Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary

Women comprise the majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. Individuals in this line of work make around $43K annually on average. The income range spans the entire spectrum between $26K and $62K per year. In the world of Legal Assistants, overall cash allowance can occasionally include more than $4K from bonuses and, in some exceptional cases, $6K from profit sharing, causing incomes to vary widely between $26K and $62K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. While some workers in this profession — over a third — do not have any health coverage, a majority do receive medical benefits and approximately two in five have dental insurance. The majority of Legal Assistants claim high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$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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Legal Assistants may progress into high-paying roles like Attorney, where median compensation is $81K annually. The most common career progression for Legal Assistants leads to becoming a Paralegal, where average pay is $41K annually. However, many Legal Assistants also opt to become Paralegal or Legal Assistants. Typically, a Paralegal or Legal Assistant brings home $37K.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Paralegal / Legal Assistant


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. 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. For most people, competency in Client Interaction indicates knowledge of 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.


For many Legal Assistants, more experience generally translates to higher pay. The average beginner in this position makes around $34K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $41K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $48K in this role. 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.

For Legal Assistants, working in the bustling city of Seattle has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Legal Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+35 percent), Denver (+27 percent), New York (+18 percent), and Los Angeles (+18 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 17 percent south of the national average, can be found in Oklahoma City. Employers pay around 15 percent less in Columbus and 12 percent less in Tampa, 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 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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