What Can A Paralegal Do In Florida

Earning a living is important for every individual. There are many people who earn their living doing different jobs. A paralegal, however, is one of the most rewarding jobs that you can ever have. Aside from that, paralegal jobs in Florida are one of the most sought-after professions today. It takes special kinds of individuals to be able to handle this job well.

The article below brings you one of the best information around on Paralegal Education, Certification and Registration, Professional Paralegal Associations, Law Firms and Important Contacts for Paralegals on collegelearners

While the State Legislature has not yet required certification or registration of paralegals, professional paralegals and the Florida Bar Association have responded to the potential of regulation by offering voluntary certification and registration for paralegals. Currently, there are three options: Certified Paralegal (CP), Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP), and Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP).

Paralegal Certification florida

Although there are no legal requirements for the education of paralegals in Florida, the Florida Association of Paralegals reports that most law firms will only hire paralegals with a degree. Additionally, many want their new hires to have passed the Certified Paralegal (CP) exam.

Florida Job Statistics2011 mean income for paralegals in Florida: $47,611Number of paralegals employed in Florida: 21,330November of 2007, the Supreme Court of Florida adopted the Florida Registered Paralegal ProgramNumber of registered paralegals in Florida: 3,844

Paralegals may choose from several different educational pathways: certificate programs, associate’s degrees in paralegal studies, and bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies. There are also a few schools offering master’s level paralegal degrees. Each type of educational program has different entry requirements and these requirements also vary from school to school. Additionally, some schools offer American Bar Association (ABA) approved programs, which may be important to employers and for the national certifying exam requirements. Not all programs are offered by accredited institutions so it is important to research that as well.

Certificate programs offer a certificate of paralegal studies to those who complete their coursework. Certificate programs may target students who have previously completed a bachelor’s degree in another field and wish to supplement their degree with a focus on paralegal studies. Other certificate programs do not require a degree as a prerequisite and issue a stand-alone certificate. In Florida, only post-baccalaureate certificate programs are recognized by the FRP program. Some certificate programs in paralegal studies that don’t require a degree may meet the requirements for the CP and FCP.

Certified Paralegals (CP)

National certification, including the CP that many paralegals in Florida hold, is offered by the three national paralegal associations. The exams require education, training, or a combination of both. Information about the exams, eligibility requirements, and recertification is available here.

Currently, there are four national exams from which to select. In Florida, the CLA/CP is the exam that most paralegals choose to take because it is a prerequisite of becoming an FCP or FRP.

  • The CLA/CP offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • The PACE offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
  • The PCC also offered by National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
  • The PP offered by the Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)

Florida Certified Paralegals (FCP)

The Paralegal Association of Florida (PAF) offers the Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP) exam. To qualify to sit for this exam, paralegals must already be NALA-certified CPs and must promise to uphold high ethical and professional standards. The FCP designation helps paralegals distinguish themselves as experts in Florida state law.

Florida Registered Paralegals (FRP)

The Florida State Bar, acting under Florida Supreme Court Rule 20, offers voluntary registration of paralegals who meet eligibility criteria. In order to register as an FRP, a paralegal must meet education and experience requirements or must hold national certification from NALA or the NFPA. Paralegals can earn all three (CP, FCP, and RFP) credentials if they so desire.

What Can A Paralegal Do In Florida

Paralegals in Florida have many options when it comes to choosing a workplace. From law groups to corporations to nonprofit organizations, paralegals are in demand in Florida. Examples of potential employers of Florida paralegals include:

  • Walt Disney Parks & Resorts- Orlando
  • City of Riviera Beach – Riviera Beach
  • Butler and Hosch – Orlando
  • Wounded Warrior Project – Jacksonville
  • Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. – Bonita Springs
  • State Farm – Jacksonville
  • Wicker Smith O’Hara McCoy & Ford, P.A. – Miami
  • Frenkel Lambert Weiss Weisman & Gordon, LLP – Fort Lauderdale

florida Paralegal Associations

Now That You’re a Paralegal in Florida. Congratulations! You are now a paralegal working in the sunshine state! You might want to consider joining an optional, voluntary membership organization such as the ones below. They can help put you in touch with continuing legal education, networking opportunities, and more:

  • Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc
  • Central Florida Paralegal Association, Inc.
  • The Florida Bar
  • South Florida Paralegal Association
  • Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations

The Paralegal Association of Florida (PAF), an affiliate of NALA, is the only paralegal association that encompasses the entire state. It works to support and advocate for paralegals on the state level, especially by offering voluntary certification opportunities such as the NALA CLA/CP exam and the Florida Certified Paralegal exam. It also provides educational opportunities to aspiring and professional paralegals, including continuing legal education.

PAF has eleven chapters throughout Florida: Big Bend, Boca Raton, Brevard, Broward, First Coast, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Southwest, Suncoast, and Treasure Coast. Each of these regional groups offers monthly meetings, networking, and community service opportunities. Many members also serve as Technical Advisory Committee members at their local colleges.

Regional associations meet throughout Florida. These include the Central Florida Paralegal Association, Inc.; the Gainesville Association of Paralegals; the Northeast Florida Paralegal Association, Inc; the Northwest Florida Paralegal Association; the South Florida Paralegal Association; the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, the Gulf Coast Paralegal Association; the Southwest Florida Paralegal Association, Inc. and the Volusia Association of Paralegals.

florida paralegals working place

Law firms employ larger numbers of paralegals than any other type of business. Some of Florida’s largest law firms include:

  • Akerman Senterfitt
  • Greenberg Traurig
  • Holland & Knight
  • Adorno and Yoss
  • Shutts and Bowen
  • Broad and Cassel
  • Cole Scott Kissane
  • Gunster
  • Fowler White Boggs
  • GrayRobinson
  • Carlton Fields
  • Foley & Lardner
  • Wicker Smith O’Hara
  • Conroy Simberg
  • Stearns Weaver
  • Becker & Poliakoff
  • Morgan & Morgan
  • Fowler White Burnett
  • Shumaker Loop
  • Butler Pappas

Let’s take a look at some of the industries that paralegals can work in:

Possible Industries for paralegals includes legal services, federal government, local government, state government and corporations
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Here is a list of some of the departments you can find in a law firm:

  • Estate Planning
  • Accident
  • Corporate
  • Environmental
  • Bankruptcy
  • Immigration
  • Entertainment
  • Labor & Employment
  • Tax

This is just a small list of some of the industries and departments that paralegals can work in, but depending on how well the economy is going, some can be a little slower than others. This could result in less work for paralegals. Paralegals are not authorized to practice law, so they don’t have the option of going off to start their own firm. They must work under a practicing attorney even when they provide their services on a freelance basis.

As for the increase of advanced technologies in the legal profession, paralegals should not be overly concerned about their jobs being replaced by smart automation. You may have heard about artificial intelligence being used for eDiscovery and to evaluate potential outcomes based on case law, but the American Bar Association does not see the substantive tasks performed by paralegals going away anytime soon. The work of the most advanced AI constructs and machine learning routines need to be vetted by legal assistants and attorneys before it can be put on legal documents or court filings.

At any rate, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% growth in this profession by the year 2024. The employment rate for paralegals in the state of Florida is the second-highest in the country next to California according to the Bureau. The Miami metropolitan art is reported to have the highest concentration of jobs for legal professionals. According to these findings, the state of Florida appears to be the perfect location to work as a paralegal.

Paralegal Program at Florida National

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Florida National University (FNU), a regionally accredited educational institution situated in the South Florida area, is the perfect place to earn a paralegal degree. Depending on what your professional aspirations are, you could pursue either one of these degrees and land a rewarding career as a professional paralegal.

FNU offers two types of legal degrees:

  1. Associates of Arts in Paralegal Studies
  2. Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

Associates of Arts in Paralegal Studies

For aspiring college students who are looking to pursue a career in Paralegal Studies, FNU offers a 2-year associate’s program that involves intense courses in the subject of the American legal system. This degree will prepare you to work in any of the legal departments at an entry-level position. After successful completion of this degree program, you’ll also be eligible to work in any of the above-mentioned industries making your resume applicable to almost any law firm in the state of Florida.

Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

This degree program is specifically designed as an undergraduate course for aspiring legal professionals who might want to enroll in law school after graduation. However, it is not uncommon for a graduate from this program to go on to a professional career as a successful paralegal. Law firms will be looking for the best possible candidate to fill their paralegal position. If you happen to have a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, then this will tell the hirers that you have more educational experience with in-depth knowledge of areas such as legal research and writing, civil litigation, property law, drawing up contracts, and criminal law. Furthermore, the bachelor’s track gives you more elective choices to learn more about the legal departments listed above.

Such electives that FNU offers under this program are:

  • Immigration Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Business Organizations
  • White Collar Crime
  • Tort Law
  • Ethics in the Criminal Justice System

FNU paralegal and legal assistant degrees can be earned 100% online or at either of our campus locations in Hialeah or Miami, Florida. Consult with an FNU advisor to help you choose a course that is most convenient for your work and life schedules.

At FNU, we help make college affordable by assisting you with applying for federal loans, grants, and scholarships.

Important Contacts for Paralegals

  • The Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc.
  • Central Florida Paralegal Association, Inc.
  • The Florida Bar Association’s Florida Paralegal Resource Page
  • The Florida Supreme Court’s Rule 20 which establishes the Florida Registered Paralegal Program
  • Florida Registered Paralegal Discussion Board
  • Central Florida Paralegal Association’s FAQ about certification and registration in Florida

florida paralegal salary

The average Paralegal I salary in Florida is $56,031 as of September 27, 2021, but the range typically falls between $49,552 and $63,266. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Florida Paralegal Salary Information

Projected Job Growth

16.5%

Paralegals in Florida from 2018-2028

As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 33,760 paralegals and legal assistants working in Florida. More paralegals worked in Florida than in any other state during this time period. Job prospects for Florida paralegals are likely to be strongest in metropolitan areas hosting dense concentrations of businesses and corporations. In Florida, the job growth rate for paralegals may slightly exceed the national average, as projections call for 16.5% job growth for paralegals in the state through 2028, compared to 13.1% job growth for paralegals nationally.

The average annual salary for Florida paralegals was $52,100 as of May 2020, compared to a national average annual salary for paralegals of $56,610. However, paralegals in certain metros earn more; the average annual salary for paralegals in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area was $56,420 in 2020. This area also had one of the highest concentrations of paralegals per 1,000 jobs of all metros in the US, with 13,280 paralegals reported. Factors other than geographic location that can influence salaries include completing formal training, education, national certification, and/or legal work experience. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in August 2021.

Florida Paralegal Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Jacksonville2,020$50,740
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach13,280$56,420
Orlando-Kissimmee-SanfordN.Av.$51,060
Tallahassee950$47,120
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater5,670$48,180

florida paralegal requirements

HOW TO BECOME A PARALEGAL IN FLORIDA?

Simply follow these steps to find gainful employment as a paralegal –

  • First, spend time researching how to become a certified paralegal in Florida — using the many online education informational websites and services.
  • Next, with the above-noted research complete, learn how to become a paralegal in Florida with specialized training/certification credentials.
  • Then, enroll in (and complete) an American Bar Association-approved paralegal training program that complies with the Florida certified paralegal requirements.
  • After graduation, begin to work in the paralegal field as an intern (often offered as a part of the training course), as an entry-level paralegal, or as a volunteer. A paralegal license Florida is not required!

When ready (with enough work experience under your belt), investigate how to obtain specialized State of Florida paralegal certification and begin the process.

FLORIDA CERTIFIED PARALEGAL REQUIREMENTS

Those students interested in pursuing a paralegal education/career have the option of enrolling in one of the paralegal licensed Florida programs available with the following course delivery formats –

  • On-campus.
  • Online.
  • A hybrid format of both online and on-campus programs.

A state of Florida paralegal certification credential, however, is offered by the Florida Bar Association. The certificate is known as the Registered Paralegal Credential. The Registered Paralegal credential is entirely voluntary on the part of the Paralegal Professional; however, this credential often sets a paralegal apart from his or her competition. The paralegal requirements Florida Bar requires applicants to meet one of these educational or certification guidelines.

paralegal certificate florida

Join FAU’s distinguished Paralegal Certificate Program and prepare for a career that is projected by the Department of Labor to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2022.

FAU’s program was planned for you!

  • Each course meets online via Zoom once per week from 7-10PM for a live class session. All other course material can be viewed at your convenience
  • The convenience of an online program while still providing opportunities to network and engage with faculty, peers and the legal community
  • Full-time or part-time enrollment
  • Courses taught by practicing attorneys
  • Manageable tuition payments: Course fees are charged at the time of registration for each individual class
  • Many of our graduates go on to become certified with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

About the Program

A paralegal is a person qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity to perform specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. The program consists of 375 contact hours of legal education and is comprised of twelve courses. Attend classes three nights a week and complete the program in one year. Introduction to Law is a prerequisite for all courses and is offered twice a year.

Tuition

The tuition for the program is $3,947.00, and you pay as you go.  This means that fees for each course are payable in full at the time of registration for each individual course. You may take one course at a time, or if you want to be considered a full-time student, you must take three (3) at the same time (3-days a week) 

Transfer Student Information

FAU welcomes transfer students and will evaluate and consider waivers of coursework.An official transcript from previous post-secondary educational training will be evaluated. Courses may be accepted, waiving certain requirements within our program.

Cancelled Courses

Florida Atlantic University reserves the right to cancel or reschedule any course within the paralegal program with insufficient enrollment, or for reasons beyond our control. In either case, a full refund of fees and/or tuition fee for the course(s) will be made.  Please allow approximately 15-business days to make such a refund, and while we will expedite your refund, we must verify first your payment, confirmation of the pertaining records, and administrative review and approval before a full refund is made.