South Dakota Paralegal Requirements & Resources
Becoming a Paralegal in South Dakota
South Dakota is one of the few states that place minimum requirements on those aspiring to become a paralegal. Supreme Court Rule 97-25 does not differentiate between paralegals and legal assistants and requires all individuals employed by a license attorney as a legal assistant to meet the minimum qualifications of:
(1) Successful completion of the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) examination of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc.; or
(2) Graduation from an ABA approved program of study for legal assistants; or
(3) Graduation from a course of study for legal assistants which is institutionally accredited but not ABA approved, and which requires not less than the equivalent of sixty semester hours of classroom study; or
(4) Graduation from a course of study for legal assistants, other than those set forth in (2) and (3) above, plus not less than six months of in-house training as a legal assistant; or
(5) A baccalaureate degree in any field, plus not less than six months in-house training as a legal assistant; or
(6) A minimum of three years of law-related experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, including at least six months of in-house training as a legal assistant; or
(7) Two years of in-house training as a legal assistant.
Additionally, all legal assistants must have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED).
For purposes of these standards, “in-house training as a legal assistant” means legal education of the employee by a licensed attorney concerning legal assistant duties and these guidelines. In addition to review and analysis of assignments, the legal assistant should receive a reasonable amount of instruction directly related to the duties and obligations of the legal assistant and the Rules of Professional Conduct as stated in this chapter.
Professional Paralegal Associations
Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA)
Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (formerly Rocky Mountain Legal Assistants Association) was formed on October 2, 1973, to organize and promote the paralegal profession in the Rocky Mountain area. RMPA has grown to over 400 members and has become a major part of the legal community. RMPA represents paralegals throughout the Rocky Mountain region, serving paralegals in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming
South Dakota Paralegal Association (SDPA)
The South Dakota Paralegal Association (SDPA) is a non- profit organization established in 1989. We are an association committed to the preservation and continued growth of the paralegal profession. The purpose of the South Dakota Paralegal Association (SDPA) is to: To establish good fellowship among association members, NALA and members of the legal community; To encourage a high order of ethical and professional attainment; To further education among members of the profession; To cooperate with bar associations; To support and carry out programs, purposes, aims and goals of NALA; We are affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).