How to Become a Paralegal in Nevada
Paralegals work for attorneys and play a vital support role in the justice system. While daily duties will depend on the type of law being practiced, typical paralegal chores will include a variety of responsibilities:
- Drafting correspondence
- Summarizing and writing reports
- Maintaining and organizing documents,
- Taking affidavits and statements
- Working with lawyers and witnesses to schedule meetings, depositions and interviews
- Assisting attorneys in court by handling exhibits, reviewing transcripts and taking notes
Steps to Become a Paralegal
There are certain steps you’ll need to take to become a Nevada paralegal. Here’s a short list:
Choose a specialty.
Just as lawyers practice in a certain area of law paralegals concentrate on one specific area such as estate planning, insurance, corporate law or bankruptcy law.
Complete your education.
While there is no state minimum education required and in theory you could become a paralegal through on-site training, the fact is that most who work in the field have a bachelor’s degree.
Although it’s not mandated, most employers require certification so they know you have the skills to do the job.
Work an internship.
Usually an internship is part of your degree work; if it’s not you should apply at a legal aid office or law firm so you have some experience in the field before graduation.
Apply for entry level jobs.
Once you have your degree you’ll probably need a year or two working at a lower level position before you qualify for your dream job.
Paralegal Education Requirements in Nevada
While no formal education is required by the state of Nevada almost half of working paralegals hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. When you compare that to less than 20 percent who have an associate’s degree it makes sense to start your career with the advantage of a four year degree.
Licensure or certification is not required by Nevada state law but most employers require professional certification and continuing education to keep certification current before they’ll interview prospective paralegals. Passing the exam and educational requirements of an organization such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) will show you are well-educated and skillful in your field.
Paralegals in Nevada earn close to the national average for the occupation, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2019-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook cites as $49,500. Here are the mean annual salaries for the state of Nevada. Note that the higher pay scales usually equate to those who hold the highest levels of education and experience. Location also plays a factor:
Lowest 10 percent:
Median 10 percent:
Highest 10 percent:
As far as metropolitan area salaries, paralegals working in Reno earned a mean annual wage of $55,210 and those in Las Vegas earned $54,780.
Career Opportunities in Nevada
Paralegal careers in Nevada are projected to have a robust growth through 2026 at a whopping 45 percent.
Compared to the national projection of 15 percent for paralegals, Nevada is a great state in which to become a paralegal. Because of Nevada’s laws, many paralegals work for divorce lawyers, which may account for the huge job growth rate. Other paralegals in Nevada work for law firms, and large corporations related to the entertainment and gaming industries also employ many paralegals. Some examples are MGM Grand Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands, and Caesars Entertainment. Most paralegals in Nevada work in the Las Vegas-Paradise metropolitan area.
Once you earn your degree and begin working, your employer may require you to take continuing education classes specific to the type of law they practice. You’ll also want to take advantage of membership in one or more associations dedicated to your field. In Nevada there are several to choose from:
- The Las Vegas Valley Paralegal Association: Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), this group holds professional seminars and meetings with a full calendar of activities.
- The Sierra Nevada Association of Paralegals is another NALA affiliate and is based in Reno. This group promotes networking, professional development, and coordination with other legal support professions.
- The State Bar of Nevada Paralegal Division keeps members informed of development opportunities and professional news.
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