The body of knowledge required to effectively perform legal support services can only come from a formal education in paralegal studies. As attorneys, corporations and government agencies work within an increasingly complex legal framework, the level of responsibility they expect paralegals to be able to take on has also increased. Law offices and other employers in North Dakota have come to rely on paralegals with the kind of expertise that can only come from earning a certificate or degree in paralegal studies.
In 2016, the US Department of Labor reported that there were 410 paralegals employed in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and elsewhere in the state. If you’re just getting into the field, whether right out of high school or making a career change, that means 410 people who have more marketable work experience than you… Even if you’ve been working as a paralegal for years, earning a degree or certificate in paralegal studies is one of the best ways you can set yourself apart from the crowd and open up doors that could lead to a promotion.
Need some inspiration? You don’t need to look any further than North Dakota’s own Leslie Oliver, a name you might recognize from her 2013 run for a bench seat on the North Dakota Supreme Court. Today she works as general counsel at the Office of the Governor, but she got her start in this field as a paralegal providing legal assistance to the elderly. It wasn’t until she was in her 30s that Oliver decided to go back to school and further her education, ultimately graduating with a JD. From here she worked her way up as a law clerk for a state supreme court justice, then in private practice with a growing law firm, before finally finding her niche in the public sector.
Your career is in your hands, but we’re here to help with some recommendations on accredited online paralegal programs that can make your career goals a reality.
Bismarck State College
AAS in Legal Administrative Office Assistant – Campus, hybrid
Rasmussen College-North Dakota
AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and/or online
Certificate in Paralegal Studies (post-associate) – Campus and/or online
University of North Dakota
Minor in Legal Studies – Campus
Advanced Paralegal Certificate – Online
Legal Nurse Consulting Certificate – Online