Become a Paralegal in Massachusetts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 18 percent increase in paralegal positions nationwide between 2010 and 2020. May 2012 figures from the BLS showed 6,750 paralegal and legal assistant positions in Massachusetts; the average hourly wage was a healthy $25.01, while the annual mean wage was $52,020. Paralegals with more education often land the higher paying jobs, and the top-paid paralegals in the state made as much as $77,990.

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Massachusetts is home to 12 companies on the 2013 Fortune 500 list, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Group and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Group. All of these companies need legal services, and many have in-house legal departments. Paralegals provide a cost-effective way to get day-to-day legal work done. In addition, paralegal skills are often considered a plus in the hiring process, even for positions outside of the typical paralegal realm.

Massachusetts Paralegal Certification

There is no mandatory certification or licensing of paralegals in Massachusetts.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Massachusetts

Paralegal Certificates

  • Middlesex Community College (Bedford and Lowell Campuses)

    A two-year public college, Middlesex Community College offers a paralegal certificate that emphasizes academic and practice-oriented preparation. This program is for individuals who already have a bachelor’s or associate degree and would like to further their career or pursue a new career path. Students may choose to complete an internship to gain hand-on experience. Classes are offered at the Bedford campus in the evenings and at the Lowell campus during the day; select classes can also be taken online.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $4,752 for Massachusetts residents; $5,076 for New England residents outside of Massachusetts; $10,314 for non-New England residents and international students (based on spring 2014 per-credit tuition and fees)
    • Prerequisites: Associate or bachelor’s degree
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus with some courses offered online

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law
    • Litigation
    • Legal Research & Writing I & II
    • Computer Applications for Paralegals
  • Suffolk University

    A private institution, Suffolk University offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in applied legal studies. Students have access to Suffolk Law School’s world class law library, career planning services and state-of-the-art computerized legal research facilities with Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis. Located in Beacon Hill, the campus is within walking distance of government offices for the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the U.S. Federal Government and the Massachusetts State Courts. Day and evening courses are available, allowing students to work around their jobs and home responsibilities.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $20,760 (based on 2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree, 30 general education college credits or a written recommendation from a supervising attorney
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Fundamentals of Paralegal Practice
    • Legal Research & Writing I & II
    • Civil Litigation
    • Law of Contracts

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Quincy College

    Quincy College is a public two-year institution that offers an Associate of Science in paralegal studies at its campuses in Quincy and Plymouth. This program teaches students to analyze legal problems, use legal resources to identify, locate and apply reference materials and conduct effective interviews with clients and witnesses. It also helps them develop strong oral and written communication skills, ethical principles and knowledge of substantive areas of law and of the U.S. and Massachusetts legal systems.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $11,656 (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Paralegal Studies
    • Interviewing & Investigation
    • Business Law
    • Litigation and Procedure
    • Legal Ethics
  • Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

    • Bay Path College

      A private women’s college in Longmeadow, Bay Path College offers both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in legal studies. Students are given an understanding of the legal process, institutions and concepts that are foundational to society, and emphasis is placed on both theory and application. The legal faculty are judges and practitioners of the law, allowing students to benefit from real-world expertise.

      • Estimated Program Cost: $119,836 (based on 2013-2014 per-year tuition for full time students)
      • Prerequisites: College preparatory curriculum
      • ABA Approved: Yes
      • Format: On campus
    • Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

      Professional Organizations

      • The Central Massachusetts Paralegal Association (CMPA) is a voluntary organization that promotes the paralegal profession in central Massachusetts. It serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas among its members, promotes the utilization of paralegals and maintains a job bank. CMPA also promotes education through seminars, lectures and workshops open to both professionals and the public.
      • The Massachusetts Paralegal Association (MPA) is the oldest and largest professional paralegal association in the state, with approximately 500 members. It publishes “Viewpoint,” a quarterly magazine with information relevant to the profession, and maintains a job bank. It also provides Continuing Legal Education (CLE) through seminars, brown bag lunches and specialty programs, as well as opportunities for volunteer work. Student memberships are offered for those who are studying to become paralegals.
      • The Western Massachusetts Paralegal Association (WMPA) promotes the professional development of paralegals in Western Massachusetts. Membership benefits include networking opportunities, a subscription to the “Paradocs”newsletter, educational programs and an annual dinner.
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