Job Satisfaction in the Paralegal Field

2471 Views
<<The paralegal profession is hailed as being one of the fastest-growing industries of the 2000s, and according to an NFPA compensation and benefits survey, paralegals seem to enjoy their work. Nearly half of those surveyed rated their job satisfaction as high or very high. Only a small number (10%) of paralegals rated their job satisfaction as being low, and an even smaller number (3%) deemed it very low. There are fewer experienced paralegals switching jobs, supporting the notion that most seem to be happy with their current employment situations.

Paralegal salaries depend on a wide range of factors, including education, training, experience, geographic location, and type of firm. Paralegals working in large metropolitan areas usually make more money than those in less-populated regions, mostly due to the fact that larger areas tend to have more crimes and legal issues.



The annual salary of a paralegal can range anywhere from $24,000 to more than $61,000. The median salary of a paralegal is roughly $33,000. According to a PayScale, Inc., 2007 survey, however, the median salary of a paralegal in Los Angeles is $48,000, clearly indicating that location does matter.

Paralegal salaries can vary depending on expertise and type of work involved. Paralegals working for the government usually receive higher salaries and superior benefits. In general, large law firms pay higher salaries and provide more benefits than smaller ones.

Some firms give higher salaries and more benefits to paralegals with specific qualifications. Educational level is also an important factor. Paralegals who have bachelor's degrees or go through certification programs will usually command higher salaries than those who do not. Paralegals with more experience will also generally be hired at higher salaries.

There is potential to do very well financially as a paralegal. Patsy Carr, the director of George Washington University's paralegal program, voiced an encouraging trend, stating that third-year paralegals were earning, on average, $38,000. This reflects a substantial increase from paralegals' average entry-level salaries in the low to mid 20s. Paralegals usually start at a minimum of around $25,000 per year and, as previously stated, can work their way to upwards of $60,000 per year. Benefits tend to be excellent, including paid health/dental insurance, two to four weeks of vacation, sick leave, substantial bonuses, and 401(k) plans.

Of course, a paralegal career isn't for everyone. The grind and stress of litigation, not to mention the long hours involved, cause some to change career paths. Sabrina Rodriguez, a 1996 graduate of Fordham University, worked as a paralegal with a reputable New York law firm. Within six months, she was dissatisfied with the legal profession, and she is now considering other options. Tom Johnson, a successful museum administrator, had a similar change of heart after holding a year-long position as a legal assistant.

In truth, some firms can be likened to sweatshops replete with screaming lawyers and trial preparation that often involves working late into the night and spending hours on tedious photocopying and coding, sometimes in dingy surroundings. Some people are just not suited to working in certain areas of the paralegal field, especially litigation.

There are, however, many opportunities for paralegals in today's job market. There are many specialties for which paralegals are well suited. Paralegals can find jobs not only in law firms and government organizations but also at museums, universities, nonprofit organizations, detective agencies, newspapers, and TV stations.

More and more organizations are seeing the benefits of having skilled paralegals on staff to support them. The paralegal profession is an expanding field, and many paralegals have satisfying, interesting, and lucrative careers.

Featured Testimonials

LawCrossing is a quick search website with beautiful options. It was a pleasure to have an opportunity to use LawCrossing.
Robin


Facts

LawCrossing Fact #240: You can sign up for email alerts that let you know when the jobs you want are available in your desired location.


Date
Location
Job Title
May 24, 16
US-CO-Denver
Legal Staff - Litigation in Denver, CO
Law Firm, Min 1 yrs required
Litigation Paralegal The candidate should have an energetic personality, excellent i...
May 23, 16
US-CA- San Francisco
Legal Staff - Intellectual Property in San Francisco, CA
Law Firm, Min 3 yrs required
Trademark Paralegal The candidate will provide organizational and substantive supp...
May 21, 16
US-GA-Atlanta
Legal Staff - Litigation in Atlanta, GA
Law Firm, 5-10 yrs required
Senior / Supervising Paralegal Duties: As a senior or leading team member, functio...
Job of the Day

Trusts and Estates Attorney in Charlotte, NC

USA-Charlotte

Senior Wealth Planner, Private Wealth Management Duties: Responsible for providing financial planning consulting and ...

Employer: SunTrust Banks Inc.

Job Search Tip

Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by big, fat severance packages. Over time, money runs out.