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Paralegal Schools in New Mexico

This guide to paralegal schools in New Mexico will provide you with the information you need to make a decision on where to pursue a paralegal degree or certificate. The colleges and universities in New Mexico offer a variety of programs to fit your personal interests and career goals and may also offer opportunities to earn a degree or certificate in specialty practice areas. As an alternative to traditional classroom study, you can also consider an online paralegal program.

Quick Facts

  • There are 9 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in New Mexico.1
  • 5 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 8 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • No schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • No schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • No schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs in 2018.3
  • No schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018.4
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
  • No not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in New Mexico.6

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

US News Best Law Schools 2019

  • University of New Mexico (#88 tie)

Paralegal Degree Programs in New Mexico

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Central New Mexico Community College

The Paralegal Studies program at Central New Mexico Community College (CNMCC) combines general education courses in business, technology, and communications with law-specific courses such as torts and civil litigation. The CNMCC program develops crucial professional skills through focused skill improvement courses such as legal research, methods of problem-solving, and college writing. This broad-based curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for a variety of professions by imparting a unique liberal arts perspective and strong critical thinking abilities. Students are also permitted to specialize their degrees through a selection of elective courses in accounting, criminal law, finance law, and a wide array of other topics. The capstone piece of the program is a mandatory internship component that allows students to contribute to a professional law office in the local area. Through this comprehensive and well-respected program, graduates are prepared to find entry-level paralegal positions.

New Mexico State University

At New Mexico State University, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies. The AAS degree requires the completion of 61 credit hours; the curriculum starts with general education courses before moving on to legal specialty classes. Required core courses include Criminal Law, Tort and Insurance, Litigation, and Wills, Trusts, and Probate. Students learn foundational knowledge about the American legal system as well as basic legal office and legal technology skills. Classwork emphasizes hands-on lessons in data analysis, investigation and interview methods, legal document drafting, and other common tasks paralegals do to support attorneys. After graduating from the AAS in Paralegal Studies program, students are eligible to sit for the Certified Paralegal Exam offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). New Mexico State University also offers a 29-credit Legal Assistant Certificate program. After completing the certificate program, students can choose to graduate and search for entry-level positions in the field or they can transfer all their academic credit toward the AAS program.

Online Paralegal Programs

Clovis Community College

Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Legal Assistant Studies through Clovis Community College. The legal assistant program is offered completely online and the 65-66 required credits usually take students two years (five semesters) to complete. With required courses such as Legal Writing, Terms, and Research; Criminal Procedures; Litigation; and Law Office Procedures, students learn the skills and knowledge necessary in the paralegal field. After completing the foundational curriculum, students can choose elective courses in legal subspecialty areas like contract, real estate, or bankruptcy law. Clovis Community College also offers a 30-credit Certificate of Completion in Legal Assistant Studies that can be completed over two semesters. Graduates from the legal assistant program are prepared to find and work in entry-level positions in businesses, private law firms, government agencies, and legal aid organizations.

University of New Mexico

The Continuing Education department at the University of New Mexico offers a flexible, hybrid online Paralegal Certificate program for students who have already completed a college-level degree in another field or who have considerable paralegal work experience and are looking to expand their educational background. In the hybrid online format, half of the credit hours are spent in-person meetings and half of the credit hours are completed fully online. Graduates of this program are competent in basic legal terminology, legal procedures, litigation assistantship, civil procedure, and professional conduct. Students are granted access to the considerable resources of University of New Mexico, including a large library, access to a courtroom, and access to and training in Westlaw, the leading online legal research tool. Upon completion of the program, students are able to pursue an optional internship and mentoring program at a local private law office or government agency.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Kiplinger’s Best College Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-public-colleges/index.php
3. Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs: https://www.paralegal411.org/degrees/bachelors/online/
4. College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/legal-studies-and-professions/rankings/top-ranked/
5. US News Best Law Schools 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
6. American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/