Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary
Women make up the vast majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. The average pay in this industry is approximately $45K per year. In the world of Legal Assistants, total cash compensation can vary between $27K and $67K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $5K and $6K, respectively. Location and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most Legal Assistants like their work and job satisfaction is high. Although around one in three lack health benefits of any kind, the larger part do enjoy medical insurance, and more than two-fifths get dental coverage, too. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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.Read More...
In many operations, the attorneys may turn to their legal assistants to help with research and reporting. The paralegal is frequently be called on to draft legal documents as well. Additionally, the paralegal is often be tasked with maintaining the office, including making sure supplies are purchased as needed. Because a practice's attorney are frequently busy away from the office, the paralegal may be the first point of interaction for clients. They also usually handle a great deal of scheduling of meetings for the attorney, including appearances in court, depositions, and other obligations.
While many law offices consider individuals for this position who possess high school diplomas (or the equivalent), larger practices increasingly prefer individuals with some sort of secondary training in office or legal administration. Paralegals also need to be familiar with basic computer software, such as Microsoft Word and Excel.
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.
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Popular Skills for Paralegal / Legal Assistant
Legal Assistants report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Legal Research, Online Research, Litigation Case Management, and Document Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 8 percent and 13 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Organizing, Typing, and Microsoft Excel. It is often found that people who know Client Interaction are also skilled in Case Management. Those proficient in Document Preparation are, more often than not, 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 who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $35K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $43K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $49K. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of around $55K.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Legal Assistants in Washington enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 39 percent above the national average. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+23 percent), Denver (+20 percent), Los Angeles (+18 percent), and Dallas (+15 percent). Falling short of the national average by 20 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Oklahoma City. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Columbus (18 percent lower) and Richmond (12 percent lower).
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