The pay scale of legal assistants fluctuates greatly as it depends on the myriad factors and levels of responsibilities handled by them. This article acquaints you with some information about the duties and salary of this job.
No one can deny the workload and stress that lawyers, especially established ones, have to go through during their daily tasks of handling cases and proceedings. To reduce the workload of lawyers, assistance is of prime importance. This need of expert trainers who can help lawyers in carrying out various tasks has led to a drastic rise in legal assistant jobs. This job offers great career opportunities as it introduces them to practical experience in the law profession, that can be of significant value to their career development. Besides tremendous opportunities, the salary is also a driving factor that motivates aspirants to go for these jobs.
Though lawyers are the main decision makers in chalking out the plan for handling a particular case, generally, they delegate their tasks to legal assistants or paralegals so that they can get time to handle other crucial parameters of the case. The most important task of legal assistants is to help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trails, and corporate meetings. They are expected to identify and submit reports, legal articles, corresponding case studies, judicial decisions, and other material for legal proceedings. In other words, they help in all types of work that require any legal formalities for any case.
Since legal assistants handle diverse challenges, their salary varies greatly. The income potential depends on education, training, and work experience. A legal assistant with training and education from a coveted institution is preferred by employers as it is an indication of the required skills in an employee. The size of the employer and geographic location also impacts the average salary. If an aspirant is working in a big law firm that has established itself over certain number of years, then he will be able to earn a decent salary. In today’s time, the need of legal assistants in fields such as real estate, bankruptcy, and medical malpractice, has grown significantly. Many firms and hospital care units pay a decent salary to paralegals who are ready to work with these units. The salary for professionals with one to four years of experience is usually between USD 28,000 to USD 42,000. Legal assistants who have worked for a period of 5 to 9 years can enjoy salaries in the range USD 30,000 to USD 43,000. An experienced legal assistant with work experience of about 10 to 19 years earns between USD 37,000 to USD 54,000. Besides the salaries, they also enjoy various perks and benefits. Paid sick leaves, yearly bonuses, 401(k) retirement plans, health insurance, and other types of necessary insurance schemes ensure their security.
The salary also depends on the type of specialization. According to research, in 2009, salaries for in fields like intellectual property, tax, and securities were the highest. Legal assistants in these fields were able to earn salaries as high as USD 65,000. Nowadays, there are more opportunities to scale up the ladder in the field of legal assistance as this field gives its aspirants tremendous scope to learn and upgrade their skills. So, if you are interested in the career of a legal assistant, then you can certainly take it as an opportunity to learn the basics of law in a practical manner.