Become a Paralegal in Louisiana

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that paralegals nationwide will grow by 18 percent between the 2010 and 2020, and there are opportunities across the state of Louisiana. BLS statistics show that, as of May 2012, Louisiana has 3,850 paralegals and legal assistants, and the average yearly salary for those in these professions in the state is $42,370. However, since many paralegals work overtime, their salary can be as high as $60,170; in contrast, freelance paralegals who work only part time may show earnings as low as $23,630. The better-paying jobs are going to those who have at least an associate degree or, even better, a bachelor’s degree.

*Whether you’re looking to earn an undergraduate degree in preparation for the Certified Paralegal Exam, or ready to advance your career with a master's degree in legal studies, accredited online programs make it easier than ever to get the education you need:

Washington University School of Law offers an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program. This 12-month master's degree allows paralegals to gain in-depth knowledge of US Law. The program can be completed without relocating or leaving your job. No GRE or LSAT scores required.

Paralegal Certification

Paralegal certification in Louisiana is voluntary as the state of Louisiana does not have a legal definition for paralegals or legal assistants. However, in 1996 the Louisiana State Paralegal Association initiated the Louisiana Certified Paralegal exam as a means to establish professional standards and promote recognition of the paralegal profession in the state of Louisiana.

To receive a Louisiana Certified Paralegal certificate you need to sit for both the Louisiana Certified Paralegal (LCP) exam and the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). You must a Certified Legal Assistant at the time you take the LCP exam or meet the alternative requirements outlined on the Louisiana State Paralegal Association’s LCP certification information webpage.

Louisiana Paralegal Programs

Louisiana schools offers numerous programs for aspiring paralegals, some of which are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Louisiana

Paralegal Certificates

  • Tulane University

    Located in New Orleans, Tulane University’s School of Continuing Education offers multiple programs in paralegal studies. Its Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in paralegal studies consists of 27 credit hours in paralegal studies. Many of the students in this program are already working as paralegals. The normal completion time, based on a typical course load of six credits per semester, is 22 months.

    • Estimated tuition: $8,154 (based on 2011-2012 per credit hour fees)
    • Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree from an accredited college
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On-campus

    Sample courses required:

    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing
    • Litigation
    • Employment Law (or other PARA 4000 series)
    • Paralegal Practicum
  • Louisiana State University

    Louisiana State University (LSU), located in Baton Rouge, offers the only non-credit paralegal certificate program in Louisiana. Most paralegal classes are held at night for the convenience of students already working. A student can enroll in the full-time program and graduate in a year or enroll in the part-time program and take up to 2 1/2 years to graduate.

    • Estimated tuition: $4,835; most classes are $495 each (based on 2013 LSU information)
    • Prerequisites: A bachelor’s degree, or at least 45 semester hours of college credit from an accredited college or university (remedial courses do not count) with at least a 2.3 grade point average and passage of an entrance exam
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On-campus

    Sample Courses Required:

    • Principals of Paralegal Studies
    • Legal Research
    • Legal Case Analysis
    • Civil Litigation I
    • Court Day
    • Administrative Law (or other electives)

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Baton Rouge Community College

    Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC), a two-year community college, offers an associate degree program in paralegal studies that is both accessible and affordable, while providing students with courses that prepare them to assist attorneys. This program requires 60 credit hours to graduate and is not designed to be for college transfer.

    • Estimated tuition: $6,376 for state residents; $10,140 for out-of-state residents (based on 2013-2014 per credit hour fee)
    • Prerequisites: High School Transcript, GED or at least 12 college credit hours
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On-Campus

    Sample Course Requirements:

    • Introduction to Criminal Justice
    • Introduction to Paralegal Studies
    • American Government
    • Constitutional Law
    • Litigation
    • Introduction to Legal Writing
  • Herzing University

    Herzing University’s New Orleans campus in Kenner, located on the south side of Lake Pontchartrain, is just minutes west of New Orleans. This university emphasizes small classes for more personal attention in the classroom. Its Associate and Associate of Applied Science in legal assisting/paralegal requires 63 credit hours and is normally completed in 20 months.

    • Per credit hour: $550
      Tuition for a semester: $6,280
    • Prerequisites: High School Transcript, GED or HSED
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association
    • Format: On-campus/Hybrid (All paralegal classes must be taken in a traditional classroom)

    Sample courses required:

    • Business Law
    • Introduction to Legal Assisting
    • Torts
    • Family Law
    • Civil Litigation
    • General Education Courses in English, speech, math and humanities
  • Herzing University admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

  • Nunez Community College (NCC)

    NCC, located in Chalmette, Louisiana, is a two-year community college. It allows students to earn an Associate of Arts in paralegal studies in 60 credit hours.

    • Estimated tuition: $6,512 for state residents; $12,892 for out-of-state residents (based on 2013-2014 figures for four semesters). The fist six credit hours cost the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.
    • Prerequisites: High School Diploma or GED; ACT scores (if the ACT was taken within the past three years)
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Online/On-campus

    Sample courses required:

    • Litigation
    • Legal Research
    • Case Analysis
    • Evidence
  • Tulane University

    Tulane University‘s Associate of Arts in paralegal studies program involves 60 credit hours, 30 of which are related to the paralegal field, followed by an internship. This program is recommended for students with little or no college experience, as it allows those who desire further education to easily continue their studies in the school’s bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies. This institution offers job placement assistance and has a paralegal lending library where aspiring paralegals can check out materials pertaining to career development and legal practice.

    • Estimated tuition: $19,320 (based on 2013-2014 per credit hour fees)
    • Prerequisites: Open admission policy, requiring an approved high school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample courses required:

    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing
    • Litigation
    • Computers in the Law Firm

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Herzing University

    In addition to its associate’s degree program for aspiring paralegals, Herzing University’s New Orleans campus in Kenner, Louisiana offers a Bachelor of Science in legal studies. This course of study requires 126 semester credit hours and prepares students for careers in positions such as paralegal, law office manager and paralegal manager.

    • Per credit hour: $550
      Tuition for a semester: $6,280
    • Prerequisites: High School Transcript, GED, or HSED
    • ABA Approved: Yes (Note: if you choose to take online classes the degree will NOT be ABA approved)
    • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association
    • Format: On-campus/online (All paralegal classes must be taken in a traditional classroom)

    Sample of courses required:

    • Torts
    • Contract Law
    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Writing
    • Ethics and Paralegal Professionalism
  • Herzing University admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

  • Tulane University

    Tulane University’s Bachelor of Arts in paralegal studies program involves 120 credit hours and includes a 100-hour internship. Students can take advantage of the school’s career placement services, as well as its paralegal lending library.

    • Estimated Tuition: $38,640 (based on 2013-2014 per credit hour fees)
    • Prerequisites: Open admission policy, requiring an approved high school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On-campus

    Sample of courses required:

    • Legal Research
    • Legal writing
    • Litigation
    • Computers in the law firm

Associations for Louisiana Paralegals

  • The Louisiana Paralegal Association was organized to advance and improve the paralegal profession within the state of Louisiana. Since certification is voluntary in Louisiana, members of this organization got together with attorneys and other legal professionals to design a certification exam that would increase the standards of the profession and still leave paralegals in control of their own careers.
  • The New Orleans Paralegal Association is a non-profit association dedicated the advancement of paralegal professionals.
  • The Baton Rouge Paralegal Association is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the state. It provides opportunities for continuing education and networking and is active in the legal community.
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