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Become a Paralegal in Minnesota

May 2012 reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed 4,490 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Minnesota with an hourly mean wage of $25.31 and an annual mean wage of a healthy $52,640. Paralegals who worked more overtime and those who were employed in specialty areas of the law or in firms where pay was higher made as much as $76,880.

When you combine these employment opportunities with a desirable location, things look even better. CNBC rated the state’s economy among the top 10 in the nation, and gave Minnesota the number three spot among all states when it comes to quality of life. In addition, CNN Money ranked Chanhassen, Minnesota, just a short drive from the bustling commerce of Minneapolis, as number four in the nation on its list of America’s Best Places to Live in 2013, citing it as one of the best small towns in the nation.

Paralegal Certification

There is currently no mandatory licensing or certification for paralegals in the state of Minnesota.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Minnesota

Paralegal Certificates

  • Hamline University

    Hamline University is a private, four-year institution that offers paralegal programs at its Saint Paul campus. This institution has been training paralegals since 1984, and current students have the advantage of being able to network with a large group of alumni. Hamline’s 32-credit paralegal certificate program is designed to give students a solid education in legal analysis, oral and written communication skills, a mastery of legal citation, an understanding of the latest technology, legal research skills and ethical understanding. The program is geared toward students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree, although undergraduate students at Hamline may pursue this certificate in addition to a bachelor’s degree.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $18,336 (based onv2013 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with 2.66 GPA or higher
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On-campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Systems in American Society
    • Legal Research and Writing
    • Litigation and Trial Practice
    • Business Law
  • North Hennepin Community College

    North Hennepin Community College‘s paralegal certificate program gives students knowledge of the legal process, the practice of law and the role of the paralegal, and prepares them to complete the practical tasks needed to assist attorneys. Students also learn to think critically and creatively, and develop interpersonal skills. Licensed attorneys serve as faculty, bringing valuable expertise to the learning experience. Classes are held primarily in the evening.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,448 (based on spring 2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Associate in Science, Associate in Arts orvbachelor’s degree or higher
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On-campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law & Paralegal Studies
    • Computer Application in the Legal Profession
    • Litigation I & II
    • Legal Research and Writing I & II

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Alexandria Technical & Community College (ATCC)

    Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) offers a paralegal Associate in Applied Science program that focuses on substantive law, legal procedures, and government. Students are trained in legal correspondence, research and writing, trial preparation, investigation, and interpersonal skills, as well as in advanced computer applications and practice-specific software.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $12,925 for on-campus students; $15,070 for online students (based on 2013-2014 tuition rates)
    • Prerequisites: High school transcript or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Format: On campus or online

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Office Procedures & Ethics
    • Critical Thinking in Society
    • Civil Litigation
    • Evidence, Exhibit Prep & Investigation
  • Inver Hills Community College

    Inver Hills Community College offers an Associate in Science paralegal program. This course of study combines liberal arts education with rigorous paralegal coursework: It requires 30 credits in liberal arts and 30 credits in paralegal courses. Students can complete the program in as little as 21 months or opt to stretch out their studies over a longer period of time. Graduates can transfer to a bachelor’s degree program or step into the workforce.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $9,540 (based on 2013 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High diploma, GED or the ability to benefit from the education offered
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus or online

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to the Law & Contracts
    • UCC & Business Organizations
    • Criminal Justice System
    • Litigation and Trial Practice
    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing and Analysis
  • Lake Superior College (LSC)

    Located in Duluth, Lake Superior College (LSC) has the second-lowest tuition among the 32 state colleges and universities in Minnesota. It offers an Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies that’s designed to equip students with knowledge of legal terminology, the American legal system and state and federal court rules and procedures. Student learn to conduct interviews and factual investigations and draft legal documents and correspondence, as well as gain an understanding of legal principles and procedures in specialty areas. They also develop a portfolio of professional skills and knowledge in the paralegal field.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $10,174 for state residents; out-of-state students should check for reciprocity agreements (based on 2013-2014 annual tuition)
      Requirements: High school diploma, GED, High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) or passage of placement test under the “Ability to Benefit” standard
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Computers in the Law Office
    • Legal Studies I: Terminology & Procedures
    • Legal Studies II: Introduction to Research
    • Business Law – An Introduction

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Minnesota State University Moorhead

    Minnesota State University Moorhead offers a Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies that combines an emphasis on writing and research with a strong core of legal courses designed to give the graduate a firm understanding of the law and how it relates to paralegal duties. Students complete a core program and can opt to focus on commercial law, elder law and probate or litigation. They benefit from small class sizes, a law library, mandatory internships (which can increase job opportunities following graduation) and personal development opportunities through the Red River Valley Paralegal Association.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $27,592 for Minnesota residents and students with reciprocity from North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin; $41,392 for the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) tuition rate–includes students from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska; $55,184 for non-residents (based on 2013-2014 per-year tuition)
    • Prerequisites: ACT Composite Score of 21 or above, SAT Verbal and Math Combined Re-centered Score of 1000 or above or high school diploma with rank in the upper half of the graduating class with a minimum composite score of 17 on the ACT or 830 on the SAT; college preparatory curriculum, students not meeting these criteria may be evaluated on an individual basis.
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Principles of Accounting
    • Legal Environment of Business
    • Introduction to Paralegal
    • Legal Research & Writing I & II
    • Civil Procedure
    • Interviewing
    • Evidence
  • Winona State University

    Located southeast of Minneapolis, along the Mississippi River, Winona State University (WSU) is a comprehensive public university founded in 1858. Winona’s Bachelor of Science paralegal degree combines a liberal arts education with legal specialty courses. The program curriculum is taught primarily by practicing attorneys and paralegals who impart their practical expertise to students. Students gain knowledge of the legal system and institutions, as well as the practical skills necessary to work as a paralegal.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $27,464 for residents of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota; $49.467 for non-residents (based on 2013-2014 per-semester tuition)
    • Prerequisites: College preparation curriculum and class rank and SAT/ACT score requirements
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Research and Writing I & II
    • Substantive Law & Ethics
    • Adversary System: Civil Procedure
    • Evidentiary Rules
    • Paralegal Internship

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organizations

  • Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA) is a voluntary, non-profit professional association that promotes high standards of professionalism, encourages communication among paralegals and related organizations, supports Continuing Legal Education (CLE), encourages pro bono and community service work, promotes diversity and demonstrates integrity. It has chapters in Duluth, Mankato and Rochester.
  • The Minnesota State Bar (MSSB) is primarily for attorneys, but membership is also open to paralegals who are members in good standing of a recognized association of paralegals (such as the National Association of Legal Assistants or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations). The MSBA Paralegal Committee works to promote visibility and recognition of the paralegal profession by building a collaborative legal environment within the organization and the Minnesota legal community.
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