Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary (United States)

Paralegals in the United States are largely women. The group as a whole has a nationwide average of $36,370 annually for pay. Compensation generally starts at $24,448 and does not exceed $57,596 per year. Overall incomes of Paralegals—including $3,976 bonuses, $5,852 profit sharing proceeds, and $13,702 commissions on the more lucrative end—ranges between $27,297 and $59,429. Geographic location and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Health benefits are not claimed by all—40 percent lack any form of coverage—but more than half have medical insurance, and about a third have dental, too. For the most part, Paralegals enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary (?
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.
)
$27,297 - $59,429
(Median)
27K
40K
49K
59K
MEDIAN: $39,504
10%
50%
75%
90%
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Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary (?
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.
)
$10.18 - $23.49
(Median)
10
12
15
19
23
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
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
$27,297 - $59,429  
   
Bonus
$48.68 - $3,976  
Profit Sharing
$888 - $5,852  
Commission
$0.00 - $13,702  
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).
)
$24,448 - $57,596  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 2,501
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
$10.18 - $23.49  
   
Overtime
$14.88 - $38.95  
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
$48.68 - $3,976  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $13,702  
Profit Sharing
$888 - $5,852  
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).
)
$24,448 - $57,596  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 2,032
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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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Paralegals' salaries may rise greatly in accordance with career advancement. Those who assume a higher-end position such as an Lawyer may get paid an extra $44K per year. It is not uncommon for a Paralegal to continue on to become a Paralegal or Legal Assistant or a Corporate Paralegal.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Survey takers working as Paralegals report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Litigation Case Management, Legal Compliance, Microsoft Word, and Organizing are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 20 percent, 13 percent, 12 percent, and 12 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Spanish Language. Those proficient in Document Preparation are, more often than not, also skilled in Filing Court Documents, Case Management, and Document Management. Most people who know Client Interaction also know Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Paralegals with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher salaries. Though starting salaries approximate $33K, they climb to $39K after five to 10 years. Compensation is $45K after 10 to 20 years. Salaries tend to grow less rapidly after achieving 20 years of experience, with more senior Paralegals earning an average of $49K per year. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 18 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise 6 percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 14 percent. A majority of respondents report one to nine years of experience.

Pay Difference By Location

San Francisco
up arrow 34%
Washington
up arrow 28%
Los Angeles
up arrow 25%
up arrow 24%
up arrow 23%
Phoenix
up arrow 14%
Chicago
up arrow 13%
Miami
up arrow 13%
Philadelphia
up arrow 13%
Dallas
up arrow 11%
Houston
up arrow 9%
Austin
up arrow 8%
National Average
$36,000
Las Vegas
up arrow 1%
Atlanta
up arrow 2%
Orlando
up arrow 14%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Paralegals, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 34 percent above the national average. Other big spenders include Washington, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle, top-paying cities where Paralegals see paychecks higher than average (+28 percent, +25 percent, +24 percent, and +23 percent). The lowest-paying market is Orlando, which sits 14 percent below the national average. Employers in Atlanta and Las Vegas also lean toward paying below-median salaries (-2 percent and -1 percent, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries

National Average
$36,000

Skills That Affect Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries

up arrow 9%
Microsoft Office
up arrow 4%
Filing Court Documents
up arrow 3%
Legal Research
0%
National Average
$36,000
Spanish Language
up arrow 6%

Job Satisfaction

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Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 888 votes.

Gender

Female
90%
female alumni
 
Male
10%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 58% dental benefits Dental: 36%
vision benefits Vision: 23% employee benefits None: 40%
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