Become a Paralegal in New Mexico

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

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It takes a specialized education to become a paralegal. Find out more about the options in your area and how you can get the training you need through a flexible online program that fits your schedule.

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Law firms, corporations, governmental agencies, and nonprofits are increasingly turning their attention to paralegals to ensure the cost-effective and efficient delivery of legal services. Working under the tutelage of one or more lawyers, paralegals are able to accomplish many day-to-day tasks that free up an attorney’s time to practice law.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were about 1,470 paralegal jobs in New Mexico as of May 2020. The average salary for paralegals in New Mexico during this time was $49,110, or $23.61 per hour. Those with extensive experience, along with advanced knowledge in a specific area of law, such as litigation or consumer law, earned salaries that were closer to the top 10% here, which was $70,430, or $33.86 per hour.

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.

2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary data and job market trends for paralegals reflect state and national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2022.

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