Paralegals and Legal Assistants: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- There are several paths a person can take to become a paralegal. A common path is for candidates to earn an associates degree in paralegal studies from a postsecondary institution.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 15% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Although not required, some employers may prefer to hire applicants who have completed a paralegal certification program.
- Median pay: How much do Paralegals and Legal Assistants make?
- $49,500 Annual Salary
- $23.80 per hour
Paralegals and legal assistants perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.
What do Paralegals and Legal Assistants do?
Paralegals and legal assistants typically do the following:
- Investigate and gather the facts of a case
- Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
- Organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems
- Gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation
- Write or summarize reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
- Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages
- Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
- Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes, or reviewing trial transcripts
- File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Call clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions
Paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings.
Paralegals use technology and computer software for managing and organizing the increasing amount of documents and data collected during a case. Many paralegals use computer software to catalog documents, and to review documents for specific keywords or subjects. Because of these responsibilities, paralegals must be familiar with electronic database management and be current on the latest software used for electronic discovery. Electronic discovery refers to all electronic materials obtained by the parties during the litigation or investigation. These materials may be emails, data, documents, accounting databases, and websites.
Paralegals specific duties often vary depending on the area of law in which they work. The following are examples of types of paralegals and legal assistants: