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Paralegal Salary: U.S. Labor Statistics By State

A traditional legal assistant salary includes base salary, bonus, and overtime pay.  Take a look at the information below to determine where (department and state) a paralegal can earn the most money. You can also see some pitfalls to avoid when you’re offered a bonus and find out how much you can expect in overtime pay.
Paralegal salary data by sector

Quick Facts: Paralegals and Legal Assistants 
2012 Median Pay $46,990 per year

$22.59 per hour
Entry-Level Education Associate’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 277,000
Job Outlook, 2012-2217% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 46,200

Paralegal Salary Ranges by Industries in the U.S.

Based on the 2012 statistics, the annual median wage for paralegal job is $46,990.  Also, entry level pay is around $35k. But it appears that you can significantly exceed that pay if you get into the right industry or live in the right state.

Highest Paying Careers and Industries

Petroleum & coal manufacturing$81,150
Medical and diagnostic sector$72,550
Software authors & publishers$70,660
Commercial equipment and supplies wholesalers$69,650
Computer and peripheral equipments manufacturing$69,200

Highest-Paying-States-and-Territories-for-legal-assistants

District of Columbia$64,760
New York$60,140
California$59,270
Illinois$54,690
Alaska$52,640

Highest-Paying-Metropolitan-areas-for-legal-assistants

Stockton, CA $68,120
San Fransisco, CA$64,080
New York, NY$63,230
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $63,210
Washington, DC $63,110

Paralegal Salary Statistics By State According to BLS

Below table shows the statistical data gathered from all around the U.S. by BLS as well as an outlook for this decade. You will see that paralegal career path looks solid and promising. The information below derived from BLS and re-formatted.

Salaries-by-State

StateState2012 Avg.
2013

Zillow Median

Property List Price
% of Median Home

an Avg. Salary Buys
Projected
Employment
in 2020
2010 Total
Employment
10 Year Growth
Rate (2010-2020)
Best

States for

Paralegals (Avg=1)
MissouriMissouri$48,380$137,90035%5520450023%1.37
GeorgiaGeorgia$50,540$172,00029%9890775028%1.35
TexasTexas$50,630$193,50026%221401701030%1.34
IowaIowa$43,210$131,80033%1900154023%1.33
MichiganMichigan$49,250$124,90039%5870509015%1.30
FloridaFlorida$46,500$199,90023%284302167031%1.29
OhioOhio$44,530$124,90036%7860663019%1.29
IllinoisIllinois$51,630$164,90031%121701000022%1.26
TennesseeTennessee$42,710$160,00027%6050479026%1.26
ArizonaArizona$47,520$215,00022%6500502030%1.23
KansasKansas$43,070$133,00032%2200185019%1.22
OklahomaOklahoma$42,060$144,00029%3040252021%1.18
IndianaIndiana$39,620$129,90031%4520380019%1.17
AlabamaAlabama$44,700$164,90027%3100255022%1.16
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania$53,220$169,90031%9910846017%1.14
UtahUtah$46,120$234,90020%2750214029%1.14
North CarolinaNorth Carolina$41,740$192,00022%128401031025%1.10
ArkansasArkansas$38,290$139,90027%2160182019%1.10
VirginiaVirginia$50,990$240,00021%10260822025%1.10
KentuckyKentucky$41,540$139,90030%3950340016%1.09
LouisianaLouisiana$42,370$166,30026%4530376021%1.09
WisconsinWisconsin$43,850$156,90028%4150355016%1.05
MinnesotaMinnesota$52,640$184,90029%4540392016%1.05
West VirginiaWest Virginia$39,990$139,50029%2500219014%1.02
South CarolinaSouth Carolina$41,750$179,00023%4650391019%1.00
New JerseyNew Jersey$58,050$279,90021%8390692021%1.00
NebraskaNebraska$43,680$139,00031%1140103011%1.00
NevadaNevada$50,930$189,90027%1890165015%0.98
MississippiMississippi$40,930$150,00027%2390212013%0.95
MassachusettsMassachusetts$52,020$339,90015%8170657024%0.94
South DakotaSouth Dakota$41,850$169,00025%63055015%0.93
WashingtonWashington$51,730$265,00020%8180683020%0.93
North DakotaNorth Dakota$43,370$195,90022%36031016%0.91
IdahoIdaho$40,250$189,50021%86074016%0.89
OregonOregon$54,460$255,00021%2400208015%0.87
MaineMaine$46,210$195,90024%1230109013%0.86
MarylandMaryland$50,970$265,00019%6910592017%0.85
ColoradoColorado$50,480$279,90018%5320454017%0.84
New YorkNew York$53,570$300,00018%268502291017%0.83
MontanaMontana$40,110$269,90015%107089020%0.83
CaliforniaCalifornia$58,570$400,00015%322002680020%0.82
Rhode IslandRhode Island$46,780$249,90019%91080014%0.77
WyomingWyoming$40,910$220,00019%52046013%0.75
New HampshireNew Hampshire$44,030$229,90019%1180105012%0.75
Washington DCWashington DC$68,850$479,80014%8860762016%0.73
New MexicoNew Mexico$42,500$199,90021%148013609%0.71
AlaskaAlaska$56,720$249,00023%6005607%0.71
DelawareDelaware$51,910$249,00021%131012207%0.67
ConnecticutConnecticut$52,520$265,00020%463042708%0.67
VermontVermont$42,110$229,90018%6506107%0.59
HawaiiHawaii$54,850$498,50011%89081010%0.50

2006 Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals

The 2006 Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals indicated that $2,000 were paid on average as a bonus. In that survey, 62% of paralegals reported receiving annual bonuses.

The median overtime compensation was $3,922 per year.  76% of paralegals in law firms received overtime pay, while only 33% of paralegals in law departments reported overtime pay.

Private sector paralegals received an average pay of 10.4% more than those in the public sector.  The difference in pay was primarily because paralegals in law firms worked more overtime.

The survey revealed that paralegals working in the intellectual property, patent, trademark practice earn the highest total cash compensation.  The lowest paying practice in law firms is regulatory or utilities.  The lowest paying positions in law departments is government or legislative.

2009 Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals

According to the 2009 Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals, paralegals working in law firms receive higher base compensation  than law department peers. Also, within those law firms, the highest paid paralegals are litigation support/technology managers who receive a median annual base salary of $121,012 nationally.

Salary-Outlook-By-Years

YearsSalary
2004$43,830.00
2006$48,700.00
2008$51,270.00
2010$49,640.00
2012$50,220.00

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