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Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary

Most Legal Assistants in the United States are women. The median pay for people in this role is approximately $40K per year. Pay ranges from $25K on the low end to $59K per year on the high end. Total cash compensation to Legal Assistants bottoms out near $25K and approaches $59K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $4K from bonuses and almost $6K from profit sharing. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Health benefits are not claimed by all — roughly two in five lack any form of coverage — but the larger part have medical insurance, and more than a third have dental, too. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$27,924 - $60,456
(Median)
$28K
$40K
$60K
MEDIAN: $40,364
10%
50%
90%

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$10.44 - $23.86
(Median)
$10
$15
$24
MEDIAN: $15.00
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$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$27,924 - $60,456  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,891  
Profit Sharing
$902 - $5,667  
Commission
$0.00 - $2,035  
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).
)
$24,840 - $58,526  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,638
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$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$10.44 - $23.86  
   
Overtime
$15.02 - $38.94  
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$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,891  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $2,035  
Profit Sharing
$902 - $5,667  
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).
)
$24,840 - $58,526  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,339

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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

  • 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 Paralegal / 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. It is not unusual for a Legal Assistant to become a Paralegal or a Paralegal or Legal Assistant.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Paralegal / Legal Assistant


Legal Assistants report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Legal Compliance, Litigation Case Management, and Microsoft Office are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 20 percent, 16 percent, and 11 percent, respectively. Skill sets containing Document Preparation also tend to include Filing Court Documents, Case Management, and Document Management. Those familiar with Client Interaction also tend to know Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Paralegal / 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. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $32K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $40K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $46K. 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 $50K.

Pay Difference by Location


Legal Assistants will find that Seattle offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 34 percent. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+32 percent), Denver (+27 percent), Los Angeles (+26 percent), and Chicago (+24 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Fort Lauderdale, 7 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 6 percent less in Tampa and 3 percent less in Las Vegas, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Reviews

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

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

United States (change)

Experience Affects Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries




National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 524 votes.

Gender

Female
91 %
Male
9 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 59% dental benefits Dental: 36%
vision benefits Vision: 25% employee benefits None: 40%
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