Although Hawaii is isolated and small, its citizens still experience their fair share of legal issues. This is why many people in Hawaii looking for a fruitful career will choose to become a paralegal. When you work as a paralegal, you will be responsible for many important legal tasks, and will work directly with attorneys and assist them with cases.
Due to the fact that Hawaii has no set requirements for becoming a paralegal, you will enter this career under your own direction. If you follow the right steps, you can successfully become a paralegal and gain employment at a Hawaiian law firm.
How to Become a Paralegal in Hawaii
- Certification: Hawaii has not established a requirement for paralegal certification.
- Age: You should be over the age of 18 before starting paralegal work.
- Licensure: You do not need a license to work as a paralegal in Hawaii.
- Degree: Earning a degree can make it easier for you to find employment. You should consider enrolling in a paralegal studies degree program that has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
- Experience: Many Hawaii law firms will offer on the job paralegal training. However, you may also gain experience during your degree, which may contain an internship, or by volunteering with a law firm.
- Citizenship: You should live in Hawaii and be a US citizen or legal alien.
- Criminal History: It is possible for your employer to request that you undergo a background check, although it is not required.
- Ethics: Paralegals should abide by the ethical standards for working in the legal field.
Certification Process in Hawaii
You do not need a paralegal certification to work as a paralegal in Hawaii. That being said, becoming certified at the national level can improve your chance of being hired by a top law firm. There are several national organizations that certify paralegals, with the most common being the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
With NALA, you can be certified through an exam and receive the Certified Paralegal (CP) designation or you can enroll in a curriculum and receive the Advanced Paralegal Certification (APC).
Degrees Related to Paralegals
Becoming a paralegal is easier when you choose the right degree or certificate program. Usually, you would enroll in a paralegal studies program, which will cover such subjects as legal research, legal writing and applications that are necessary to paralegal work. A criminal justice degree can also be useful, although it may leave out subjects important to paralegals.
Major Cities in Hawaii
- The majority of Hawaiians live in Honolulu County, which has a population of 983,429.
- Mililani has a population of 48,668 and is Hawaii’s second largest city.
- A close third is Pearl City, whose residents number 47,698.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Hawaii?
As with paralegals in every other state, paralegals in Hawaii will assist attorneys with legal matters. This is mostly centered around commonplace legal tasks like writing contracts and other documents, doing research like reading court transcripts, contacting persons involved in legal issues and filing important documents with the court. Paralegals can often assist an attorney in court, if necessary.
Any career where you perform legal tasks in support of an attorney is related to paralegal work. This can include legal assistants, claims adjusters and, occasionally, legal secretaries.
Employment Numbers in Hawaii
The number of paralegals working in Hawaii in 2015 was 1,020, which is based on the most recently collected numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary Ranges in Hawaii
The average mean annual salary for a paralegal employed in Hawaii is $47,570.