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Paralegal or Legal Assistant

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What is a Paralegal or Legal Assistant?

Career Description Assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, or researching legal precedent. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.

  • Keep and monitor legal volumes to ensure that law library is up-to-date.
  • Prepare affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system.
  • Call upon witnesses to testify at hearing.
  • Direct and coordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas.
  • File pleadings with court clerk.
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions, and legal articles, codes, and documents.

Below is a list of the skills most Paralegals and Legal Assistants say are important on the job.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

  • Litigation Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Law Associate
  • Document Processor
  • Research Analyst

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 285,600 jobs in the United States for Paralegal or Legal Assistant. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 14.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 41,800 new jobs for Paralegal or Legal Assistant by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 34,700 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Paralegals and Legal Assistants in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Paralegal or Legal Assistant are Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Ohio, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

The typical yearly salary for Paralegals and Legal Assistants is somewhere between $31,400 and $82,050.

Salary Ranges for Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Paralegals and Legal Assistants who work in District of Columbia, Connecticut, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $45,530
Alaska $59,140
Arizona $48,370
Arkansas $42,050
California $61,240
Colorado $58,350
Connecticut $62,760
Delaware $57,290
District of Columbia $80,470
Florida $50,120
Georgia $54,130
Hawaii $52,280
Idaho $46,510
Illinois $57,180
Indiana $49,090
Iowa $46,990
Kansas $43,790
Kentucky $46,130
Louisiana $50,540
Maine $49,490
Maryland $55,950
Massachusetts $60,320
Michigan $50,590
Minnesota $56,880
Mississippi $44,300
Missouri $53,110
Montana $44,330
Nebraska $49,250
Nevada $57,600
New Hampshire $54,550
New Jersey $58,260
New Mexico $48,050
New York $58,750
North Carolina $47,210
North Dakota $45,870
Ohio $49,200
Oklahoma $48,330
Oregon $55,850
Pennsylvania $52,780
Rhode Island $50,650
South Carolina $45,480
South Dakota $49,560
Tennessee $49,050
Texas $56,270
Utah $49,140
Vermont $50,570
Virginia $51,600
Washington $60,940
West Virginia $46,080
Wisconsin $50,360
Wyoming $46,770

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Paralegals and Legal Assistants may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Project
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • IBM Notes
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Google Docs
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • LexisNexis
  • Google Drive
  • MicroStrategy

Individuals working as a Paralegal or Legal Assistant have obtained the following education levels:

Paralegal or Legal Assistant Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Paralegal or Legal Assistant Work Experience Paralegal or Legal Assistant Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Paralegals and Legal Assistants work:

Paralegal or Legal Assistant Industries

References:

Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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