How Much Do Paralegals Make?

paralegal job descriptionParalegals or legal assistants have a variety of duties and responsibilities that support the work of lawyers.

These duties include organizing legal documents, doing research, setting up schedules and appointments with other lawyers, clients, and witnesses, as well as to prepare evidence for trials.

Paralegals work in a variety of organizations such as law firms but they also work in government agencies as well as private corporations with in-house legal counsels.

They also work in finance and insurance, conducting legal research and interviews. Their work environment involves working indoors in an office, in the field gathering information, and in courthouses.

Paralegal Salary

How much do paralegals make? The average annual paralegal salary is $50,940 or $24.49 per hour. The lower 10% earns an annual average of $31,400 while the upper 10% earns an annual average of $82,050.

paralegal salaryAverage annual salaries also differ in terms of industry. Paralegals that work in the federal government earn an annual average of $67,340, while those who work in finance and insurance earn an average of $62,020. Those who work in the local government earn an average of $50,400, while those who work in legal services earn an average of $48,880, and those who work in the state government earn an average of $46,970.

Paralegals who work in large firms in large cities earn the most and have the most employment opportunities.

A paralegal starting salary depends on the size of the law firm, the industry, and the qualifications of a paralegal. There are several ways to become a paralegal from on the job training to master’s degrees.

Top 5 Paying States

Flag
State
Employment per 1000 Jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Alaska Flag
Alaska
1.74
$31.21
$64,920
California Flag
California
1.99
$29.30
$60,940
New Jersey Flag
New Jersey
1.60
$27.69
$57,600
Washington Flag
Washington
1.85
$27.21
$56,590
New York Flag
New York
2.57
$27.02
$56,200

Top Paying Industries

Industry
Percent of industry employment
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Electronic Component Manufacturing
0.03
$39.81
$82,810
Software Publishers
0.09
$37.03
$77,030
Professional and Commercial Equipment – Supplies Merchant, Wholesalers
0.05
$35.00
$72,810
Information Services
$34.90
$72,580
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing
0.03
$34.87
$72,530

Paralegal Job Description

what does a paralegal doParalegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks that assist and support a lawyer’s job. These involve maintaining and organizing documents, be it paper or electronic, conduct legal research, and draft legal documents.

Paralegals also help lawyers prepare for trials through reserving an office space, preparing evidence, and organizing needed documents.

They work in a variety of organizations such as law firms, corporate settings, and government agencies. A paralegal’s job is full time and working overtime, over holidays and weekends are often required when meeting a deadline or an upcoming trial.

Among the specific duties of a paralegal includes investigating the facts of a case, conducting interviews, and researching laws and regulations. they also gather and arrange evidence to present to the attorney for review and case preparation. Paralegals are also in charge of maintaining and organizing documents, and storing them in electronic files.

Their other duties involve drafting legal documents such as contracts, affidavits, and other formal statements. They are also in charge of calling clients, witnesses, and other lawyers and are responsible for scheduling interviews, meetings, and depositions.

Paralegals who work in smaller firms and smaller cities often do a wide variety of tasks while those who work in larger firms often do specific tasks such as working on one case from start to finish. They can also specialize in a specific field such as litigation, family law, immigration, special injury, corporate law, employee benefits, criminal law, intellectual property, real estate, or bankruptcy.

Senior paralegals in larger firms also oversee special projects where they delegate duties to a team of other paralegals.

There is a total of 277,000 jobs for paralegals in the country, with the industry of legal services employing the most number with 72%. The federal government employs 5% of this total number of paralegals, while the local government also employs 5%, and the state government employs 4%. The finance and insurance industry employs 3% of this total number.

Paralegal Job Outlook

The projected increase in paralegal jobs from 2016 to 2026 is 15%, which is faster than the average. More and more corporate companies will decide to have in-house legal counsels with the growth of their companies, leading to more demand for paralegals in the corporate industry.

Law firms who want to reduce lawyers’ fees are also seen to contribute to the increase of demand for paralegals since certain duties can be performed by a paralegal rather than an actual lawyer.

From 2016 to 2026, about 41,800 jobs are seen to be created, opening up more employment opportunities for paralegals.

Paralegals who have experience, formal training, and are equipped with the latest knowledge in electronic documentation are seen to have the most prospects in terms of job opportunities.

Paralegal Salary by State

Flag
State
Employment per 1000 Jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Alabama Flag
Alabama
1.201
$22.04
$45,830
Alaska Flag
Alaska
1.74
$31.21
$64,920
Arizona Flag
Arizona
1.883
$23.74
$49,390
Arkansas Flag
Arkansas
1.183
$19.21
$39,960
California Flag
California
1.988
$29.30
$60,940
Colorado flag
Colorado
2.268
$25.11
$52,240
Connecticut Flag
Connecticut
3.158
$25.27
$52,550
Delaware flag
Delaware
3.007
$26.77
$55,680
Florida Flag
Florida
3
$23.41
$48,690
Georgia Flag
Georgia
2.048
$26.55
$55,210
Hawaii Flag
Hawaii
1.903
$24.75
$51,490
Idaho Flag
Idaho
1.49
$19.87
$41,330
Illinois Flag
Illinois
2.093
$23.57
$49,020
Indiana Flag
Indiana
1.304
$20.85
$43,370
Iowa Flag
Iowa
1.566
$21.57
$44,860
Kansas Flag
Kansas
1.363
$20.57
$42,790
Kentucky Flag
Kentucky
1.7
$21.51
$44,730
Louisiana Flag
Louisiana
1.852
$20.50
$42,640
Maine Flag
Maine
1.717
$21.37
$44,450
Maryland Flag
Maryland
2.239
$25.18
$52,360
Massachusetts Flag
Massachusetts
2.016
$26.22
$54,540
Michigan Flag
Michigan
1.312
$23.00
$47,850
Minnesota Flag
Minnesota
1.895
$25.31
$52,640
Mississippi Flag
Mississippi
1.365
$21.23
$44,160
Missouri Flag
Missouri
1.86
$22.73
$47,270
Montana Flag
Montana
2.132
$21.24
$44,180
Nebraska Flag
Nebraska
1.425
$21.06
$43,810
Nevada Flag
Nevada
1.831
$23.96
$49,840
New Hampshire Flag
New Hampshire
2.015
$22.90
$47,630
New Jersey Flag
New Jersey
1.599
$27.69
$57,600
New Mexico Flag
New Mexico
1.668
$20.65
$42,940
New York Flag
New York
2.572
$27.02
$56,200
North Carolina Flag
North Carolina
2.371
$21.21
$44,120
North Dakota Flag
North Dakota
1.152
$20.19
$42,000
Ohio Flag
Ohio
1.439
$22.10
$45,960
Oklahoma Flag
Oklahoma
2.016
$20.77
$43,200
Oregon Flag
Oregon
1.628
$26.66
$55,460
Pennsylvania Flag
Pennsylvania
1.79
$25.86
$53,780
Rhode Island Flag
Rhode Island
2.425
$24.21
$50,350
South Carolina Flag
South Carolina
2.726
$20.39
$42,410
South Dakota Flag
South Dakota
1.082
$21.06
$43,810
Tennessee Flag
Tennessee
1.563
$23.59
$49,070
Texas Flag
Texas
1.903
$24.93
$51,850
Utah Flag
Utah
1.953
$20.44
$42,510
Vermont Flag
Vermont
2.058
$22.74
$47,300
Virginia Flag
Virginia
2.352
$25.18
$52,370
Washington Flag
Washington
1.847
$27.21
$56,590
West Virginia Flag
West Virginia
3.082
$19.63
$40,830
Wisconsin Flag
Wisconsin
1.474
$22.27
$46,320
Wyomin Flag
Wyoming
1.902
$21.70
$45,140

Top paying metropolitan areas

Area
Employment per 1000 jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Washington/Arlington/Alexandria, DC/VA/MD/WV, Metropolitan Division
4.14
$33.59
$69,880
San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City – CA, Metropolitan Division
3.06
$33.56
$69,800
San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara- CA
3.10
$32.52
$67,640
Anchorage, AK
2.41
$32.28
$67,150
Los Angeles / Long Beach / Glendale, – CA – Metropolitan Division
1.97
$31.42
$65,350

Top paying nonmetropolitan areas

Area
Employment per 1000 jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Southeast Alaska -nonmetropolitan area
1.10
$30.71
$63,880
North Coast Region – California, nonmetropolitan area
1.01
$27.97
$58,170
Railbelt – Southwest Alaska – nonmetropolitan area
0.56
$27.42
$57,040
Hawaii – Maui – Kauai – nonmetropolitan area
0.99
$26.80
$55,750
East – Central New York – nonmetropolitan area
0.96
$26.53
$55,190

Paralegal Career Video

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Noel Griffith

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