Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary

Women account for the majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. The entire group has an average salary of $45K per year. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $5K and $5K, respectively — total cash payment to Legal Assistants can bottom out near $27K or peak near $67K depending on individual performance. Residence and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Some workers in this field — more than a third — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a majority and dental plans are enjoyed by more than two-fifths. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Legal Assistants. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$30,734 - $70,116
$31K
$45K
$70K
MEDIAN: $44,923
10%
50%
90%

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$12.05 - $26.02
$12
$17
$26
MEDIAN: $17.19
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$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$30,734 - $70,116  
   
Bonus
$201.61 - $4,911  
Profit Sharing
$394.53 - $5,186  
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).
)
$27,051 - $67,178  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 453
© PayScale, Inc. @ www.payscale.com
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
$12.05 - $26.02  
   
Hourly Tips
$5.00  
Overtime
$17.91 - $44.55  
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
$201.61 - $4,911  
   
Profit Sharing
$394.53 - $5,186  
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).
)
$27,051 - $67,178  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 378
© PayScale, Inc. @ www.payscale.com

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Job Description for Paralegal / Legal Assistant

A paralegal (also known as a legal assistant) works in a law office for one or more attorneys to assist them in the execution of their practice. Many times a paralegal will be called upon to type written notes or transcribe recordings of meetings or telephone calls. A paralegal must also be organized and comfortable with research and document drafting; they also must have outstanding written and verbal communications skills.

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Paralegal / Legal Assistant Tasks

  • Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts or preparing legal documents.
  • Direct and coordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas.
  • Call upon witnesses to testify at hearing.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents.

Common Career Paths for Paralegal / Legal Assistant


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Legal Assistants may progress into high-paying roles like Attorney, where median compensation is $81K annually. A Legal Assistant may also move into a role as a Paralegal or a Paralegal or Legal Assistant.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Paralegal / Legal Assistant


Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Online Research, Legal Research, Litigation Case Management, and Document Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 11 percent and 13 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Organizing, Microsoft Excel, and Filing Court Documents. Those educated in Client Interaction tend to be well versed in Case Management. It is often found that people who know Document Preparation are also skilled in Filing Court Documents, Case Management, and Document Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Paralegal / 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. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $35K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $45K. Legal Assistants bring in $50K after working for 10 to 20 years. Seasoned workers who boast more than two decades of relevant experience enjoy a median salary of $56K, which is substantially larger than the medians reported by folks with fewer years on their resumes.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,988

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

Washington is home to an above-average pay rate for Legal Assistants, 55 percent higher than the national average. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Los Angeles (+22 percent), Seattle (+19 percent), Dallas (+18 percent), and New York (+6 percent). Location significantly influences compensation, with Oklahoma City Legal Assistants earning much less — 20 percent less — than the national average. Columbus and Richmond are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 18 percent lower and 12 percent lower, respectively.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Paralegal / Legal Assistant?

Paralegal / Legal Assistant in Baltimore:
`"$Headline."`
Pros: Investigatory work, interviewing witnesses, drafting legal documents, work flexibility, relaxed atmosphere,
Cons: Purely administrative tasks.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant in Palo Alto:
`"$Engaging, though tedious."`
Pros: I enjoy working with people in a dynamic and challenging environment and working together to surmount difficult problems.
Cons: I don't enjoy the high level of administrative work that comes with billing and managing invoices.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant in Fort Hood:
`"$Paralegal."`
Pros: I am very well organized and well planned. I like being able to work directly with my attorney and know exactly what I need to do to assist him. I enjoy managing files and records for all court actions.
Cons: Under paid, over worked, no overtime pay.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Gender

Female
91 %
Male
9 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 116 votes.
Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
15%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
19%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries

▲36%

▲21%

▲9%

National Average
$41,000

▼14%

Skills That Affect Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 116 votes.

Gender

Female
91 %
Male
9 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
15%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
19%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 64%
dental benefits
Dental: 42%
vision benefits
Vision: 36%
dental benefits
None: 35%
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