Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary (United States)

Paralegals in the United States are largely female. The average salary of the entire group is approximately $36,370 annually. Pay starts at $24,448 and can approach $57,596 per year on the higher side. Bonuses, profit sharing, and commission all factor into final incomes for Paralegals. Ranging between $24,448 near the bottom and $57,596 near the top, total earnings can include up to $3,976 from bonuses and up to $5,852 from profit sharing, with a high-performing minority reaping commissions of $13,702. Location and years of experience 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 around one third have dental, too. The majority of Paralegals claim high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on answers to 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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As Paralegals make advancements in their career path, salaries may climb quite a bit. Those in less important roles may make $44K less annually than those in higher-end positions, such as Lawyer. 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 results imply that Paralegals deploy a deep pool of 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. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Spanish Language. It is often found that people who know Client Interaction are also skilled in Case Management. Skill sets containing Document Preparation also tend to include 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.
In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher salaries. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $33K; however, pay rises to approximately $39K after five to 10 years. After 10 to 20 years, salary hovers around $45K. 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 about one in five 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. Age distribution in this workforce is concentrated between one and nine years of experience; more than half of respondents fall in this range.

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.
Paralegals will find that San Francisco offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 34 percent. Washington, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle are a few other cities that offer generous salaries, with Paralegals earning around 28 percent, 25 percent, 24 percent, and 23 percent more than average. Orlando is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 14 percent. Employers pay around -2 percent in Atlanta and -1 percent in Las Vegas, below-median salaries for those in this field.

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

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%
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