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Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary (United States)

Pay for Legal Assistants in the United States is very modest at just $40K per year. Cash earnings for Legal Assistants — including $4K in bonuses and $6K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $24K to $58K depending on individual performance. Residence and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The vast majority (90 percent) of Legal Assistants who took the survey are female. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Some workers in this field — roughly two in five — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by the greater part and dental plans are enjoyed by more than a third. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
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.
)
$27,304 - $59,638
(Median)
27K
40K
49K
60K
MEDIAN: $39,692
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.
)
$10.22 - $23.45
(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
$27,304 - $59,638  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,991  
Profit Sharing
$883 - $5,606  
Commission
$0.00 - $13,906  
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).
)
$24,479 - $57,594  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 2,104
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
$10.22 - $23.45  
   
Overtime
$14.89 - $38.58  
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 - $3,991  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $13,906  
Profit Sharing
$883 - $5,606  
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).
)
$24,479 - $57,594  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,729
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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 go on to top-notch roles like Attorney, where median pay is $80K annually. 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

Survey results imply that Legal Assistants deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Most notably, facility with Legal Compliance, Litigation Case Management, and Microsoft Word are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 20 percent, 19 percent, and 12 percent, respectively. Those familiar with Document Preparation tend to be well versed in Filing Court Documents, Case Management, and Document Management. Those proficient in Client Interaction are, more often than not, also skilled in Case 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, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $32K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $39K on average — a distinctly larger sum. For Legal Assistants, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $45K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $49K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference By Location

San Francisco
up arrow 36%
Washington
up arrow 31%
Los Angeles
up arrow 25%
up arrow 23%
up arrow 22%
up arrow 16%
Miami
up arrow 13%
Phoenix
up arrow 13%
Philadelphia
up arrow 12%
Dallas
up arrow 8%
Houston
up arrow 7%
Atlanta
0%
National Average
$37,000
Austin
up arrow 2%
Tampa
up arrow 6%
Orlando
up arrow 12%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
With a pay rate for Legal Assistants that is 36 percent greater than the national average, San Francisco offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+31 percent), Los Angeles (+25 percent), New York (+23 percent), and Seattle (+22 percent). The lowest-paying market is Orlando, which sits 12 percent below the national average. Employers in Tampa and Austin also lean toward paying below-median salaries (6 percent lower and 2 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries

National Average
$37,000

Skills That Affect Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 715 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
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 58% dental benefits Dental: 36%
vision benefits Vision: 24% employee benefits None: 40%