Paralegal Education in Alaska
Alaska is a good choice for the aspiring paralegal, as it offers some of the most competitive wages in the profession in a non-metropolitan environment. As of February 2013, the median annual salary for paralegals in Alaska was $39,000, even higher for paralegal specialists. Those working in a metropolitan area, such as Anchorage, saw significantly greater wages. The 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates over 600 paralegals were employed in the 49th state, most of them hired by government agencies, law firms, and corporations; all areas where a keen eye for detail and legal expertise -in the peripherals of an attorney’s tasks- is necessary.
Alaska does have one very specific rule regarding paralegals and the attorneys who hire them. It states all lawyers shall provide direct supervision over any non-lawyer assistant they employ, including paralegals. This law was passed by the Alaskan Supreme Court as the Rule of Personal Conduct 5.3. Attorneys will take on a role of great responsibility where their non-lawyer help is concerned, teaching them ethics and confidentiality, and assuming personal culpability for their employees’ actions. (Please see the Alaska Court System.)
|In USD as of Feb 6, 2013 (source: indeed.com)||25k||50k||75k|
|Paralegal in Alaska $39,000||
Training and Education
Alaskan law regarding paralegal requirements is quite lax. No special training or education is needed, so that can be gained on-the-job, although it is recommended that the aspiring paralegal at least holds an Associate’s degree or, having a degree already, receives paralegal certification. This ensures the paralegal will be offered a better starting pay and benefits; this is a field where experience and knowledge are often rewarded, immediately. For a paralegal who is learning in the field and on the go, night courses at a community college or even an online accredited school would be an excellent choice for advancement.
While there are online schools for almost every need these days, not all are American Bar Association, or ABA, recognized. If that is something you desire for career advancement, it is highly advisable you be careful about which schools you consider. In Alaska there are only two accredited brick-and-mortar schools for paralegal learning: the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the University of Alaska, Anchorage. The Fairbanks University provides a two-year Associate’s degree while the Anchorage University offers a four-year program. If you elect to take online courses, do some research to make sure the certificate or degree is accredited and ABA approved. Experience and knowledge are well rewarded in the paralegal field with competence and confidence being in demand by those hiring.
There are several famous law firms in Alaska where paralegals may wish to seek employment.
Jermain Dunnagan & Owens, P.C., based in Anchorage, AK
Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens, P.C.
3000 A Street, Suite 300
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Phone: 907.563.8844/Fax: 907.563.7322
Patton Boggs, office located in Anchorage, AK
601 West Fifth Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Perkins Coie, recognized as a Fortune Magazine 100 best Companies to Work For in 2013
1029 West Third Avenue
Phone: 907.279.8561/Fax: 907.276.3108
Cook Schuhmann & Groseclose, Inc. is the largest law firm in interior Alaska
714 Fourth Avenue, Suite 200
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701-4470
Tel: 907.452.1855 / Fax: 907.452.8154
Toll Free 800.550.1855
Davis Wright Tremaine, one of the country’s leading firms, offices in Alaska
701 West Eighth Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3468
Phone: 907.257.5300 direct/Fax: 907.257.5399
Baxter Bruce & Sullivan P.C., out of Juneau, AK
Suite A-201 Professional Plaza
9309 Glacier Highway
P.O. BOX 32819
Juneau, Alaska 99803
Phone: 907.789.3166/Fax: 907.789.1913
While hardly an exhaustive list, each of these companies is well-known and exemplary amongst their peers. They are always looking for new talent and hard-working team players in a variety of fields and specializations.
Alaska also boasts its share of support for paralegals and legal assistants. Some are affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegals Association (NFPA), or the Association for Legal Professionals (NALS).
- FALA, the Fairbanks Association of Legal Assistants is NALA affiliated.
- Alaska Paralegal Association (AAP), NFPA affiliated.
- NALS of Anchorage, NALS affiliated.
Other Important Links
Paralegal Schools in Alaska
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