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Unlike attorneys, paralegals are not required to obtain state licenses or certifications to practice in the legal field. As such, there are no restrictions prohibiting individuals convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony from seeking employment as a paralegal. Potential employers will make that determination during the hiring process. Individuals who want to become paralegals should discuss any previous criminal record thoroughly with employers during the interview process.
Types of Convictions
Depending on the type of misdemeanor conviction you received, employers may consider the infraction a question of moral character. For example, a misdemeanor family violence conviction is usually seen as a worse offense than a misdemeanor driving infraction even if alcohol or drugs were involved. Convictions dealing with embezzlement, identity theft, or aggravated violence will be much more difficult to explain to a potential employer because so much of a paralegal's job deals directly with confidential information. In the end, it is strictly up to the law firm to determine policy on hiring convicted paralegals.
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