Interested in a career as a paralegal? The Sacramento area is a great place to become a paralegal! With several schools, a large public-sector need for paralegals, and a thriving private sector, Sacramento has it all.
If you’re interested in becoming a paralegal, here are some things you should know.
Those interested in becoming a paralegal have three ways in which they can qualify:
1. A certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.
2. A certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires the successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
3. A baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject, a minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
Sacramento is home to several 2-year paralegal programs that may meet the requirements of item 1 or 2. Although SVPA maintains a close relationship with our schools, we are not able to endorse or comment on programs. Before enrolling in any program, we recommend confirming that the program meets the requirements of item 1 or 2 above. In alphabetical order:
It is important to note that paralegals can only be employed by an attorney, or work for a corporation or government entity under the direct supervision of an attorney. In California, paralegals cannot work without the supervision of an attorney, nor can they take on their own clients. Paralegals cannot be hired “just to help with the paperwork” at a low cost.
As in any field, finding your first job as a paralegal can be challenging. Many of our members have found that it is best to seek entry-level positions in a law office, such as receptionist, file clerk, or secretary. These positions can be the springboard that (along with appropriate education) launches you into a career as a paralegal.
When searching for a job, be sure to keep an eye on our job board. You can also find out about opportunities by attending events and networking with your fellow paralegals. Another great way to network is to join our LinkedIn Group.
SVPA works closely with our local paralegal schools, and strives to support students in their journey to becoming a paralegal. For more information on those efforts, visit our students page.