Become a Paralegal in New Mexico

Find Paralegal Programs

If you answer a few quick questions, we'll show you paralegal programs that are actively recruiting students with your educational background and location.

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New Mexico pretty much has it all: skiing and hiking in the mountains, lakes for boating, deserts, big cities, small towns and even a couple of old ghost towns for exploring. It’s a wonderful place to both work and play, and every aspect of living there (or anywhere) is affected by the law.

Real estate law, corporate law, insurance law, environmental law, uniform commercial codes and criminal codes can all be overwhelming to the ordinary person; however, that is only part of the reason for the increasing demand for those with legal skills. In a lagging economy, law firms, legal departments in business and others are looking to cut costs, and it is therefore of utmost importance for them to have personnel with the necessary legal knowledge and skills. Increasingly, they’re turning to paralegals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 1,640 paralegals and legal assistants employed in New Mexico in 2012. The annual mean wage was $42,500, with an hourly mean wage of $20.43. More experienced paralegals and those with more education are often the ones selected for the higher paying jobs, and some paralegals in New Mexico made as much as $60,000. In addition, the BLS predicted that paralegal positions nationwide will increase by 18 percent between 2010 and 2020, and those who invest in paralegal education are likely to be rewarded for their efforts in the long run.

Paralegal Certification

While the New Mexico State Bar has established Rules Governing Paralegal Services, there no mandatory licensing or certification for paralegals in New Mexico. However, certification through national and local organizations can help job-seekers demonstrate higher professional standards sought after by employers.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in New Mexico

Paralegal Certificates

  • Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)

    Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) is a public two-year community college with a main campus in Albuquerque and six other campuses in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas. It’s the largest community college in the state. Its 30-credit post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies can be completed in as little as eight months. Students gain an understanding of legal case preparation, client relations and the legal system, as well as well as gain indispensable oral and written communication skills. They complete the program with a grasp of substantive and procedural law, the functions and roles of paralegals in a variety of specialty areas and the ethical responsibilities involved in working under the supervision of attorneys.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $1,485 for state residents; $8,100 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Associate or bachelor’s degree
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Criminal Litigation
    • Law Office Management
    • Domestic Relations
    • Business Organizations
    • Evidence
    • Constitutional Law
  • Santa Fe Community College

    Santa Fe Community College‘s (SFCC) certificate in paralegal studies is designed for students who already have some work experience in an office environment or have already earned some college credit. The program covers the American legal system, conducting legal research using traditional and modern techniques and effective oral and written communication. Students gain practice in document preparation and learn about common office procedures in the legal environment.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $1,106 for district residents; $1,442 for out-of-district state residents; $2,744 for out-of-state students (based on spring 2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Composition and Rhetoric
    • Introduction to Law
    • Legal Research Writing I & II/Westlaw
    • Business Law
    • Human Relations in the Workplace
    • Criminal Law & Procedure

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)

    Central New Mexico Community College‘s (CNM) Associate in Applied Science in paralegal studies gives students a well-rounded general education in addition to a foundation of legal knowledge and skills. Students learn interview and investigation techniques, case management, oral and written communication skills and how to conduct legal research.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $2,376 for state residents; $12,960 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-semester tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Open admissions for those age 18 and above
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • College Writing
    • Analytic & Argumentative Writing
    • Logic & Critical Thinking
    • Torts
    • Evidence
    • Criminal Litigation
  • Clovis Community College

    Students in Clovis Community College‘s Associate of Applied Science in legal assistant studies program learn legal research, writing and terminology, gain valuable communication skills and become familiar with law office and legal procedures. This program covers both criminal procedures and civil litigation, as well as family law, real estate law and wills and estates.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $1,872 for district residents; $2,016 for out-of-district state residents; $4,272 for out-of-state students (based on 2014 per-semester tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Online

    Sample required courses:

    • Public Speaking
    • Introductory Accounting
    • Litigation
    • Torts, Practice and Procedure
    • Intro to Legal Assistant Studies
  • San Juan College

    The Associate in Applied Science Legal Assistant program at San Juan College teaches students to recognize legal issues, identify facts pertinent to these issues, apply law and think critically. In addition, San Juan College’s paralegal program is an approved Navajo Nation Tribal Advocacy training program which can lead to being coming a licensed Tribal Advocate on the Navajo Nation for qualified individuals.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $3,323 for state residents; 8,630 for out-of-state students (based on 2014 per-credit tuition, technology fees and general fees)
    • Prerequisites: Open admissions policy
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • American Law for Paralegals
    • Civil Litigation
    • Trial Advocacy
    • Law Office Administration
    • Business Organization Law

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organization

  • The State Bar of New Mexico Paralegal Division serves the needs of paralegals throughout the state. It offers continuing education programs, provides opportunities for pro bono work and works to establish good fellowship among division members, the State Bar of New Mexico and members of the legal community.
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