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Average Legal Assistant Salary
How Much Does a Paralegal Make?

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Average Salary for Legal Assistant Paralegal by State

According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), legal assistants/paralegals earn an average salary of $55,020 per year ($26.45 per hour). Average pay will vary based on the state in which you are employed, the education you’ve earned and level of experience in the field. Starting pay in an entry-level position will tend to be lower until you’ve gained a few years of experience and proven yourself as an indispensable member of a law firm.

Looking ahead: job outlook

The BLS projects the demand for paralegal and legal assistant jobs to rise 12% from 2018-2028, meaning now is a good time to get your foot in the door.

The BLS attributes the projected increase to an effort by law firms to increase efficiency and keep costs as low as possible. Paralegals and legal assistants are expected to handle more tasks previously assigned to a legal secretary or entry-level attorney.

Average paralegal/legal assistant salary by state
State Per hour Per year
Alabama $22.78 $47,380
Alaska $27.09 $56,360
Arizona $24.49 $50,940
Arkansas $19.62 $40,820
California $29.72 $61,810
Colorado $29.93 $62,250
Connecticut $28.96 $60,240
Delaware $27.47 $57,140
District of Columbia $39.43 $82,010
Florida $24.58 $51,130
Georgia $26.17 $54,440
Hawaii $26.22 $54,530
Idaho $23.13 $48,110
Illinois $28.83 $59,960
Indiana $23.21 $48,280
Iowa $24.11 $50,140
Kansas $21.38 $44,460
Kentucky $21.47 $44,650
Louisiana $24.10 $50,140
Maine $25.15 $52,320
Maryland $27.35 $56,890
Massachusetts $29.64 $61,650
Michigan $24.90 $51,790
Minnesota $27.59 $57,390
Mississippi $22.10 $45,960
Missouri $23.15 $48,160
Montana $22.25 $46,270
Nebraska $25.48 $53,010
Nevada $27.94 $58,110
New Hampshire $26.89 $55,930
New Jersey $28.99 $60,300
New Mexico $23.57 $49,020
New York $27.92 $58,070
North Carolina $22.77 $47,370
North Dakota $22.43 $46,660
Ohio $23.18 $48,210
Oklahoma $22.57 $46,950
Oregon $27.87 $57,970
Pennsylvania $26.68 $55,490
Rhode Island $25.21 $52,440
South Carolina $22.37 $46,540
South Dakota $23.62 $49,130
Tennessee $23.96 $49,830
Texas $26.17 $54,430
Utah $25.10 $52,200
Vermont $23.58 $49,050
Virginia $25.25 $52,520
Washington $29.25 $60,840
West Virginia $23.36 $48,580
Wisconsin $24.22 $50,380
Wyoming $21.75 $45,250
All salary data courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What does a paralegal do?

Paralegals, also referred to as legal assistants, help lawyers with many different administrative duties: preparation for trials, hearings, meetings and closings, drafting legal documents such as contracts, separation agreements or mortgages, the gathering of legal articles or judicial decisions relating to a case, and much more. Legal assistants may work in many different types of law firms, including criminal law, real estate, divorce, and personal injury.

Learn more about what a paralegal does, including detail on where paralegals typically work and the most common types of paralegal jobs.

Note: paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

How do I become a paralegal?

In order to become a paralegal and thrive in your new career, take these steps:

  1. Choose what degree is right for you
  2. Enroll in a degree program
  3. Earn professional experience
  4. Network whenever possible
  5. Choose a specialty (private sector, public sector, freelance)

Herzing University exists to help you take the leap and become possible. If you’re ready to go back to school and become a paralegal, consider our online paralegal program or ABA approved paralegal programs in New Orleans and Atlanta*. Graduates are eligible to take the Certified Paralegal examination offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and earn their certification as a paralegal.

* Only the Herzing University paralegal programs at New Orleans and Atlanta are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). The Herzing Legal Studies program offered online is not approved by the ABA.

Learn more about the Herzing University paralegal program

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