Women make up the vast majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. The average pay in this industry is approximately $15.36 per hour. Individual bonuses, profit sharing and commission for Legal Assistants — as high as $4K, $5K and $20K, respectively — each contribute to the degree of variation within overall compensation, ranging from $25K to $59K. The specific employer is the main element affecting pay for this group — tenure and geographic location are driving factors as well. Work is enjoyable for Legal Assistants, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Although more than half have medical coverage and close to two-fifths have dental coverage, roughly two-fifths claim no health benefits at all. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$28,914 - $62,439
(Median)
$29K
$41K
$62K
MEDIAN: $41,364
10%
50%
90%

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$11.02 - $23.76
(Median)
$11
$15
$24
MEDIAN: $15.00
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
$28,914 - $62,439  
   
Bonus
$99.98 - $3,883  
Profit Sharing
$489.36 - $5,453  
Commission
$-0.50 - $19,866  
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).
)
$24,935 - $58,654  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 3,631
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
$11.02 - $23.76  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.88  
Overtime
$17.29 - $43.36  
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
$99.98 - $3,883  
   
Commission
$-0.50 - $19,866  
Profit Sharing
$489.36 - $5,453  
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).
)
$24,935 - $58,654  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 3,819
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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

  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents.
  • Prepare affidavits or other documents, maintain document file and file pleadings with court clerk.
  • Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts and real estate closing statements.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
  • Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts or preparing legal 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. It is quite typical for Legal Assistants to transition into roles as Paralegals or Legal Secretaries, where reported median earnings are $5K and $5K higher per year.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Legal Assistant


Small Law Firm, Family Law Office, Manley, Deas, Kochalski LLC, Office of The Public Defenders, and Jackson Lewis Llp are among the top companies that take on many Legal Assistants. Other employers shelling out big bucks include Jackson Lewis Llp, Shutts & Bowen, Llp, and Codilis and Associates, where Legal Assistants typically earn around $63K, $52K, or $40K, respectively.

Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Small Law Firm at $30K, and Family Law Office where $31K is the norm, but it is worth noting that some Legal Assistants there earn up to $50K.

Popular Skills for Legal Assistant


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in Filing Court Documents, Drafting Correspondence, Document Management, and Document Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Customer Service, Client Interaction, and Filing. The majority of those who know 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.


Legal Assistants with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. 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. For Legal Assistants, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $46K. 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: $37,008

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

Home to some of the best pay for Legal Assistants, Washington offers exceptional salaries, 25 percent above the national average. Legal Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+22 percent), New York (+20 percent), Seattle (+19 percent), and Chicago (+18 percent). Trailing the national average by 14 percent, Orlando is the market with the smallest paychecks.

Legal Assistant Reviews

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.

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Experience Affects Legal Assistant Salaries




National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Legal Assistant Salaries

Filing Court Documents
up arrow 2%

Document Management
up arrow 1%

Drafting Correspondence
up arrow 1%

Document Preparation
0%

National Average
$37,000

Case Management
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 1%

Scheduling
up arrow 3%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 3%

Organizing
up arrow 3%

Legal Research
up arrow 3%

Typing
up arrow 4%



up arrow 6%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 1135 votes.

Gender

Female
91 %
Male
9 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
16%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
17%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 59%
dental benefits
Dental: 39%
medical benefits
Vision: 29%
dental benefits
None: 39%
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