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Legal Assistant Salary

The three highest-paying cities for Legal Assistants can all be found on the East Coast: Boston, New York, and Washington. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$27,721 - $59,749
(Median)
$28K
$41K
$60K
MEDIAN: $40,752
10%
50%
90%

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$10.42 - $23.55
(Median)
$10
$15
$24
MEDIAN: $14.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$20K$40K$60K
Salary
$27,721 - $59,749  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,993  
Profit Sharing
$508 - $6,257  
Commission
$600 - $9,000  
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).
)
$24,441 - $57,566  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 4,694
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$10.42 - $23.55  
   
Overtime
$12.65 - $40.75  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,993  
   
Commission
$600 - $9,000  
Profit Sharing
$508 - $6,257  
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).
)
$24,441 - $57,566  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 4,369

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Job Description for Legal Assistant

A legal assistant works with attorneys to help them with their casework. Attention to detail is necessary. The assistant will research legal precedents and investigate facts of cases to determine appropriate causes of action and help prepare cases for settlement or litigation. A strong command of the English language and legal terminology are required, as the legal assistant will prepare legal documents such as affidavits, briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts, real estate closing documents, and client communication. The assistant will also maintain document files and file pleadings with the clerk of court, so an applicant must have a working knowledge of the court system. The job includes gathering research data to analyze for attorney use, such as statutes, previous court decisions, legal articles, legal codes, and other necessary documents. A legal assistant will also call on witnesses to testify at court hearings and arbitration or moderation sessions. The position also requires that the employee direct and coordinate activity for the law office, including the delivery of subpoenas and the review of incoming documents. The assistant is expected to maintain a professional demeanor in dealing with clients of the law firm and court personnel as well as coworkers, and is expected to be able to meet strict deadlines. A legal assistant must be able to work under pressure and produce reliable results, as their work is the foundation of the attorneys’ cases. While the position has standard office hours Monday through Friday, it is expected that there will be additional work as necessary to meet deadlines.


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. Career advancement for the typical Legal Assistant often leads to becoming a Paralegal or a Legal Secretary; median salaries in these positions are $5K higher and $5K higher, respectively.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Legal Assistant

Popular Skills for Legal Assistant


Legal Assistants report using a large range 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 pay less than market rate include Customer Service, Filing, and Client Interaction. People who know Document Preparation usually also know Filing Court Documents, Case Management, and Document Management. It is often found that people who know Client Interaction are also skilled in Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Legal Assistant

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


Legal Assistants who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. The average beginner in this position makes around $31K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $38K. Legal Assistants with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $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 $50K.

Pay Difference by Location


Legal Assistants in search of higher pay head east. Boston, New York, and Washington all offer salaries above the national rate. Tampa ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 3 percent below the national average.

Legal Assistant Reviews

What is it like working as a Legal Assistant?

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

United States (change)

Experience Affects Legal Assistant Salaries




National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Legal Assistant Salaries


Filing Court Documents
up arrow 3%

Document Preparation
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 2%

Case Management
up arrow 1%

Drafting Correspondence
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 1%

Organizing
0%

National Average
$37,000

Scheduling
up arrow 1%

Legal Research
up arrow 1%

Typing
up arrow 2%

Client Interaction
up arrow 3%

Office Administration
up arrow 3%

up arrow 6%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 2037 votes.

Gender

Female
92 %
Male
8 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 62% dental benefits Dental: 39%
vision benefits Vision: 27% employee benefits None: 36%