Whether you want to get your start with a major law firm like Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A., Cleveland, Waters and Bass, P.A, or Cook Little Rosenblatt & Manson, P.L.L.C., or you want to try your hand in corporate law with a company like GE Aviation in Hooksett, Texas Instruments in Manchester, or Oracle in Nashua, New Hampshire is home to exciting opportunities for paralegals.
Learning how to become a paralegal in New Hampshire includes achieving the right education and credentials.
New Hampshire has no regulations in place that govern the training or educational requirements for becoming a paralegal. Those aspiring to work as paralegals may find employment that offers on-the-job training or may choose to purse education prior to beginning their careers.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court defines paralegals as nonlawyer assistants. As such they fall under Rule 5.3, which requires lawyers to provide adequate supervision of all nonlawyer assistants, including guidance in ethics and confidentiality. Supervising lawyers are also responsible for the professional conduct of their employees.
Is There Paralegal Certification in New Hampshire?
As the career opportunities for paralegals have grown, many aspiring paralegals have chosen to pursue formal education in paralegal studies. Educational program options include certificates and degrees. The American Bar Association (ABA) approves of some programs that meet standards of rigor and comprehensiveness. Not all programs are offered by accredited institutions. Both ABA approval and accreditation can be important considerations to employers and to the professional organizations that offer national certification.
Certificated paralegals are paralegals that have completed a certificate program. Certificate programs are typically the short route to becoming a paralegal as they do not have many general education requirements. Instead they offer a specialized focus on paralegal studies. Many certificate programs require that applicants have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in any field. However, some programs accept students with no previous higher education.
|New Hampshire Statistics
Prospective paralegals may also choose to earn a degree in paralegal studies. Degree programs combine paralegal coursework with the fundamentals of higher education. Students may choose from associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies. Students who are interested in reaching high levels of education as paralegals may also pursue master’s degrees in paralegal studies.
Paralegals with education, work experience or a combination of the two may choose to become certified paralegals by successfully completing a national certification exam. Currently, four national certification exams are offered by the three national professional paralegal associations. The four exams are:
- The PACE offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- The PCCE also offered by National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- The CLA/CP offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- The PP offered by the Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
Each exam has its own eligibility requirements.
The Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH), an affiliate of the NFPA, is open to paralegals, students, law firms and any other parties who are interested in strengthening the paralegal profession. PANH offers many seminars and continuing legal education (CLE) opportunities throughout the year. Networking, companionship, a job bank, and other resources are also available to PNAH members.
PANH has four levels of membership:
- Voting – Open to any individual employed as a paralegal
- Associate – Open to any individual who has previously been employed as a paralegal or who has graduated from from a paralegal program and is not employed
- Student – Open to any individual enrolled in a paralegal program or serving in a paralegal internship
- Sustaining – Open to entities that work with PANH and that are concerned with the betterment of the paralegal profession
Private law firms are the largest employers of paralegals. Some large law firms in New Hampshire include:
- Devine Millimet & Branch, P.A.
- McLane Law Firm
- Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green, P.A.
- Gallagher Callahan & Gartrell, P.A.
- Orr & Reno, P.A.
- Shaheen & Gordon, P.A.
- Sulloway & Hollis, PLLC
- Wiggin & Nourie, P.A.
Important Contacts for Paralegals
- Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH), affiliated with the NFPA
- New Hampshire Bar Association
- New Hampshire Secretary of State
- New Hampshire Judicial Branch
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary, growth, and job market trends for paralegals and legal assistants. Figures represent state data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed December 2021.