Paralegal and Legal Secretary Scholarships
Work in Law Without the Lawyer Headaches
Legal careers don’t always require law school degrees and passing the bar exam. Attorneys need help servicing clients, so they turn to assistants like paralegal professionals and legal secretaries. Paralegals are trained to perform research, organize legal documents and interview key individuals involved in legal proceedings.
Paralegal programs are offered through a variety of learning institutions – granting associate’s and bachelors degrees, as well as paralegal certificates. In some cases, college and university paralegal programs require students to hold four-year degrees, before entering paralegal training. Community colleges and vocational education institutions often require only high school diplomas to enroll. To ensure that your paralegal education is preparatory for employment within the profession, see that your school’s program is accredited by the American Bar Association.
Legal representation is required for business and personal property transactions, probate and estate matters, and in criminal and civil court. Opportunities within the profession are widespread, so financial aid efforts strive to meet the college funding needs of a diverse student body.
For aspiring legal secretaries and would-be paralegals, professional organizations and individual campus programs provide the greatest access to financial assistance. Your exceptional academic record and passion for paralegal work are starting points for college cash pursuits, use these outstanding attributes to land paralegal scholarships.
Professional Organization Scholarships
Most professional organizations support and encourage education. To help educate steady streams of well-trained workers, industry associations and professional groups provide funding for scholarships and grants, designed to increase college access for promising students.
Paralegals are integral parts of the legal system, so the vocation is supported by national and regional organizations. National professional paralegal organizations maintain financial aid funds, and additional resources are put-forth by individual, local chapters and affiliated foundations. These examples illustrate the types of aid commonly available for paralegal schooling:
The premier professional organization for paralegals is the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. The NFPA sponsors the Thomson/Reuters Scholarship, which generously recognizes outstanding paralegal students. Besides academic excellence, successful scholarship candidates are also able to craft well-written essays, about assigned topics related to the field. Applicants are required to maintain student memberships in the NFPA to be considered for the organization’s scholarships. Recent awards are valued at up to $3500 each.
American Association for Paralegal Education Scholarships are awarded annually to outstanding student-members. The annual research and writing competition for honors scholars yields winners who each walk away with scholarships valued at $500.
Cleveland Association of Paralegals funds the Joy King Memorial Scholarship. Funds are reserved for students pursuing paralegal education at area schools. Winners land $500 each, to be applied to paralegal program tuition. Outstanding academics and impressive essay submissions determine winners.
State Bar of Michigan – Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section sponsors a minimum of two annual scholarships for aspiring paralegal professionals. The Michigan program carries these stipulations:
- Funds are used for tuition and books
- Scholarships are not renewable
- A minimum of two awards are granted annually, with values determined by available funding
- Recent awards provided $250-$1000 for each winner
- Eligible applicants are enrolled in Paralegal/Legal Assistant programs
- Programs grant degrees or certificates leading to employment in the field
- College of attendance is located within the State of Michigan
North Carolina Paralegal Association is committed to paralegal education in the state, providing financial incentives for textbooks, tuition and other higher education fees. Winners of the Associations essay contest, held annually between October and January, can also use scholarship funding for certification examination fees.
Wake County students benefit from a paralegal scholarship program that grants $500 to each winner. The Camille Stell Scholarship recognizes promising paralegal students attending college within the North Carolina County.
Nancy McLaughlin Scholarships go to members affiliated with the Capital Area Paralegal Association. The minimum annual value of the award is $250, but when additional funds are available, scholarships are worth more.
Legal Assistant/Paralegal Scholarships From Campus Programs
Hillsborough Community College, outside Tampa, administers Tampa Legal Secretaries Association Scholarships. Qualified students, demonstrating academic promise, commitment to the field. and financial need, receive tuition relief from the scholarship fund.
The Paralegal Studies Program at Cal State-Los Angeles offers a number of students scholarships from the Law Offices of Manuel Hidalgo. Qualified students receive partial tuition relief, plus a small stipend for books. The Paralegal Program at Cal State is part of the Extended Education program and provides a certificate in Paralegal Studies.
Chippewa Valley Technical College, in Wisconsin, offers a wide range of professional education programs, including paralegal studies. Scholarships available to qualifying students include:
- Chippewa Falls Rotary Club Scholarships offer up to $300 each, to students in business related programs, including paralegal studies. Qualified students are local residents, and maintain GPA standards of at least 3.0.
- A $100 award is funded by the Joanne Dow Memorial Scholarship. The program is open to aspiring paralegals, with preference given to those with records of community involvement.
Elgin Community College sponsors the Judge Ernest Akemann Scholarship, which is awarded to an outstanding law student or paralegal. Qualified applicants are enrolled full-time, and have at least a 3.0 GPA.
Paralegal students enrolled at Roosevelt University, in Chicago, may be eligible for as much as $3,000 worth of annual scholarship money. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Awards are given to winning applicants, based on essays they submit. Participants are assigned essay topics related to the paralegal field. To pursue paralegal education at the school, the university’s paralegal program requires students to possess a previously earned Bachelor’s Degree – in any major.
Corporate sponsors, like law firms and other companies working in the legal field, provide scholarship funding for legal professionals. For example: The law firm of Warner, Norcross and Judd awards three scholarships annually, to students pursuing paralegal and legal secretary education. The generous scholarships provide $2000 to each year’s paralegal studies winner, and $1000 each to promising legal secretary students. Preference for winning is given to minority applicants exhibiting high levels of financial need.