Legal Assistant Salary

Women comprise the majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. Individuals in this line of work make around $41K per year on average. In the world of Legal Assistants, overall income ranges from $25K near the bottom to $58K at the top; this can include more than $3K from bonuses and more than $6K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by the company, followed by experience level and geographic location. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Some workers in this field — more than a third — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by more than half and dental plans are enjoyed by nearly two in five. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$28,244 - $61,029
(Median)
$28K
$41K
$61K
MEDIAN: $41,192
10%
50%
90%

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$10.75 - $23.82
(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
$28,244 - $61,029  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,067  
Profit Sharing
$511 - $5,798  
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).
)
$24,746 - $58,466  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 5,515
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
$10.75 - $23.82  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00  
Overtime
$14.07 - $42.17  
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
$0.00 - $3,067  
   
Commission
$2,400  
Profit Sharing
$511 - $5,798  
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).
)
$24,746 - $58,466  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 5,210
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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' salaries may rise greatly for those who assume a higher-end position such as an Attorney. The average Attorney brings home $81K per year. A common career progression for a Legal Assistant is to become a Paralegal or a Legal Secretary. Compared to Legal Assistants, the first group earns $4K more on average, and the second group earns $5K more.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Legal Assistant


Dominating the field, Small Law Firm, Family Law Office, Office of The Public Defenders, Jackson Lewis Llp, and Shutts & Bowen, Llp are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Legal Assistants. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries at Shutts & Bowen, Llp (+$52K), Brock and Scott (+$33K), and Manley, Deas, Kochalski LLC (+$31K).

Other low-paying employers include Small Law Firm at $30K and Family Law Office at $31K, though some Legal Assistants there earn up to $50K.

Popular Skills for Legal Assistant


Survey results imply that Legal Assistants deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Document Management, Filing Court Documents, Document Preparation, and Microsoft Word are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Customer Service, Filing, and Client Interaction. Those educated in Document Preparation tend to be well versed in 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 generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $31K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $39K on average — a distinctly larger sum. After working for 10 to 20 years, Legal Assistants make a median salary of $45K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $51K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $37,026

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

Boston, Washington, and New York — America's eastern region — boast salaries above the national rate for Legal Assistants. Orlando is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 9 percent.

Legal Assistant Reviews

What is it like working as a Legal Assistant?

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.

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Experience Affects Legal Assistant Salaries




National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Legal Assistant Salaries

Document Management
up arrow 3%

Filing Court Documents
up arrow 2%

Document Preparation
up arrow 1%

Case Management
0%

Drafting Correspondence
0%

Microsoft Word
0%

National Average
$37,000

Microsoft Office
up arrow 1%

Organizing
up arrow 2%

Legal Research
up arrow 2%

Scheduling
up arrow 3%

Typing
up arrow 4%



up arrow 7%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 2105 votes.

Gender

Female
92 %
Male
8 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
19%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 61%
dental benefits
Dental: 39%
medical benefits
Vision: 28%
dental benefits
None: 37%
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