|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|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||277,000|
|Job Outlook, 2012-22||17% (Faster than average)|
|Employment Change, 2012-22||46,200|
What Paralegals and Legal Assistants Do
Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.
Paralegals and legal assistants are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. They usually work full time, and overtime is sometimes needed to meet deadlines.
How to Become a Paralegal or Legal Assistant
Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. In some cases, employers may hire college graduates with a bachelor’s degree with no legal experience or specialized education and train them on the job.
The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $46,990 in May 2012.
Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation attracts many applicants, and competition for jobs will be strong. Experienced, formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of paralegals and legal assistants with similar occupations.