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What Is the Income of a Paralegal

published June 19, 2009

Silas Reed
( 16 votes, average: 3.9 out of 5)
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Because Paralegals are fast becoming an asset to law firms, no matter the size or practice area, people who have four year degrees are going back to school to obtain a certificate that gives them access to some of the more demanding and mid level paying careers. Paralegals generally work on salary, which means that they do not get paid for overtime but can make more income than a legal secretary or file clerk usually bring home.

Every attorney who attends law school and passes the bar should have a Paralegal working with them. Paralegals do legal research and help attorneys gather evidence and also can assist in court. The income of a Paralegal varies depending on the state and the practice area. Many Paralegals start in one department and root themselves in the law, which helps to raise their salary level as they gain experience. Those who spend at least five to seven years as a Paralegal can qualify as a senior Paralegal.

Depending on what practice area you choose as a Paralegal you can be paid up to a $50,000 salary. Many start at $30,000 and it varies from state to state. Paralegals are the backbone of many legal departments because they can do legal research, draft briefs and draft deposition questions. Their rate is much cheaper than an attorney and if a client is concerned with legal fees a Paralegal can help to offset the bill.

Some of the more exciting areas of law to work in for a Paralegal are corporate and public law. If somebody knows you are a Paralegal they tend to ask you questions about your work and if it's challenging enough. Those who are seeking a different career path and want a higher income may want to find out more about how to become a Paralegal. This is your chance to boast about your career and how exciting it can be.

If you find yourself working in a law firm there are plenty of benefits that a Paralegal can have along with a comparable salary. You can have great health insurance, dental and even a 401K option. The larger the firm the more you will be paid for your education and experience. Some Paralegals latch onto a firm and spend their entire career there, some give back to the community and become instructors and help other people who are pursuing a goal to work in the legal arena.

Continuing education is also paramount, you will want to make sure that you keep up with the requirements put forth, many classes can be paid for by the firm who employs you and it's always nice to catch up with fellow students at a conference. Some Paralegals even attend workshops with attorneys and help with legal questions. Although a Paralegal cannot give legal advice, they are trained to review cases to see if there is merit for a lawsuit. There are many areas in which a Paralegal can help an attorney.

If you want to see how a Paralegal fairs in comparison to a legal secretary or file clerk you should get some information from a college that offers a Paralegal course. Check out the curriculum and decide if it’s a path you want to take. Once you decide you want to be part of the legal community there will be more opportunities than you can imagine. The law is always changing and new departments are opening up, and one of the fastest growing areas is intellectual property cases.

Since a Paralegal's salary is based on their experience, its best to stay with an area of law for at least five to seven years. You can become immersed in the laws and cases that govern that area and become an expert. The more a Paralegal becomes an asset to a law firm the more your income will increase. To find out the salary of what a Paralegal makes in your area you can call a law firm or peruse the classifieds.

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