education, experience, and voluntary national certification can combine to make applicants more competitive for available positions. You can learn more about national certification on our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal. You can also view typical requirements for paralegal jobs in North Dakota on our jobs board.
As a paralegal, you will support the success of your firm and be positioned to make a difference in people’s lives. Part of a paralegal’s success is driven by having the right resources available when they are needed. The following resources for North Dakota paralegals can help you set yourself apart.
North Dakota Paralegal Career Books
- Basic Legal Writing for Paralegals – Legal writing is one of the most common tasks assigned to paralegals, making mastery of this skill an important foundation for a successful paralegal career. This text discusses the fundamentals as well as the finer points of legal writing and includes an overview of commonly accepted citation styles.
- Family Law for Paralegals – Family law is a major area of practice, especially in more rural areas. This text provides paralegals with a basic understanding of family law as it applies to common paralegal tasks, including drafting common documents such as wills and trusts.
- Cases and Materials on Oil and Gas Law – As North Dakota assumes a more prominent position in the domestic energy economy, paralegals are likely to encounter cases dealing with oil and gas law. This compendium of major cases and overview of common laws regulating oil and gas ownership, title, and extraction can help paralegals form a better understanding of this area of practice.
Paralegal Job Search Websites for North Dakota
- State Bar of Association of North Dakota Career Center – This career center is a good source for finding North Dakota paralegal jobs.
- Paralegal411 jobs board – You can also find paralegal jobs in North Dakota on our jobs board.
North Dakota Court Info
- NDCourts.gov – The North Dakota Supreme Court website contains links to all other courts in the state system. On this site visitors can access court dockets, forms, and rules. Links to e-filing systems and legal research resources are also provided.
Law Libraries in North Dakota
- North Dakota Supreme Court Law Library – The North Dakota Supreme Court Law Library is based in Bismarck and is open to legal professionals and the public. Its collections focus on general reference and legislative research. The library also offers interlibrary loan services through partner libraries.
- University of North Dakota School of Law Thormodsgard Law Library – The Thormodsgard Law Library is located on the University of North Dakota main campus in Grand Forks. Its collections are open to legal professionals and the general public. In addition to comprehensive print collections in state and American law, the library provides access to various electronic legal research databases.
Paralegal Associations in North Dakota
- Red River Valley Paralegal Association – The Red River Valley Paralegal Association serves paralegals in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota and is divided into two regions, based out of Grand Forks and Fargo. The association was founded in 1982 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.
- Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants – Established in 1984, the Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). The association provides its members with networking and professional development opportunities throughout the year. Annual dues are $50 for active members, $45 for associate 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, North Dakota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nd.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/