People often wonder, how much do paralegals make?
Paralegal salaries depend on a variety of factors, but it’s estimated that paralegals earn an average salary of $53,000 per year.
Paralegals are a vital part of any law practice since they perform a variety of jobs that help lawyers win cases. Recently, the paralegal profession has grown, which helps law firms reduce client costs, expedite the legal process so law firms can take on higher caseloads, and free up lawyers’ schedules.
Paralegals are responsible for many tasks, including filing pleadings and relevant case documents with the court clerk’s office, investigating and researching facts or data regarding a case, and confirming sources that apply to a case. Sometimes, paralegals are even responsible for interviewing clients during the discovery process of a claim.
Typically paralegals find employment in law firms; however, there is a growing number of paralegal jobs at government agencies and in corporate legal departments for businesses.
Factors That Influence a Paralegal’s Salary
Here are a few things that can affect your pay as a paralegal.
There are no official requirements to become a paralegal besides having a high school diploma. However, without any formal education or certification, it is often challenging to find a law firm that will employ you.
There are many educational programs that a paralegal can complete to increase their paralegal salary. Typical education programs for a paralegal include 6-month training courses and associate’s degrees with an accompanying internship at a law firm. You can also complete a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies or criminal justice.
There are even masters degrees offered in the field for those that want to further their education even more, which will likely earn them a higher paralegal salary.
The American Bar Association, the American Association for Paralegal Education, and the National Association of Legal Assistants point to many different programs that enable participants to jumpstart their paralegal career. With training in any one of these programs under their belts, applicants will likely earn higher paralegal salaries.
With regard to how much paralegals make, having diverse experience will increase your paralegal salary. Also, the longer you work as a paralegal, the higher your paralegal pay will be since you will have more experience to offer potential employers. You will certainly earn a higher paralegal salary if you further your career through education.
Getting a job after high school at a law firm is one way to become a paralegal. Finding a job that way will be an entry-level position, but with years of hard work, your paralegal salary will increase with time.
Size of the Law Firm
A more prominent law firm will offer a higher paralegal salary. Large law firms offer higher paralegal pay because these firms often take on cases with higher payouts or have a larger volume of cases.
You can earn a higher paralegal salary if you have a specialization in a specific area of law. You can become specialized in many different legal areas through classes, certifications offered through schools or national paralegal organizations, or by extensive experience working with certain cases.
Some of these paralegal specializations include:
- Constitutional law,
- Criminal law,
- Family law,
- Real estate law,
- Immigration law,
- Estate planning,
- Intellectual property law,
- Corporate law,
- Bankruptcy law,
- Divorce law,
- Employment law.
Paralegal professionals can choose from a wide variety of specializations to further their career. Sometimes, law firms will pay for their paralegals to obtain certain specializations that pertain to the type of work they do.
Interested in a Career as a Paralegal?
Take a look at Stratford Career Institute’s legal assistant and paralegal learning course. Stratford’s Legal Assistant/Paralegal course is a career-focused course designed to help students determine if a supportive career in the legal system is of interest to them.
This program covers:
- Becoming a paralegal,
- The role of the paralegal,
- Civil litigation and the paralegal,
- The framework of a civil lawsuit,
- Expert witnesses and trial preparation,
- From initial case development to trial technology,
- Post-trial motions and appeals,
- Court systems in the United States,
- Victims of crime, criminal trials, and evidence,
- Computer and internet research websites,
- The writing process for effective legal writing,
- Legal correspondence,
- Legal research memorandum,
- Court briefs.
Explore a Paralegal Career
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