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Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary (United States)

Women comprise the majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. Individuals in this line of work make around $40K per year on average. The final incomes of Legal Assistants generally vary between $24K and $58K; higher pay grades include potential for bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions as high as $4K, $6K, and $14K, respectively. Geography and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Health benefits are not claimed by all — roughly two-fifths lack any form of coverage — but more than half have medical insurance, and more than a third have dental, too. The majority of Legal Assistants claim high levels of job satisfaction. This summary is derived from information collected in the PayScale salary survey.
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  
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  
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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As Legal Assistants transition into upper-level roles such as Attorney, they may see a strong upturn in salary. an Attorney typically earns $80K per year. A Paralegal or a Paralegal or Legal Assistant is a typical transition from a Legal Assistant role.

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Legal Assistants seem to wield many skills on the job. 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. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Spanish Language. The majority of those who know Document Preparation also know Filing Court Documents, Case Management, and Document Management. The majority of those 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.
Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Legal Assistants. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $32K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $39K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $45K in this role. 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 $49K. In this field, workers tend to have anywhere from one to nine years of experience — of those surveyed, a majority land within this range. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up just under one in five of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise fewer than one in ten, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining around one in seven.

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.
San Francisco is home to an above-average pay rate for Legal Assistants, 34 percent higher than the national average. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+28 percent), Los Angeles (+25 percent), New York (+24 percent), and Seattle (+23 percent). With compensation 14 percent below the national average, Orlando is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Atlanta (2 percent less) and Las Vegas (1 percent less).

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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

Highly satisfied Image
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%