Legal Assistant Salary

Women make up the vast majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. The average pay in this industry is approximately $15.39 per hour. In the world of Legal Assistants, overall income ranges from $25K near the bottom to $59K at the top; this can include more than $4K from bonuses and more than $5K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the specific employer, followed by tenure and location. The majority of Legal Assistants claim high levels of job satisfaction. Some workers in this field — close to two-fifths — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by the larger part and dental plans are enjoyed by two in five. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$28,895 - $62,636
$29K
$41K
$63K
MEDIAN: $41,318
10%
50%
90%

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$11.09 - $23.69
$11
$15
$24
MEDIAN: $15.39
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$28,895 - $62,636  
   
Bonus
$100.31 - $3,912  
Profit Sharing
$427.12 - $5,171  
Commission
$2,400  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$24,985 - $58,537  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 3,594
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$11.09 - $23.69  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.88  
Overtime
$17.16 - $43.32  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$100.31 - $3,912  
   
Commission
$2,400  
Profit Sharing
$427.12 - $5,171  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$24,985 - $58,537  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 3,916

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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Job Description for Legal Assistant

A legal assistant, also called a paralegal, works either with individual lawyers at a firm or with legal teams. He or she helps lawyers with their caseloads by performing research, searching through documents and evidence, facilitating interviews, preparing memos and providing any other assistance before and during trial proceedings. One of the key roles of a legal assistant is to help lawyers with preparing and prioritizing evidence. A legal assistant is typically tasked with looking through this potential evidence, marking passages and pages for further study by case attorneys. The legal assistant may also be tasked with providing reports and summaries of the evidence for circulation among the legal team.

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Legal Assistant Tasks

  • Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts or preparing legal documents.
  • Direct and coordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas.
  • Call upon witnesses to testify at hearing.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents.

Common Career Paths for Legal Assistant


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Legal Assistants who transition into an Attorney role may receive large pay increases as the latter position pays an average $81K per year. Paralegals or Legal Secretaries are common next-step roles for Legal Assistants moving up in their careers; annual pay for Paralegals is $5K higher on average, and it's $6K higher for Legal Secretaries.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Legal Assistant


Leading companies who hire large numbers of Legal Assistants include Small Law Firm, Manley, Deas, Kochalski LLC, FosterQuan, LLP, Office of The Public Defenders, and Shutts & Bowen, Llp. Other leaders in compensation levels are Jackson Lewis Llp at $63K, Shutts & Bowen, Llp at $52K, and Codilis and Associates, where Legal Assistants annually earn $40K.

Other low-paying employers include Family Law Office at $27K and Small Law Firm at $30K, though some Legal Assistants there earn up to $40K.

Popular Skills for Legal Assistant


Legal Assistants report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Filing Court Documents, Drafting Correspondence, Document Management, and Document Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Customer Service, Client Interaction, and Filing. Most people experienced in Document Preparation also know Client Interaction, Case Management, and Document Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Legal Assistant

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


For many Legal Assistants, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $32K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $40K on average — a distinctly larger sum. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $45K. Legal Assistants who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $51K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $36,928

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Legal Assistants, working in the bustling city of Washington has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+22 percent), San Francisco (+21 percent), New York (+20 percent), and Chicago (+16 percent). Orlando is the lowest-paying area, 16 percent south of the national average.

Legal Assistant Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Legal Assistant?

Legal Assistant in Denver:
Pros: Small Firm so close interaction and bond between staff. Leadership role in marketing meetings & firm meetings. Cases I work on.
Cons: Overworked & underpaid as I was hired to be a Legal Assistant, but am having to also be the receptionist thus making to overwhelming/stressful with so much to do.

Legal Assistant in Virginia Beach:
"Good Work Environment."
Pros: Hanger Law has an excellent community. Employees are cooperative rather than competitive which fosters a friendly and enjoyable environment.
Cons: After three years of experience, there has not been much room for growth in my position, nor has there been much compensation for experience.

Legal Assistant in Sacramento:
"I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my job!..."
Pros: I LOVE my job...but its mainly because I have AMAZING attorneys that I work for...and our office is great we are like a small tight knit family ...we work as a team and each of us has our own very important part we play in how each file is handled.
Cons: Ordering medical records and billing from certain hospitals in sacramento area ...grrrrr.

Legal Assistant in Dallas:
Pros: I like that I have job security since there are few employees and a LOT of work.
Cons: No structure, no sick pay, no time surveillance, no formal company policies.

Legal Assistant in Arlington:
"Flexibility, Stressful At Times, Meaningful Work, Deadlines"
Pros: Helping those who cannot represent themselves through guardian services, conservatorships, and executing estate planning and Trust documents;
Cons: Negative aspects of management, office politics, sharp deadlines.

Legal Assistant in Washington:
"Not Exactly What I Had In Mind."
Pros: Our vacation and sick leave are bunched together so you can accrue and use your paid leave as you wish.
Cons: Most of the time, my work is mundane, tedious, and underwhelming. For the most part, I am uninspired and not stimulated intellectually.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Legal Assistant

Gender

Female
91 %
Male
9 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 1148 votes.
Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
16%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
17%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Legal Assistant Salaries

▲38%

▲23%

▲7%

National Average
$37,000

▼14%

Skills That Affect Legal Assistant Salaries




Document Preparation
▼0%

Case Management
▼0%

National Average
$37,000


▼2%


▼3%

▼4%



▼5%



Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 1148 votes.

Gender

Female
91 %
Male
9 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
16%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
17%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 58%
dental benefits
Dental: 39%
vision benefits
Vision: 29%
dental benefits
None: 40%
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