While the overall population of Minnesota isn’t very large, this state still experiences its fair share of legal issues. For instance, there are 135,303 crimes on average committed in a given year in Minnesota. Like many states, law firms and lawyers in Minnesota choose to hire paralegals to better meet the legal needs of their clients.
Working as a paralegal can be a very rewarding career decision, provided you follow the correct steps for entering the profession. If you choose the right degree and become certified, you can embark on your paralegal career.
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How to Become a Paralegal in Minnesota
- Certification: Certification is voluntary in Minnesota. It is a good idea, however, to apply for certification with the Minnesota Paralegal Association.
- Age: 18 years or older.
- Licensure: There are no licenses for paralegal practice in Minnesota.
- Degree: An associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is recommended, but not required by the state of Minnesota.
- Experience: The right amount of work experience will make you a more attractive candidate for Minnesota law firms. In addition, the Minnesota Paralegal Association requires experience if you are seeking certification.
- Citizenship: If you are a US citizen or a legal alien, you can become a paralegal in Minnesota.
- Records Check: You will usually be required to undergo a background check before you will be employed as a paralegal in a Minnesota law firm.
- Ethics: Those belonging to a paralegal professional organization will need to follow the ethical and professional guidelines of the organization.
Certification Process in Minnesota
Although it is true that you are not required to become a certified legal in Minnesota, it can be useful to your career to become certified by the Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA). The MPA will grant you the title of Minnesota Certified Paralegal (MnCP) provided you meet one of the following requirements:
- An ABA approved paralegal studies associate’s degree and four years of work experience.
- An ABA approved paralegal studies baccalaureate degree and two years of work experience.
- A bachelor’s degree in any discipline, an ABA approved paralegal certificate and two years of work experience.
- A bachelor’s degree and four years of work experience.
- A PACE registered paralegal.
- A CORE registered paralegal or a Certified Paralegal (CP) with the National Association of Legal Assistants.
- Ten years of work experience and a high school diploma.
Degrees Related to Paralegals
While some paralegals have a degree in an unrelated discipline, most successful paralegals will have a paralegal studies degree or certificate from a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). A paralegal studies degree will impart all the knowledge and skills you need to work as a paralegal, including legal writing and legal research.
Major Cities in Minnesota
- Minneapolis is the largest Minnesota city and has 400,070 residents.
- Near Minneapolis is St. Paul, the second largest city. It has a population of 294,873.
- Duluth is home to 86,128 Minnesotans and is the third largest city.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Minnesota?
Paralegals are responsible for many of the day to day tasks that law firms rely on for continued to success. A typical paralegal may be responsible for finding and reviewing evidence, speaking with people involved in a legal case, writing legally binding documents and submitting exhibits and other documents to a court.
A few of the careers that are most closely related to paralegals include legal secretaries, claims adjusters and legal assistants.
Employment Numbers in Minnesota
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 5,070 paralegals working in Minnesota in May of 2015.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary Ranges in Minnesota
Paralegals who choose to work in Minnesota can receive an annual mean salary of $53,960.
Minnesota Related Organizational Links
Education Programs for Paralegals in Minnesota
- Master of Divinitiy - Law Studies
- Master of Business Administration in International Legal Studies
- Master of Business Administration in American Legal Studies