Women make up the vast majority of Legal Assistants in the United States. The average pay in this industry is approximately $45K per year. In the world of Legal Assistants, total cash compensation can vary between $27K and $67K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $5K and $6K, respectively. Location and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most Legal Assistants like their work and job satisfaction is high. Although around one in three lack health benefits of any kind, the larger part do enjoy medical insurance, and more than two-fifths get dental coverage, too. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$30,783 - $69,357
(Median)
$31K
$45K
$69K
MEDIAN: $44,565
10%
50%
90%

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$11.84 - $25.73
(Median)
$12
$17
$26
MEDIAN: $16.00
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$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$30,783 - $69,357  
   
Bonus
$193.60 - $4,904  
Profit Sharing
$795 - $5,617  
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).
)
$26,817 - $66,709  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 501
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$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$11.84 - $25.73  
   
Hourly Tips
$5.00  
Overtime
$18.95 - $45.00  
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$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$193.60 - $4,904  
   
Profit Sharing
$795 - $5,617  
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).
)
$26,817 - $66,709  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 383
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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. Attorneys earn $81K on average per year. Becoming a Paralegal or a Paralegal or Legal Assistant is often the next step for a 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, skills in Legal Research, Online Research, Litigation Case Management, and Document Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 8 percent and 13 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Organizing, Typing, and Microsoft Excel. It is often found that people who know Client Interaction are also skilled in Case Management. Those proficient in Document Preparation are, more often than not, 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.


Legal Assistants who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $35K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $43K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $49K. 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 $55K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,847

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Legal Assistants in Washington enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 39 percent above the national average. Legal Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+23 percent), Denver (+20 percent), Los Angeles (+18 percent), and Dallas (+15 percent). Falling short of the national average by 20 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Oklahoma City. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Columbus (18 percent lower) and Richmond (12 percent lower).

Paralegal / Legal Assistant Reviews

What is it like working as a Paralegal / Legal Assistant?

Paralegal / Legal Assistant in Baltimore:
"Headline."
Pros: Investigatory work, interviewing witnesses, drafting legal documents, work flexibility, relaxed atmosphere,
Cons: Purely administrative tasks.

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
$41,000


Skills That Affect Paralegal / Legal Assistant Salaries




Document Management
up arrow 2%

Case Management
0%

National Average
$41,000

Document Preparation
up arrow 1%

Client Interaction
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 1%

Filing Court Documents
up arrow 2%

Drafting Correspondence
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 4%

Office Administration
up arrow 4%

up arrow 5%



Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 119 votes.

Gender

Female
91 %
Male
9 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
16%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
17%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 65%
dental benefits
Dental: 42%
medical benefits
Vision: 35%
dental benefits
None: 34%
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