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Paralegals and Legal Assistants

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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.

  • Appraise and inventory real and personal property for estate planning.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases and search pertinent sources, such as public records and internet sources, to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
  • Direct and coordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas.
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions, and legal articles, codes, and documents.
  • Prepare affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system.
  • Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts, and real estate closing statements.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

  • Legal Assistant
  • Certified Paralegal
  • Paralegal
  • Corporate Law Assistant
  • Real Estate Paralegal

There were about 285,600 jobs for Paralegals and Legal Assistants in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 14.6% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 41,800 new jobs for Paralegals and Legal Assistants 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 Paralegals and Legal Assistants are California, Florida, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Wyoming, or Vermont. 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. The median salary for this occupation is $50,940.

Salary Ranges for Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

District of Columbia

$80,470

Connecticut

$62,760

California

$61,240

Washington

$60,940

Massachusetts

$60,320

Alaska

$59,140

New York

$58,750

Colorado

$58,350

New Jersey

$58,260

Nevada

$57,600

Delaware

$57,290

Illinois

$57,180

Minnesota

$56,880

Texas

$56,270

Maryland

$55,950

Oregon

$55,850

New Hampshire

$54,550

Georgia

$54,130

Missouri

$53,110

Pennsylvania

$52,780

Hawaii

$52,280

Virginia

$51,600

Rhode Island

$50,650

Michigan

$50,590

Vermont

$50,570

Louisiana

$50,540

Wisconsin

$50,360

Florida

$50,120

South Dakota

$49,560

Maine

$49,490

Nebraska

$49,250

Ohio

$49,200

Utah

$49,140

Indiana

$49,090

Tennessee

$49,050

Arizona

$48,370

Oklahoma

$48,330

New Mexico

$48,050

North Carolina

$47,210

Iowa

$46,990

Wyoming

$46,770

Idaho

$46,510

Kentucky

$46,130

West Virginia

$46,080

North Dakota

$45,870

Alabama

$45,530

South Carolina

$45,480

Montana

$44,330

Mississippi

$44,300

Kansas

$43,790

Arkansas

$42,050

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Paralegals and Legal Assistants:

  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Google Drive
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Tax software
  • Google Docs
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat

Are there Paralegal or Legal Assistant education requirements?

Paralegal or Legal Assistant Degree Level Paralegal or Legal Assistant Work Experience Paralegal or Legal Assistant Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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