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Ohio Paralegal Career Guide

Our guide is designed to help those interested in careers as Ohio paralegals get started with up-to-date information on career outlooks, salary, and career resources. Here you will also find answers to common questions about how to become a paralegal in Ohio, including information about Ohio paralegal certification. Use the easy to navigate directory below to begin.

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

Paralegal Careers

The minimum requirement for paralegal jobs in Ohio is typically an associate’s degree. Candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for more senior paralegal positions. Though government agencies and private corporate legal departments require some paralegal support, law firms remain the primary employers of paralegals nationwide. Large law firms based in Ohio include BakerHostetler in Cleveland and Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in Cincinnati. Both firms have a strong presence in the Midwest, employ over 400 attorneys, and sustain strong demand for paralegals. Additional firms with significant offices in Ohio include Frost Brown Todd LLC, Thompson Hine LLP, and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. Large offices such as these may be well-suited for paralegals wishing to pursue a specialty area of law, as large firms tend to practice in a variety of legal areas and may be more likely to dedicate paralegals to a specific area of practice. Corporate legal departments may also be in need of paralegal assistance, particularly in periods of corporate expansion, and may be a good fit for those interested in corporate law.

Job Outlook in Ohio

Projected Job Growth

5.6%

Paralegals in Ohio from 2016-20261

An estimated 7,820 paralegals and legal assistants work in Ohio.2 As employers seek to optimize the cost of providing legal services, law firms are expected to increase the proportion of support positions and continue to expand and diversify the tasks allocated to paralegals and legal assistants. The number of paralegal positions in Ohio is expected to increase in the next decade by 5.6%, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 15% national occupational growth rate for paralegals and legal assistants from 2016 to 2026.1,3 The national growth rate compares favorably to both the projected growth rate for legal positions (11%) and the average projected growth rate for all occupations (7%).2 Overall, the growth outlook for Ohio paralegal jobs remains positive as the profession continues to assume more substantial roles within law firms and legal departments and more positions for paralegals are created within these organizations.

Ohio Paralegal Salary Outlook

The average paralegal salary in Ohio is $48,310, which is lower than the national average paralegal salary of $53,910.2 The disparity in annual wage may reflect the overall lower cost of living in the state of Ohio. However, as is the case in most states, paralegals may command a higher salary in urban areas. Columbus paralegals make an average annual wage of $49,930, while Cleveland-area paralegals earn above the national average with an annual wage of $49,920.2 This creates a positive outlook for the average paralegal salary in Ohio, especially as job growth is projected to continue.

Individuals should also consider the impact that legal specializations and work environment can have on Ohio paralegal salaries. Those working for the government and public organizations may earn lower average salaries but may have more comprehensive benefits packages than those working in the private sector. In-demand legal specializations such as health care and intellectual property law may also boost paralegal salary. The key for prospective paralegals is to develop skills and experience in an area of law that is personally rewarding and satisfying.

Ohio Paralegal Salary Info By Metro Area

A quick look at Ohio paralegal salary by metro area:

Metro AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Akron430$49,430
Cincinnati1,350$53,040
Cleveland-Elyria2,630$49,920
Columbus1,790$49,930
Dayton470$50,890
Toledo400$45,200

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.4

Paralegal Certification in Ohio

Currently, the State of Ohio has issued no minimum educational requirements for those wishing to work as a paralegal under the supervision of an attorney. On-the-job training at legal firms or corporate legal departments may be sufficient to prepare individuals for paralegal-related tasks. However, most employers prefer candidates who have completed a paralegal degree program. American Bar Association-approved programs are preferred by some employers, though they are not generally required. The American Bar Association has approved 14 paralegal programs in Ohio.

Though there are not set standards for paralegals at the state level, the American Bar Association defines a paralegal or legal assistant as a professional who has knowledge of legal concepts and practical legal skills through education, training, or work experience. In a competitive job market, prospective Ohio paralegals who have a combination of education and experience – which may be earned through in-school internships – may gain an edge.

Ohio Certification

After completing a paralegal program, prospective paralegals may seek voluntary Ohio paralegal certification through the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), which offers an annual certification exam for those with sufficient work experience and education. National certification is also highly recommended and offered by three national professional paralegal associations: the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the Association for Legal Professionals (NALS).

Career Quick Start Tips — How to Become a Paralegal in Ohio

Since there are no statewide requirements for Ohio paralegal certification, those looking to start a paralegal career in the state may take one of many avenues to the legal professions. The majority of paralegals possess a combination of education and experience, which may be earned through internships or on-the-job training. Education can also be earned through completing one of the many paralegal programs in Ohio.

Though Ohio is not one of the states that require paralegals to be certified at the state level, voluntary certification is still a competitive move for legal professionals. Searching our jobs board for current paralegal jobs in Ohio can help you build an understanding of what employers are seeking from candidates. For an in-depth look at how to become a paralegal at the national level, visit the Paralegal411 guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.

Paralegal Resources

Paralegal careers can be personally rewarding and exciting. As a paralegal, you make a difference in the success of your firm. To be an outstanding paralegal, you must have the right resources when and where they are needed. These resources for Ohio paralegals can help you gain a competitive edge.

Ohio Paralegal Career Books

  • The Ohio Paralegal: Essential Rules, Documents, and Resources – Packed with resources specific to Ohio law, this book is useful for students as well as practicing paralegals. A comprehensive legal dictionary is included for quick look-up of legal terms.
  • Ohio Evidence Rules Courtroom Quick Reference – Updated annually, this reference book includes evidentiary rules for Ohio and the federal courts. Designed to be portable and available in ebook format, this book is a must-have for paralegals whose work involves case preparation for the courts.
  • Ohio Real Estate Law – Written by Carol Knowlton Irvin, a graduate of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, this guide is a handy reference to Ohio codes and statutes for real estate paralegals. This book includes illustrated case studies as well as online references.
  • The Ohio Notary Law Primer – As paralegals’ work frequently involves notary services, this quick guidebook to notary law in Ohio is a useful tool for checking procedures. Also included are suggested wording for notary acts, guides to identifying signatories, and recommended procedures for tracking notary acts.
  • Ohio Employment Laws – Essential for paralegals working in areas that touch upon employment law such as human resources, this guide to Ohio employment law is comprehensive while remaining accessible. Purchasers receive one year of free updates as well as a subscription to the online Employment Law Handbook.
  • Ohio Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle Handbook – Updated annually, this guide to the rules and statutes governing Ohio criminal law is indispensable for paralegals working in criminal defense or prosecution. Published as an ebook, this book includes references to LexisNexis, legislative highlights and substantive changes, and cross-references to other sources of law.

Paralegal Job Search Websites for Ohio

Ohio Court Info

  • SupremeCourt.Ohio.gov – The official website of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Ohio Judicial System includes professional links as well as links of interest for all courts within the state’s jursidiction. Resources on the site include Ohio laws, rules of professional conduct, and links to court e-filing systems.

Law Libraries in Ohio

  • Ohio Supreme Court Law Library – With a collection comprising nearly 500,000 volumes, the Ohio Supreme Court Law Library is one of the largest state Supreme Court libraries in the US. The library is located in Columbus, and both the physical and digital collections of the library are open to the general public.
  • Hamilton County Law Library – The Hamilton County Law Library is based in Cincinnati and offers subscriptions to lawyers and law firms for circulation of materials. Non-subscribers may use materials within the library but do not receive check out privileges. Librarians are available during business hours for legal research advice and assistance.
  • Moritz Law Library at The Ohio State University – The Moritz Law Library at The Ohio State University is the largest law library in Ohio and is open to the general public. As a member of the OhioLINK Consortium, this library can also request materials from all other member libraries in the state. Law firms and legal professionals may request a Law Courtesy Card to receive circulation privileges.

Paralegal Associations in Ohio

  • Cincinnati Paralegal Association – The Cincinnati Paralegal Association (CPA) is a nonprofit that promotes the paralegal profession and the individual development of paralegals. The CPA regularly hosts events including general meetings, pro bono services, continuing education opportunities, and networking dinners. Annual dues are $40 for active members and $10 for student members.
  • Cleveland Association of Paralegals, Inc. – Established in 1975, the Cleveland Association of Paralegals has over 160 members and a strong extended network through the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA). Members receive access to a members-only jobs board and a full calendar of networking and professional development events. In addition, members receive automatic membership in the CMBA and NFPA.
  • Dayton Bar Association – Since 1925, the Dayton Bar Association has promoted the various roles of lawyers and legal professionals in the Dayton community. The Association welcomes paralegals and paralegal students as members and also has a Paralegal Subcommittee. Members can participate in various interest groups and a referral service. Membership categories include attorney, legal administrator, law student, and paralegal student.
  • Paralegal Association of Central Ohio – Also known by its acronym of PACO and serving all of central Ohio, this paralegal association has been actively promoting the interests of paralegals and the legal professions since 1973. Events hosted by PACO include career development seminars, legal clinics, and retreats. Dues are $160 per year for active and associate members and $70 per year for student members.
  • Paralegal Association of Northwest Ohio – Based in Toledo, the Paralegal Association of Northwest Ohio was founded in 1977. Programs offered by the association include the PANO scholarship, continuing legal education, a jobs bank, and monthly luncheons. Annual dues are $50 for active and associate members and $10 for students.

References:
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, Ohio: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_oh.htm
5. American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/