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Law Office Operators: The Highest Salaries and Employment for Legal Secretaries in the USA

Updated on December 23, 2011
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© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

As with administrative staff in other industries, legal secretaries keep their offices working by writing letters, filing documents and organizing customer databases. But their knowledge of legal procedures and terminology enables them to prepare legal papers such as motions, subpoenas and complaints while supervised by a lawyer or paralegal. Their job prospects and earnings depend on whom they work for and where they are located.

Basics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s 228,700 legal secretaries make a mean $20.80 per hour or $43,270 per year.

  • The lowest paid 10 percent earn $12.66 per hour or $26,340 per year, while the highest paid 10 percent get $30.95 per hour or $64,380 per year.
  • This compares to a mean $22.05 per hour or $45,860 per year made by executive secretaries, and to a mean $15.30 per hour or $31,820 per year made by medical secretaries.
  • It is less than the mean wages for paralegals, which run 23.87 per hour or $49,640 per year, and also under the mean $21.35 per hour or $44,410 per year made by the average worker in the U.S.

Workplaces

The workplaces that hire the most legal secretaries are the following.

  1. Legal services, which include lawyers’ offices, comprise almost 87 percent of the positions with means of $20.86 per hour or $43,390 per year.
  2. Local government has five percent of the jobs at a mean $18.94 per hour or $39,400 per year.
  3. State government shows over three percent of the positions with pay at a mean $19.51 per hour or $40,590 per year.

The industries with the best pay for legal secretaries are as follows:

  1. Natural gas distribution has mean wages of $31.82 per hour or $66,180 per year.
  2. Semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing pays a mean $26.87 per hour or $55,880 per year.
  3. Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing have mean salaries of $26.26 per hour or $54,620 per year.

States

The high-population states have the best opportunities for legal secretaries.

  1. California, the most populous state, boasts 29,230 positions with means at $24.01 per hour or $49,940 per year.
  2. New York, the third most populous state, has 21,890 jobs with mean incomes at $23.33 per hour or $48,530 per year.
  3. Florida, the fourth most populous state, has 14,410 legal secretaries averaging $19.30 per hour or $40,140 per year.

As for salaries, these states top the list.

  1. The District of Columbia, which the Labor Department classifies with states, shows pay at a mean $29.21 per hour or $60,750 per year.
  2. Delaware has means of $24.17 per hour or $50,280 per year.
  3. California has average wages at $24.01 per hour or $49,940 per year.

Cities

The highest-population cities have the most jobs.

  1. New York City, the most populous city, shows 15,330 positions with means of $24.70 per hour or $51,370 per year.
  2. Los Angeles, the second most populous city, has 10,370 jobs at a mean $24.19 per hour or $50,310 per year.
  3. Chicago is number three for population and jobs at a mean $22.04 per hour or $45,840 per year.

The following cities have the best pay.

  1. San Jose, California, shows mean wages at $31.96 per hour or $66,470 per year.
  2. San Francisco, California, is close with means at $31.46 per hour or $65,430 per year.
  3. Washington DC has averages of $27.33 per hour or $56,850 per year.

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