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Legal Assistant Salary

The nationwide average salary for Legal Assistants is $40K annually, but those working at Jackson Lewis Llp can pull down an average $63K. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
$27,580 - $59,262
(Median)
28K
33K
40K
50K
59K
MEDIAN: $40,379
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

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$10.30 - $23.34
(Median)
10
12
15
19
23
MEDIAN: $14.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

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Show Annual Salary Show Hourly Rate

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
$27,580 - $59,262  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,996  
Profit Sharing
$507 - $6,302  
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).
)
$24,263 - $57,006  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 4,507
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
$10.30 - $23.34  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $1.44  
Overtime
$12.99 - $40.11  
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 - $2,996  
   
Commission
$600 - $9,000  
Profit Sharing
$507 - $6,302  
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).
)
$24,263 - $57,006  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 4,204
United States (change)

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 may go on to top-notch roles like Attorney, where median pay is $80K annually. Legal Assistants moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Paralegals or Legal Secretarys. The median paychecks in those roles are $5K higher and $6K higher, respectively.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Legal Assistant

Popular Skills for Legal Assistant


Survey results imply that Legal Assistants deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Most notably, skills in Litigation Case Management, Document Management, Filing Court Documents, and Document Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 20 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Customer Service. Most people skilled in Client Interaction are similarly competent in Case Management. Those familiar with Document Preparation tend to be well versed in Filing Court Documents, 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. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $31K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $38K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Legal Assistants make a median salary of $45K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $49K.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Legal Assistants in Boston enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 36 percent above the national average. Legal Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+23 percent), Portland (+20 percent), Washington (+19 percent), and Chicago (+17 percent). Tampa is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 3 percent.

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

Experience Affects Legal Assistant Salaries




National Average
$36,000


Skills That Affect Legal Assistant Salaries



Filing Court Documents
up arrow 4%

Document Preparation
up arrow 3%

Case Management
up arrow 2%

Drafting Correspondence
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 2%

Scheduling
0%

Organizing
0%

Legal Research
0%

National Average
$36,000

Office Administration
up arrow 2%

Typing
up arrow 2%

Client Interaction
up arrow 3%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 2032 votes.

Gender

Female
92 %
Male
8 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 62% dental benefits Dental: 38%
vision benefits Vision: 26% employee benefits None: 36%