Legal Assistant Salary

Legal Assistants in the United States are largely female. The average salary of the entire group is approximately $41K per year. Final cash compensation to Legal Assistants varies from around $25K to approximately $58K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $3K and $6K, respectively. This group's pay is mainly influenced by the particular firm, followed by career length and geographic location. While some workers in this profession — more than a third — do not have any health coverage, a majority do receive medical benefits and about two-fifths have dental insurance. Work is enjoyable for Legal Assistants, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$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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At the upper end, Legal Assistants who move into an Attorney role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Attorneys is a much higher $81K per year. Career advancement for the typical Legal Assistant often leads to becoming a Paralegal or a Legal Secretary; median salaries in these positions are $4K higher and $5K higher, respectively.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Legal Assistant


Small Law Firm, Family Law Office, Office of The Public Defenders, Jackson Lewis Llp, and Shutts & Bowen, Llp are some prominent firms with considerable interest in employing a large team of Legal Assistants. Shutts & Bowen, Llp, Brock and Scott, and Manley, Deas, Kochalski LLC are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Legal Assistants earning around $52K, $33K, or $31K at each firm, respectively.

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 respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in Document Management, Filing Court Documents, Document Preparation, and Microsoft Word are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Customer Service, Filing, and Client Interaction. Most people skilled in Document Preparation are similarly competent 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 with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $31K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $39K. Legal Assistants claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $45K. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $51K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $37,026

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

Legal Assistants in Boston, Washington, and New York — all eastern cities in the United States — make more than the national average for those in this profession. They also represent the three highest-paid locations for Legal Assistants in this country. Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Orlando, 9 percent below the national average.

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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