From small law firms to large corporations, paralegals provide an important service to legal teams. And demand is growing, especially for paralegals with a robust skill set.
Paralegals are behind-the-scenes saviors in the legal profession. Along with law office managers and legal assistants, paralegals provide the foundation for lawyers and law firms to serve their clients confidently and fully prepared. As a paralegal, you’ll support attorneys throughout the litigation process—as they ready their case and during deposition, in trial, and after.
Paralegals are valued members of the team, and their skills are essential to the success of the unit as a whole. Because the process to becoming a paralegal can be as varied as the specializations you can choose to work in, there are lots of things to consider as you begin your journey toward this thriving career.
While it can feel overwhelming to stay abreast of changes in laws and regulations governing the legal industry and paralegals, we’re here to help.
We’ve compiled more than 100 resources dedicated exclusively to paralegals. Learn more about the education path needed to become a successful professional, and find out how to advance your career and earn peer respect by becoming certified.
Need to find support in a particular state? Interested in networking opportunities? Just want to listen to the latest paralegal industry news? It’s all here in one easy-to-use resource.
Accrediting Agencies for Paralegal Programs
National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA):
The non-profit organization NALA provides continuing education and professional development for paralegals, no matter what level of experience they’ve completed.
American Bar Association Approved Schools:
Not all paralegals are required to earn a degree, but today’s law firms often insist that their paralegals have an American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal degree.
American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE):
The AAfPE serves the needs of paralegal students and educators, promoting quality education and standards for the betterment of the profession and the significant impact paralegals have on the system.
Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC):
This private, non-profit organization accredits online learning institutions, from the secondary through doctorate levels. The DEAC serves students, faculty, and administrators by upholding quality of education programs.
Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA):
CHEA is a national advocate for the promotion of educational quality through accreditation. They boast 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities as members and are a national leader in educational quality assurance.
The Association for Legal Professionals (NALS):
NALS is a comprehensive resource for paralegals and all members of the legal support industry. An Accredited Legal Professional Certification from NALS demonstrates preparedness for the demanding and competitive field of law.
Association of Legal Administrators (ALA):
A self-proclaimed undisputed leader in the business of law and practice management, ALA provides resources and guidance for its membership, including all levels of administrators in governmental, private, and corporate legal departments.
National Paralegal Association (NPA):
The NPA offers benefits and services to students and individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, practicing paralegals, and paralegal colleges as well as those offering services or products to those in the paralegal profession internationally.
Organization of Legal Professionals:
The OLP offers the Certified eDiscovery Professional exam in order to grant recognition to legal industry professionals who meet a certain level of training and work experience within the field.
The American Allegiance of Paralegals, Inc.:
Founded in 2003 by 11 paralegals, this national organization strives to advance the paralegal profession by focusing on individuals, and members can find a job bank, newsletter, and resources specifically focused upon the profession.
National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA):
The NFPA was the very first national paralegal association and over time has grown to represent over 50 associations and 9,000 individuals. They work closely with the ABA.
International Practice Managers Association (IPMA):
The International Practice Management Association is the premier resource for information and education on the management of paralegals and other practice support professionals in law firms and law departments globally.
NALA is the premiere professional association for legal assistants, providing the code of ethics for those in the field, and continuing education and professional certification programs for paralegals.
Activist and world-known paralegal—the titular subject of the award-winning Hollywood film—is also an ardent Tweeter who isn’t shy about voicing her educated opinion.
NALS’ Tweet lists jobs, discusses privacy and policy and caters to a readership who are interested in advancing in the paralegal, legal assistant and legal secretary career fields through education, networking and getting professional certification.
NFPA Paralegals Facebook:
The National Federal of Paralegal Associations Facebook page hosts issue-driven and policy-oriented posts from more than 9,000 individuals and 50 member associations.
NALS is dedicated to paralegals and legal assistants and has been providing education, certifications and networking for over 80 years. Their Facebook page features events, conferences and YouTube videos covering the legal support professions.
Paralegal Gateway has over 3,500 followers covering all topics and news of interest to paralegals and legal professionals everywhere. From personal injury to plastic surgery, paralegals are voicing their thoughts here.
Magazines & Blogs
American Bar Association Journal:
ABA Journal is the official publication of the American Bar Association and features breaking legal news and analysis for every level of the legal profession—from lawyer to administrator. You can receive daily or weekly versions on your phone.
The Center for Advanced Legal Studies offers a comprehensive blog covering subjects such as education, career, online school, and certification—all with advice from established lawyers and professionals within the industry.
The Empowered Paralegal:
Targeted specifically to the paralegal, this publication is produced and managed by an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Mississippi who is dedicated to uplifting the public perception of the paralegal.
Legal Management Magazine:
The magazine of the Association of Legal Administrators requires membership in order to access its contents online, but the benefits of membership include networking resources and a comprehensive career center.
National Paralegal Reporter:
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers National Paralegal Reporter Magazine as a member benefit. Circulation includes educators, bar associations, and of course, paralegals, who can receive the magazine on a quarterly basis.
The Paralegal Society:
Promoting itself as a social conduit of information created for all paralegals, you’ll find a smart forum created to motivate and inspire those who have chosen to enter the paralegal profession.
Facts & Findings:
The premier NALA information source is Facts & Findings, a bi-monthly journal for paralegals. This magazine offers the best in educational articles written by paralegals, attorneys, and other experts.
NALS has been publishing @Law for over 50 years and is a perk of membership in the association. The magazine provides educational and professional development articles and resources for those in the paralegal, legal assistant, and legal secretary professions.
Inspired Leadership Magazine:
IPMA’s Inspired Leadership Magazine provides the latest in industry trends and features broad coverage of all aspects of practice support management, including paralegal management, litigation support, and other legal support professions.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Camille Stell Scholarship (Raleigh-Wake County):
The Camille S. Stell Scholarship is awarded annually to a student enrolled in a paralegal program in Wake County, and honors the namesake who was dedicated to the profession and teaching students to excel as paralegals.
Nancy McLaughlin Scholarship (Texas):
The Capital Area Paralegal Association (CAPA) honors the memory of Nancy McLaughlin with an annual scholarship that may be used for a number of paralegal-related purposes in the state of Texas, including seminars and certification training.
North Carolina Paralegal Scholarships:
The North Carolina Paralegal Association offers two scholarships each year to help pay for tuition or for the Certified Legal Assistant and Advanced Paralegal Certification national exam. Brush up on your writing skills as you’ll need to compose an essay for both.
Tampa Bay Paralegal Association Scholarships:
Three scholarships are offered annually by the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association: a professional development scholarship, student scholarship, and board certification scholarship.
Warner, Norcross & Judd Scholarships (Michigan):
The Firm offers two annual scholarships for Michigan residents: a minority scholarship gift and an LSAT preparation course scholarship for students who have a demonstrated financial need.
AAfPE LEX Scholarships:
The LEX Scholarship offers five grants which will be awarded to continue the pursuit of student paralegal education. If you’re a full or part-time student at a school that has a LEX chapter you’re eligible to apply.
NFPA Awards and PACE Scholarships:
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers several annual paralegal scholarships, including the NFPA Awards, the Thomson Reuters Scholarship, and the PACE and PCCE scholarships.
In order to receive federal financial aid, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA, which is available to students who attend an accredited school. There are specific requirements and deadlines so get educated on your options.
Touted as the smart student guide to financial aid, FinAid! is a comprehensive, one-stop shopping mall for scholarships, loans, saving for school resources, and military financial aid.
Legal Talk Network:
With over 30 podcasts and shows and a frequently updated blog, Legal Talk Network covers all the news and topics that are relevant to lawyers and paralegals and all members of the legal support industry.
Bloomberg Law Podcast:
The Bloomberg podcast library covers everything under the realm of legal news, from current events to discourses on groundbreaking legal cases such as Microsoft and user privacy.
The Paralegal Voice:
Part of the Legal Talk Network, Paralegal Voice covers the latest news and issues in the paralegal world. Leading paralegals guest on the show to discuss everything from career tips to hiring trends. A must listen for aspiring paralegals.
Lawyer2Lawyer offers insight and contemporary news and problem-solving from a legal perspective. The podcast has won awards for its incisive examination of current events and recent rulings hosted by Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams.
Nolo is a comprehensive legal practice resource where paralegals can find everything from legal articles to lawyers and the most current legal forms and software available to assist in the ease of their job.
Solely created with the legal professional in mind, FindLaw is a complete reference and legal store—from cases & codes, to blogs and an entire warehouse of legal software—everything you’ll need to perform your paralegal job is right here.
ALM Network of Legal Publications:
Law.com is a trusted legal resource for current legal news and analysis, curated and moderated by the ALM Media team of professionals. They cover all areas of practice and the legal industry in general in their reporting.
Library of Congress Law Library:
Established in 1832, the Congress Law Library is now the world’s largest law reference center, with over 2.65 million legal volumes that span the field of law through the ages and world geographies.
Harvard Law School Library:
Harvard Law School’s free legal research guide covers everything from primary federal law to foreign & international law. If you get stuck you can chat with a librarian.
Paralegal State Associations
Alabama Association of Paralegals:
The nearly 200 paralegals across the state of Alabama share the same goal dictated by the state board: to promote the paralegal profession through awareness and education.
Alaska Association of Paralegals:
The Alaska Association of Paralegals upholds and elevates the standards of honor, integrity and courtesy within the legal profession and strongly encourages its members to protect and further the public interest in the profession.
Arizona Paralegal Association:
Formed in 1977, the Arizona Paralegal Association maintains high professional standards for its members, and encourages continued education with such benefits as annual legal seminars and open communication with representatives of local and state bar associations.
Arkansas Paralegal Alliance
Arkansas Paralegal Alliance, Inc. is a professional association of approximately 50 paralegals from around the State of Arkansas with goals focused on networking for the legal community, education and professional development, cooperation with bar associations, and supporting the goals of NALA, Inc.
California Alliance of Paralegal Associations:
With its unique paralegal regulations, California stands out as a major alliance in the paralegal community. CAPA maintains statewide and national communications in order to keep all of its members current with information relating to the profession.
Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (Colorado):
RMPA is a charter member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, RMPA represents paralegals throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
Central Connecticut Paralegal Association
The Central Connecticut Paralegal Association, Inc. (“CCPA”) was incorporated as a non-profit organization in November of 1982. CCPA is a volunteer-based organization which relies upon the active participation of its members.
Delaware Paralegal Association:
Touted as “The first stop for paralegals in the first state,” the DPA is a complete resource for paralegals, including employment opportunities and educational resources for its more than 300 members.
Florida Association of Paralegals:
“Inspiring professional growth one paralegal at a time,” reads the FAP motto. The group boasts over 1,000 members and is one of the oldest affiliate associations of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Georgia Association of Paralegals:
Established to provide support for persons entering the paralegal field, and to promote the profession to the legal community, the GAP is committed to improving the working conditions of paralegals and to enhancing their role within the legal profession.
Hawaii Paralegal Association:
HPA not only maintains high standards, but informs members of developments within the profession through group sessions and certification training. Guest professionals regularly speak on topics such as tenant law and retirement accounts.
Idaho Association of Paralegals:
Idaho’s paralegal association requires its members to complete six hours of continuing education each year in an effort to encourage a high order of ethics within the group. 80 percent of Idaho paralegals hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Illinois Paralegal Association:
The Illinois Paralegal Association recently instituted a voluntary accreditation plan for regular members who meet a set criteria. They can apply and, if accepted, use the Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP) credential.
Indiana Paralegal Association:
The IPA was formed in 1979 and holds its founding values to heart today; they are committed to establishing good fellowship among members and the legal community as well as providing continuing education opportunities to meet high standards.
Iowa Paralegal Association
Since 1981, the Iowa Paralegal Association (IPA) has provided relevant and updated resources for paralegals with their newsletters, Listserv resources, meetings, seminars, and networking opportunities.
Kansas Paralegal Association:
The Kansas Paralegal Association provides a forum for paralegals to exchange ideas, continue their career development and education, and strives to promote recognition of the profession within the community and throughout state-wide bar associations.
Kentucky Paralegal Association:
Serving as a unified voice for all Kentucky paralegals, the KPA promotes the working relationship between paralegals and attorneys in law offices, corporations and government agencies and ensures that these communities are fully aware of the scope of the paralegal’s responsibilities.
Louisiana State Paralegal Association:
The LSPA offers the Louisiana Paralegal certificate to state paralegals who are serious about advancing in their careers, stating that earning this credential proves demonstrated knowledge in law, ethics and civil procedure—as well as four law subjects unique to the state of Louisiana.
NALS of Maine:
Membership in NALS of Maine is open to those working as a paralegal or in the legal support professions in any law office, the Court, the trust department of a bank, or in a public or private institution directly engaged in work of a legal nature.
Maryland Association of Paralegals:
Maryland Association of Paralegals, Inc. is a community of paralegals, students and supporters who have provided scholarship, networking and professional opportunities for the legal support professions since 1974.
Massachusetts Paralegal Association:
The oldest professional association for paralegals in Massachusetts is dedicated to the development and improvement of the profession and boasts members in Boston and outlying towns bordering Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Great Lakes Paralegal Association–Michigan:
A relatively new association (2013) the GLPA’s members are passionate about assisting other professionals and paralegal students in the growth of their educational and professional development.
Minnesota Paralegal Association:
This non-profit association, besides promoting a high standard of professionalism and continuing education among members, encourages pro bono and community service involvement through the MPA or other non-profit organizations in Minnesota.
Mississippi Paralegal Association:
Mississippi’s paralegal association is a huge supporter of certification for its members, promoting both professional development and passing the exams for the certified Legal Assistants, Certified Paralegal, and Advanced Certified Paralegal credentials.
Missouri Paralegal Association:
The President of the MPA says as the group’s leader she is committed to ramping up communication and involvement. The group also promises to serve as a unified voice for all Missouri paralegals.
Montana Association of Legal Assistants & Paralegals:
Since its formation in 1992, MALA has continually strived to promote the paralegal profession and to broaden public understanding of the role paralegals play within the legal industry.
Nebraska Paralegal Association:
There’s something for everyone in the legal profession at the NePA, and indeed they deliver upon their promise, with newsletters, continuing education seminars, career boards and current information about the paralegal profession.
State Bar of Nevada–Paralegal Division:
The purpose of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Nevada is to enhance paralegal participation in the administration of justice, professional responsibility, and public service in cooperation with the State Bar of Nevada.
Paralegal Association of New Hampshire:
PANH includes a task force dedicated to paralegals and is comprised of lawyers, paralegals, educators, law firm administrators, and students to promote the effective use of paralegal within the industry.
Paralegal Association of New Jersey:
The Paralegal Association of New Jersey is a non-profit association formed in 1982 to foster and promote uniform educational standards and practice guidelines for the legal assistant.
State Bar of New Mexico–Paralegal Division:
The Paralegal Division of the State Bar of New Mexico was formally organized in 1995 to serve the needs of legal assistants throughout the state by furthering education and encouraging a high order of ethical and professional attainment.
Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations–New York:
Five paralegal groups met in 1988 to create the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations, unified by the need to strengthen the paralegal profession through networking.
North Carolina Paralegal Association:
The NCPA pledges to serve their members by providing resources, education and the information necessary to provide high quality legal services to attorneys, clients, and North Carolina communities.
Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants–North Dakota:
As part of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the WDALA incorporates their objectives with the nation alliance, and promotes professional and ethical conduct within their group as well as education for members.
Ohio State Bar Association:
The OSBA established a credential program for paralegals that designates them as OSBA Certified Paralegals, and the benefit of certification includes continuing legal education and addition to the OSBA Paralegals Committee.
Oklahoma Paralegal Association:
The Oklahoma Paralegal Association was formed in 1985 with the purpose of providing a forum for education and professional growth for legal assistants throughout the State of Oklahoma and in furtherance of the delivery of quality legal services.
Oregon Paralegal Association:
The Oregon Paralegal Association is unique in that it is open to not only paralegals and paralegal students, but others who are interested in the profession and are willing to support the group on a volunteer basis.
Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations–Pennsylvania:
The Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that originated in 1995 from groundwork laid by different paralegal associations in the state of Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island Paralegal Association:
RIPA, which is managed by an elected board of directors and features several active decision-making committees including Education, Policy and Issues, and Pro Bono, is a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
Palmetto Paralegal Association–South Carolina:
Based in Columbia, South Carolina, PPA membership is comprised of students enrolled in a paralegal program, paralegals employed by law firms, courts, government agencies, and private businesses providing services to the legal community.
South Dakota Paralegal Association:
The SDPA encourages its members to take the paralegal exam offered through NALA as part of personal development. They offer reimbursement incentives to members who pass the CP exam.
Tennessee Paralegal Association:
The Tennessee Paralegal Association sponsors a major seminar each year on any number of legal topics in order to educate its membership and interested parties on subjects important to the legal industry and its employees.
State Bar of Texas–Paralegal Division:
The Legal Assistants Committee of the Texas State Bar created the Paralegal Division due to growth of the profession in the state, and they have successfully accomplished their mission to increase paralegal participation within the legal field.
Utah Paralegal Association:
Utah’s Paralegal Association helps paralegals further their education and grow the standards of professional and ethical conduct within the state. They strive to increase employment opportunities for qualified paralegals.
Vermont Paralegal Organization:
With the lofty goal of establishing high standards of conduct, education and integrity among the state’s paralegals, Vermont successfully helps integrate these qualified professionals into the state’s business and legal communities.
Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations:
Comprised of legal assistants across the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations strives to maintain a statewide communication network and promote educational excellence among paralegals.
Washington State Paralegal Association:
With nine chapters across the state, the Washington State Paralegal Association helps aspiring paralegals choose which specialized field of paralegal is right for them, and provides educational opportunities for continued success.
National Capital Area Paralegal Association–Washington DC:
NCAPA invites members to contribute time and skills to volunteer opportunities across the district to help the organization serve both membership and community at the highest level.
Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia:
From job opportunities to scholarships for paralegal students, the LAPSWV helps paralegals at every stage of the career lifecycle find the resources and education they need to be successful in their chosen career field.
Paralegal Association of Wisconsin:
Simply put, the Paralegal Association of Wisconsin looks to take responsibility for leadership and enlightenment of the bench, bar, and public regarding the value and importance of paralegals within the legal system of Wisconsin.
Legal Assistants of Wyoming:
The LAW office has been affiliated with NALA since 1990, and strongly mandates certification and enrollment in ABA-accredited paralegal programs to promote the professionalism and expertise within the paralegal industry that these achievements signify.
Related Paralegal Careers
American Arbitration Association:
The American Arbitration Association is a not-for-profit organization with offices throughout the U.S., and which provides support and experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution to individuals and organizations. You can find highly trained mediators who can help you avoid going to court.
National Association of Certified Mediators:
The NACM is dedicated to providing professional mediators with the basic academic credentials necessary to serve the public with excellent mediation services. Through the NACM, mediators wishing to advance in their careers can earn the Certified Mediator Trainer or Mediator Certification credentials.
National Association for Community Mediation:
With a core value system that includes integrity, quality, vision, and collaboration, the NACFM provides a platform for community mediators to learn constructive processes for resolving conflict between groups and individuals as an alternative to prolonged litigation, confrontation, or violence.
National Court Reporters Association:
The NCRA promotes excellence “among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text.” They also provides professional certification for those who are active in the court reporting field.
The Law Office Management Association:
Created in order to provide professional development and best practices opportunities to those in the legal management careers, TLOMA achieves its goals primarily through learning and networking support.