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Career Profile: Paralegals and Legal Assistants

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 345,600 people employed as paralegals and legal assistants in the United States. The median annual salary is $52,900. Entry level employees earn approximately $32,900 per year and senior employees earn approximately $85,160 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Prepare affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system.
  • Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts, and real estate closing statements.
  • Prepare for trial by performing tasks such as organizing exhibits.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases and search pertinent sources, such as public records and internet sources, to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
  • Meet with clients and other professionals to discuss details of case.
  • File pleadings with court clerk.
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions, and legal articles, codes, and documents.
  • Direct and coordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas.
  • Call upon witnesses to testify at hearing.
  • Arbitrate disputes between parties and assist in the real estate closing process, such as by reviewing title searches.
  • Keep and monitor legal volumes to ensure that law library is up-to-date.
  • Appraise and inventory real and personal property for estate planning.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
345,600
Annual Openings:
43,000
Increase in Openings by 2030:
12%
Annual Salary Range:
$32,900 - $85,160
Education Requirements:
Associate's degree