If you’re searching for a rewarding career in a growing field, becoming a paralegal in Maine might be just what you’re looking. According to an outlook by the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information, this profession is projected to experience a 9.4 percent growth in the state until the year 2022. Being a paralegal is a great option for those who are interested in pursuing a legal profession but don’t have the resources to become a lawyer.
Although certification isn’t necessary to become a paralegal in the state, there are certain qualifications that set the best candidates apart. To learn more about what’s required to become a paralegal in the state of Maine, read our outline below.
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How to Become a Paralegal in Maine
- Certification: Certification is not required in Maine, but the completion of national or state-level paralegal programs is highly recommended.
- Age: You must be at least 18 years of age.
- Licensure: Licensure is not required to be a paralegal in Maine.
- Degree: Obtaining a degree is not mandatory, but is encouraged.
- Experience: Many employers will not consider applicants without experience or training in the field. You may gain valuable experience through internships offered through Maine’s schools or by volunteering at a legal aid organization.
- Citizenship: U.S. citizenship or a legal immigrant status is required.
- Maine Revised Statute (MRS): According to the MRS, a paralegal must have the education or experience necessary to perform legal functions and work under the supervision of an attorney or corporation. Under the circumstances that you do not meet these qualifications yet present yourself as a paralegal in the state, you could be fined up to $1,000.
- Background Check: A background check is often required during hiring.
Certification Process in Maine
Although certification is not required, prospective candidates are encouraged to participate in a paralegal program at a two- or four-year school. Further qualification for a career in legal support may be obtained by way of national certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
Maine is one of several states without a state-specific paralegal association. Because of this, Maine residents are eligible for membership in associations in nearby states, along with national paralegal organizations. For individuals who are in a paralegal school in Maine, discounted memberships are often available.
Degrees Related to Paralegals
Maine does not currently have any paralegal programs with American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation. However, there are paralegal programs at several two- and four-year schools in Maine, which are usually accepted as adequate education for an entry-level position.
Major Cities in Maine
- Portland is the largest city in the state of Maine with a total of 66,318 residents, according to a 2013 census.
- The city with the second largest population is Lewiston with 36,437 people.
- Bangor is the third most populous city with an estimated 32,673 residents.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Maine?
- A paralegal in Maine may start out by preparing legal documents or may work as a legal secretary before gaining more responsibility.
- Many paralegals in Maine find work in law offices, corporations, government agencies and non-profits. There are many businesses in the state with a need for paralegal assistance.
- Paralegals will work under direct supervision of a licensed attorney and are strictly prohibited from representing clients or offering legal advice.
Legal secretaries often share similar job duties with entry-level paralegals. The role of a legal assistant is also very closely related to that of a paralegal.
Employment Numbers in Maine
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that an estimated 980 paralegals were working in Maine as of 2015.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary Ranges in Maine
The yearly average wage for paralegals in the state of Maine is roughly $45,410.