Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary

Most Legal Assistants in the United States are women. The median pay for people in this role is approximately $43K per year. Earnings sit near $26K on the lower side but can approach $62K per year on the higher side. Total cash compensation to Legal Assistants bottoms out near $26K and approaches $62K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $4K from bonuses and almost $6K from profit sharing. Location and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Although more than a third lack health benefits of any kind, the greater part do enjoy medical insurance, and roughly two in five get dental coverage, too. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$29,424 - $63,907
(Median)
$29K
$43K
$64K
MEDIAN: $42,709
10%
50%
90%

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$11.25 - $24.91
(Median)
$11
$16
$25
MEDIAN: $15.00
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$22K$44K$66K
Salary
$29,424 - $63,907  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,568  
Profit Sharing
$498.33 - $5,544  
Commission
$0.00  
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).
)
$25,919 - $62,227  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,061
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$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$11.25 - $24.91  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.94  
Overtime
$14.36 - $41.32  
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$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,568  
   
Commission
$0.00  
Profit Sharing
$498.33 - $5,544  
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).
)
$25,919 - $62,227  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 809
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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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As Legal Assistants transition into upper-level roles such as Attorney, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Attorneys earn $81K on average per year. Becoming a Paralegal is, more often than not, the most common role that Legal Assistants move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. The average salary for the position is $41K. Another frequent advance is for Legal Assistants to assume a Paralegal or Legal Assistant role; in this role, workers often earn $37K.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Paralegal / Legal Assistant


Legal Assistants seem to require a rather large skill set. 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 22 percent, 15 percent, and 5 percent, respectively. 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.


Legal Assistants generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $34K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $41K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $48K. Legal Assistants with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $52K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $39,410

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

With a pay rate for Legal Assistants that is 38 percent greater than the national average, Seattle offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+35 percent), Denver (+27 percent), New York (+18 percent), and Los Angeles (+18 percent). Oklahoma City is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 17 percent. Workers in Columbus and Tampa earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (15 percent less and 12 percent less, respectively).

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Reviews

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.

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Experience Affects Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries




National Average
$39,000


Skills That Affect Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries





Case Management
up arrow 3%

Legal Research
up arrow 3%

Document Management
up arrow 3%

Drafting Correspondence
up arrow 3%

Organizing
up arrow 3%

Client Interaction
up arrow 2%

Typing
up arrow 2%

Office Administration
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 1%

Document Preparation
0%

Filing Court Documents
0%

National Average
$39,000

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 293 votes.

Gender

Female
90 %
Male
10 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
17%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 62%
dental benefits
Dental: 39%
medical benefits
Vision: 28%
dental benefits
None: 37%
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