Guide to paralegals featuring information, resources, news, articles, guides and advice covering the paralegal profession and law.
Entering the paralegal field will require much more than a love for the legal industry. Being familiar with the rules, regulations and laws the govern the industry will help you to find suitable employment. Learn what you can do to make yourself a valuable asset and landing a job in a law firm will be simple.
Although many people become paralegals because of the potential to make a high salary, further education will be required to meet your full potential. Education is tantamount in the paralegal field, but experience, expertise and skills will be the most important factors that employers will be on the lookout for.
There are many high paying jobs that require minimal training but most industries have become over saturated. People interested in getting into the paralegal field will have a better chance of succeeding if they know where the best job markets are located. Find out more about the direction of the paralegal field and prepare yourself for the future.
SalaryLike other professions in the legal field, the salaries of paralegals can vary greatly. In small, rural areas employers are more likely to hire a recent high school or college graduate that is proficient in English but with no practical experience than a major law firm. These newly hired paralegals can expect to make a starting salary of around $25,000 a year, but it will be difficult for them to substantially raise their pay if they do not seek further education.
By contrast, paralegals that live in major cities with advanced degrees can make as much as $100,000 a year, not including bonuses, benefits and other perks. Most paralegals aspire to work for a well known law firm because it offers both job stability and prestige. Within a single law firm, there can be literally dozens of paralegals employed at the same time who all offer different areas of expertise. Entry level paralegals may be relegated to duties barely above the scope of an untrained receptionist, but paralegals with decades of experience might be responsible for operating the entire office.
Law students frequently take on internships at law firms for a few semesters where they will learn about the day to day operations. These law students may work directly under experienced paralegals or they may also work side by side with entry level paralegals. Some of these internships are unpaid, but many law students are able to segue into a paralegal career at the same companies that gave them their start.
The average paralegal makes a base salary of approximately $45,000 a year. Depending on whether they are compensated based on performance, tenure or education, paralegals can make as much as an additional $25,000 a year on top of their regular paychecks. Aside from law firms, paralegals can also make generous salaries working at banks, insurance companies at private institutions and for the government. A paralegal that is able to stay employed consistently by the same company for a number of years will have a much better chance of commanding a high salary. Each region will be different, but the one factor that employers look for that stays consistent is skill set. Although more experienced paralegals are able to complete complicated tasks with ease, new hires who have attended prestigious schools are often more knowledgeable about new software, laws and legal standards. Many paralegals that have plateaued in their fields often go on to become teachers, legal advisors or even go back to school to become licensed lawyers in their respective states.