Attorney Assists: The Highest Salaries and Employment for Paralegals and Legal Assistants in the USA
© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin
Because legal work is complex and time-consuming, lawyers delegate many of their tasks to paralegals and legal assistants. These necessary helpers can assist with closings, meetings and trials; investigate facts; identify appropriate precedents and organize relevant materials. They can perform many duties once considered only within the proving of attorneys, as long as they do not give legal advice, set fees or present cases in court. Their salaries depend on their employers and locations.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the 247,940 paralegals and legal assistants in the country make a mean $23.87 per hour or $49,640 per year.
- The low runs $14.16 per hour or $29,460 per year, and the high is $36 per hour or $74,870 per year.
- This is over the mean wages of legal secretaries, which are $20.80 per hour or $43,270 per year.
- This is also more than the $21.35 per hour or $44,410 per year made by the average U.S. worker.
- National Federation of Paralegal Assocations
The mission of the NFPA is to promote a global presence for the paralegal profession and leadership in the legal community.
- The Paralegal Society
A forum created to educate, motivate and inspire paralegals to engage in the pursuit of excellence for all paralegalkind.
American Association for Paralegal Education
The following workplaces employ the most paralegals and legal assistants:
- Legal services, which include law offices and the self-employed, have almost 73 percent of the positions, averaging wages of $22.93 per hour or $47,690 per year.
- Nearly six percent work for the federal government at a mean $30.87 per hour or $64,210 per year.
- Local government has just over five percent of the jobs with means at $24.34 per hour or $50,630 per year.
The best salaries are in the following industries:
- Petroleum and coal products manufacturing shows means of $37.91 per hour or $78,840 per year.
- Software publishers have average pay at $36.04 per hour or $74,960 per year.
- The wages in oil and gas extraction run a mean $33.59 per hour or $69,870 per year.
High populations means more jobs as shown by the states with the best employment for paralegals and legal assistants:
- California, the most populous state, shows 27,260 positions at a mean $28.74 per hour or $59,790 per year.
- New York, which ranks number three for population, has 23,350 workers averaging $27.36 per hour or $56,920 per year.
- Florida has 19,690 jobs paying a mean $22.20 per hour or $46,180 per year.
The following states have employers with the highest pay.
- The District of Columbia, which the Labor Department classifies with states, has mean wages at $31.60 per hour or $65,740 per year.
- California averages $28.74 per hour or $59,790 per year.
- New York has means of $27.36 per hour or $56,920 per year.
With one exception, the most populous cities have the highest employment for paralegals and legal assistants.
- New York City, the most populous metro area, shows 17,370 positions earning a mean $29.11 per hour or $60,540 per year.
- Washington DC, which does not rank for population, has 9,840 workers making a mean $30.72 per hour or $63,890 per year.
- Los Angeles, the second most populous city, has 7,790 jobs at a mean $29.26 per hour or $60,860 per year.
The following cities have the best pay.
- San Francisco, California, averages $31.98 per hour or $66,520 per year.
- San Jose, California, has slightly lower means at $31.38 per hour or $65,280 per year.
- Washington DC shows mean wages of $30.72 per hour or $63,890 per year.
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