Paralegal Salaries - What Are You Earning?

This article offers insight for paralegal salaries in California.

Often overlooked, the job of a paralegal professional is quite frequently the backbone of an attorney’s office. Without the effective help of a paralegal, it would be very difficult for a law office to function.

Paralegals are far more than mere support staff. They act as assistants and coordinators in a wide range of roles within the law firm’s office.

This does raise questions regarding the salaries of such professionals. Certainly, skilled help will come with a competitive fee. In some cases, that would be an accurate assessment.

But the truth is there are also several other factors weighing on the determination of paralegal salaries.

Those factors can include...

  • the experience level of the paralegal (Someone with 10 years experience commands a higher fee than someone with one year’s experience),
  • the geographic location of the job, and
  • the particular area of legal work one works in.

In the state of California, the average salary of a paralegal is roughly $51,000 per year.

The term “average” is a somewhat nebulous one since it combines all manner of different paralegals and their own individual backgrounds into one heading.

Some will earn more and some will earn less. The following is a brief overview of annual paralegal salaries:

  • Patent Paralegals: $56,000
  • Corporate Paralegals: $55,000
  • Real Estate Paralegals: $53,000
  • Estate Litigation Paralegals: $49,000
  • Trust and Estate Planning Paralegals: $45,000
  • Family Law Paralegals: $47,000

These averages are based on salaries paid in the San Diego county area of California. Salaries might be slightly higher or lower depending upon where in the state you are located. For example, San Francisco due to its higher cost of living than the Bakersfield area will reflect such cost of living differences in salary.

Also, it is important to point out that no one can expect to start their career in paralegal services and receive the high end of the average salary.

Those with limited experience will almost certainly receive far less per year than someone with extensive professional and educational experience in the field.

This is true of virtually any profession. Paralegals are not be immune from this.

Gaining a qualifying educational background in paralegal studies services is not too difficult to embark upon.

Paralegals often have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. Others may hold a degree in a variety of different majors and hold a credited certificate in legal assisting.

There are different levels of depth in the various certification programs available. The more specialized and in demand one’s particular paralegal skill is factors into the determination of salary.

Of course, how you perform in a particular job plays a role as well. This is not unique to the legal field, but is often the case in all professional disciplines.

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