The paralegal salary range is broad. That’s good news!
Depending on the size of the company or law office you work, the specialty you work in and your experience level, you can expect to earn from $14.13 to 36.25.
Alternatively, that hourly wage works out to be an annual salary range of $29,390 to $75,400 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Not too shabby, eh?
Well, you’ll need to consider the following…
Public or Private?
The Federal Government pays the most for paralegals or legal assistants according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, if you Google Craig’s List, Robert Half Legal, Jobs.com, Monster.com or any other major employment website, you’ll find that many paralegals working in the private sector are paid very well, too.
It is not uncommon for legal assistants to earn north of $80K annually in specialties such as patent law, corporate law, securities law and contract administration. This handful of specialties offers a broad paralegal salary range.
That’s great news for you since you can strive to earn more and not be financially restrained at a lower salary range.
What part of the United States do you work and are you located in a metropolitan area?
If you’re working in a law office or company in a non-metropolitan area, you simply won’t earn the same. It’s not impossible to earn a decent living, but the likelihood of earning a salary in excess of $50K is much less likely.
Metropolitan areas have bigger law offices with a greater need for attorney support. Smaller law offices will not pay the same as larger firms. The economics doesn’t work for smaller boutique firms to pay out large wages to their paralegals.
Are you brand new to the paralegal career field with limited work experience? This is a significant factor.
Obviously the more experience you have in a legal setting the better. And certainly the more specialized your experience such as with corporate law or bankruptcy law, the better salary range you’ll enjoy.
Less experience means less earnings. That’s not new.
Getting the experience in the specialty you like and enjoy is necessary for two reasons:
Litigation paralegals for example do not often get an opportunity to train into corporate paralegal positions. Cross over is difficult because procedures and software are specific to the specialty.
The paralegal salary range is broad and offers you the opportunity to earn more depending on your specialty, experience level, geography and whether you work in the private or public sector.