Paralegals and Legal Assistants

General Information

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.

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Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Job Outlook

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and reduce their costs, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants. In these cases, paralegals and legal assistants can take on a “hybrid” role within the firm, performing not only traditional paralegal duties but also some of the tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries or other legal support workers. Law firms also are attempting to reduce billing costs as clients push for less expensive legal services. Due to their lower billing rates to clients, paralegals can be a less costly alternative to lawyers, performing a wide variety of tasks once done by entry-level lawyers. This should cause an increase in demand for paralegals and legal assistants. Although law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, many large corporations are increasing their in-house legal departments to cut costs. For many companies, the high cost of outside counsel makes it more economical to have an in-house legal department. This will lead to an increase in the demand for legal workers in a variety of settings, such as finance and insurance firms, consulting firms, and healthcare providers.

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Salary

Average Salary

Salary

$51,740

Military salary*

$85,810

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State-by-state Salary

Gray states indicate no data available

$82,370
$35,550
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Education

Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • Associate's degree 50%
  • Bachelor's degree 34%
  • Post-secondary certificate 7%
  • Post baccalaureate 4%
  • High school 3%
  • Some college 0%
  • Master's degree 0%
  • Doctoral degree 0%
  • Less than high school 0%
  • Post-doctoral training 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%

Related College Majors

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Knowledge

  • Clerical
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Law and Government
  • English Language

Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership
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