How to Become a Bankruptcy Paralegal

Are you considering a career as a bankruptcy paralegal?

A bankruptcy paralegal is just one of several different types of paralegals.

Bankruptcy Paralegal

As a bankruptcy paralegal, your main duty is to assist attorneys throughout the bankruptcy process.

A career as a bankruptcy paralegal can be gratifying.

But how do you become one?

Do you need a license?

This guide will explain the answers to those questions and provide a step-by-step guide to help you land your dream job.

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What Is a Bankruptcy Paralegal?

As mentioned earlier, a bankruptcy attorney’s main responsibility is to help attorneys in the bankruptcy process with their clients.

Bankruptcy paralegals are responsible for gathering and reviewing paperwork for draft pleadings and petitions.

They are also required to produce documents that the courts require for all bankruptcy cases.

Moreover, bankruptcy paralegals must look over bankruptcy claims and collect information from as many individuals as possible.

Paralegals must draft claims, prepare and file all legal documents, and keep a record of all files.

They may even research on the attorney’s behalf.

Steps to Become a Bankruptcy Paralegal

Here are several steps to follow so that you can begin your career as a bankruptcy paralegal:

Step 1: Education Requirements to Become a Bankruptcy Paralegal

First things first. What are the educational requirements needed to become a bankruptcy paralegal?

Usually, you’ll need to either have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in political science, legal support services, business, legal studies, or criminal justice.

However, the most commonly obtained degree for bankruptcy paralegals is a bachelor’s degree.

You can enroll in an accredited program, whether online or in person.

Step 2: Begin Developing Required Skills

There is a wide range of skills that bankruptcy paralegals must have, including, but not limited to, reviewing court documents, analyzing files, and maintaining relationships with clients.

Bankruptcy paralegals must also create other types of legal documents, including pleadings.

Paralegals should be skilled at conducting research and handling their attorney’s calendars.

Step 3: Undergo the Paralegal Training & Internships

Training will be acquired during your employment with the firm you are working for.

Besides that, you can enroll in various certificate programs and internships that may last 9 months or longer.

During your internship, you’ll work at an actual law firm, assisting both certified paralegals and attorneys.

By doing this, you’ll be able to master some of the most critical training required for your profession.

You’ll also gain a better understanding of how law offices work daily.

As an intern, you’ll be asked to assist in conducting research, drafting legal documents, and conducting client interviews.

So, what’s the purpose of an internship, you ask?

This is one of the best ways to gain experience in the field.

Even though, by this step, you will already have earned your degree, you still won’t have a full understanding of the career until you undergo hands-on experience and training.

Step 4: Assemble Your Resume

Once you have gained a strong background, you can begin preparing your paralegal resume.

There are various tools you can utilize online to make the resume-building process much easier.

For instance, Zippia’s AI resume builder is a handy tool to assist you with this process.

Using such tools will help ensure you don’t leave out pertinent information that managers like to see.

Step 5: Apply for Openings

Once you’ve assembled your bankruptcy paralegal resume, it’s time to begin your search for job openings.

But how do you go about ensuring that your job search is successful?

Be sure to check as many job boards as possible for jobs relevant to what you’re pursuing.

Also, be sure to reach out to your professional network and any companies that you’re interested in working for.

Finally, be on the lookout for job scams.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Bankruptcy Paralegal

One of the most important steps in becoming a bankruptcy paralegal is determining whether you’ll need an additional certificate and license.

However, this greatly depends on the state where you are going to be working.

Some states don’t require additional certification or licenses to be eligible to work as a bankruptcy paralegal.

If your state does require you to obtain a license, you must first ensure you have completed the necessary paralegal education.

This means you should have already earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Programs should be approved by the ABA (American Bar Association).

Moreover, certain states require you to have a certain level of experience before you can acquire the necessary certificate.

Finally, to become fully certified, you will need to pass a paralegal exam.

Check with your state licensing board for a full list of certification requirements.

Online Training Programs

Online training programs to become a bankruptcy paralegal can range in cost and length.

During your research, you’ll find that some courses last an average of seven weeks or 45 hours of study.

Here are several online programs that you can consider:

CLS by Barbri

12222 Merit Drive Suite 1340 l Dallas, TX 75251 l 800-522-7737

For bankruptcy paralegals, you can earn an advanced paralegal certificate by enrolling in the course offered at CLS.

These are courses designed to advance your legal paralegal career.

Courses start at $3,300.

It’s entirely online and flexible, giving you 24/7 access.

Every topic will be offered in a 7-week online session.

You also have the option to take anywhere between one and three topics at a time.

Duke University

Box 90700 l Durham, NC 27708 l 919-684-6259

Duke University also offers a paralegal program online for those in need of proper preparation and training.

This program is 300 hours long and is considered an advanced paralegal certificate program.

Tuition for this program must be paid in full before starting.

Tuition costs $6,995.

In addition, book costs can range from $500 to $625.

The program is self-paced and 100% online.

However, students must complete all coursework within a year of starting the program.

University of California - Berkeley Extension

UC Berkeley Extension

1995 University Ave., Suite 130 l Berkeley, CA 94704

One of the best online programs around for obtaining your paralegal certificate is through UC Berkeley.

It’s entirely affordable and students can obtain their certificate in as little as six months.

Courses here are priced differently. Estimated costs tend to be around $7,970.

This amount does not include books or registration fees.

In this course, you’ll be taught all about legal knowledge and acquire the necessary administrative skills to succeed as a bankruptcy paralegal in any state.

You’ll also learn how to properly conduct legal research and keep case files orderly.

Salary

The average salary for a bankruptcy paralegal in the United States is around $49,269.

However, depending on your experience, licensing, the state you reside in, and other criteria, your salary can range anywhere from $43,131 to $52,097.

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Alabama3,770$51,130$24.58$74,640$31,200
Alaska740$63,580$30.57$94,120$43,110
Arizona7,110$61,300$29.47$84,100$35,310
Arkansas2,160- NA -- NA -- NA -- NA -
California37,270$76,080$36.58$109,340$46,730
Colorado5,750$68,920$33.13$99,060$45,510
Connecticut4,860$67,310$32.36$91,590$46,350
Delaware1,760$68,340$32.86$99,100$41,350
District of Columbia5,580$91,880$44.17$124,650$56,780
Florida36,060$56,650$27.24$78,440$37,370
Georgia12,510$57,890$27.83$87,660$29,820
Hawaii1,150$59,690$28.70$82,310$42,270
Idaho1,500$49,930$24.00$66,940$27,100
Illinois12,370$63,590$30.57$97,100$38,060
Indiana5,590$54,080$26.00$81,840$34,820
Iowa2,570$58,310$28.04$79,260$38,260
Kansas2,680$53,440$25.69$79,630$34,710
Kentucky2,800$51,020$24.53$73,780$35,620
Louisiana5,250$52,760$25.36$75,100$35,380
Maine940$56,110$26.97$71,460$46,550
Maryland7,040$62,880$30.23$88,670$39,250
Massachusetts7,490$71,670$34.46$103,000$40,760
Michigan7,440$58,400$28.08$81,560$38,500
Minnesota6,140$63,450$30.51$94,910$39,790
Mississippi1,950$46,060$22.15$63,840$31,990
Missouri5,930$58,040$27.91$79,830$36,920
Montana1,320$58,190$27.98$79,520$41,900
Nebraska1,720$56,510$27.17$79,600$38,880
Nevada3,190$60,860$29.26$89,690$41,600
New Hampshire1,310$56,530$27.18$81,100$37,890
New Jersey9,580$65,570$31.52$96,480$38,650
New Mexico1,850$51,420$24.72$70,010$37,660
New York30,020$69,860$33.59$103,890$45,720
North Carolina12,290$56,120$26.98$81,310$35,920
North Dakota580$54,090$26.00$75,500$39,360
Ohio8,200$55,320$26.60$78,490$36,700
Oklahoma2,840$51,430$24.73$74,590$34,080
Oregon4,790$66,250$31.85$86,420$46,090
Pennsylvania11,390$64,730$31.12$92,560$39,460
Rhode Island1,320- NA -- NA -- NA -- NA -
South Carolina6,150$52,060$25.03$65,960$37,300
South Dakota500$55,290$26.58$68,120$44,300
Tennessee4,740$54,290$26.10$82,600$34,330
Texas24,600$59,970$28.83$94,540$36,300
Utah4,080$56,040$26.94$78,830$35,660
Vermont640$61,210$29.43$74,930$48,020
Virginia10,470$60,570$29.12$83,650$35,530
Washington8,020$72,590$34.90$106,510$47,960
West Virginia1,990$50,380$24.22$77,230$28,760
Wisconsin4,840$54,880$26.39$78,420$37,460
Wyoming400$52,500$25.24$65,150$36,110
Guam80$40,810$19.62$55,930$29,450
Puerto Rico710$45,220$21.74$65,670$30,560
Virgin Islands70$54,500$26.20$70,620$43,880

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $91,880.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • District of Columbia - $91,880
  • California - $76,080
  • Washington - $72,590
  • Massachusetts - $71,670
  • New York - $69,860
  • Colorado - $68,920
  • Delaware - $68,340
  • Connecticut - $67,310
  • Oregon - $66,250
  • New Jersey - $65,570
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Paralegals and Legal Assistants, OCC Code 23-2011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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