Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salary

The larger portion of Legal Assistants in the United States are women. Median pay in this female-dominated area goes for around $40K annually. Earnings sit near $25K on the lower side but can approach $58K per year on the higher side. Total cash compensation to Legal Assistants bottoms out near $25K and approaches $58K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $4K from bonuses and almost $6K from profit sharing. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. For the most part, Legal Assistants enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Although around two in five lack health benefits of any kind, a majority do enjoy medical insurance, and over a third get dental coverage, too. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.

$27,812 - $60,099
(Median)
$28K
$40K
$60K
MEDIAN: $40,303
10%
50%
90%

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$10.30 - $23.79
(Median)
$10
$15
$24
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
50%
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$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$27,812 - $60,099  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,951  
Profit Sharing
$904 - $5,658  
Commission
$0.00 - $2,035  
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).
)
$24,602 - $58,269  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,734
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
$10.30 - $23.79  
   
Overtime
$14.96 - $38.80  
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 - $3,951  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $2,035  
Profit Sharing
$904 - $5,658  
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).
)
$24,602 - $58,269  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,419

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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' salaries may rise greatly for those who assume a higher-end position such as an Attorney. The average Attorney brings home $81K per year. A Legal Assistant often moves on 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


Legal Assistants report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Legal Compliance, Litigation Case Management, and Organizing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 20 percent, 18 percent, and 11 percent, respectively. Skill sets containing Document Preparation also tend to include Filing Court Documents, Case Management, and Document Management. It is often found that people who know Client Interaction are 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.


Legal Assistants who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $32K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $40K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Legal Assistants make a median salary of $46K. Legal Assistants with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $50K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Legal Assistants, Washington provides a pay rate that is 33 percent greater than the national average. Legal Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Seattle (+32 percent), Los Angeles (+31 percent), Denver (+29 percent), and New York (+24 percent). With compensation 7 percent below the national average, Tampa is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Below-median salaries also turn up in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale (7 percent lower and 6 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries




National Average
$37,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 566 votes.

Gender

Female
90 %
Male
10 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 59% dental benefits Dental: 36%
vision benefits Vision: 25% employee benefits None: 40%