Legal Support Workers: Salary Overview
The term “legal support worker” may refer to paralegals, legal assistants, and other workers who assist lawyers.
A legal support worker’s job description includes investigating and gathering facts that are relevant to a case, researching laws, regulations, and legal articles, organizing documents, drafting legal documents, helping lawyers during trials, calling clients and witnesses, and many other tasks- depending on their place of employment.
For example, a legal support worker who specializes in corporate law will have different job responsibilities than a legal support worker who specializes in litigation.
They may use computer software and technology to organize and catalog documents.
Salaries also vary depending on their area of expertise and role within the legal practice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage reported by paralegals and legal assistants was $51,740 as of May 2019 which means that half of all workers in these professions earned less than this amount while half earned more.
The median annual wage for other legal support workers was $58,930 per year as of May 2019.
The median for these occupations is usually below the average salary reported by all legal occupations- which was $81,820 per year as of May 2019, according to BLS.
Salaries also vary depending on the industry of employment, experience, and education level.
The BLS report shows that the lowest 10 percent of all paralegals and legal assistants earned less than $32,160 per year while the highest 10 percent made more than $82,500.
Salaries for other legal support workers also vary between less than $33,200 and more than $134,700 per year.
Legal Support Worker Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals and legal assistants held around 337,800 jobs in the United States in 2019, most of them working in the field of legal services.
The biggest employer for other legal support workers was the federal executive branch.
In the field of legal services, the average annual wage reported by paralegals and legal assistants was $52,910 as of May 2019.
Other legal support workers who worked in this field reportedly earned $57,570 per year on average.
Paralegals and legal assistants who worked for the federal executive branch reportedly earned $70,040 per year on average while other legal support workers who were employed in this field reportedly earned around $92,940 annually.
Paralegals and legal assistants who worked for local governments reportedly earned $55,210 per year on average while other legal support workers who were employed in this field took home $55,600 per year on average.
Legal support workers also held jobs in state governments.
According to BLS, paralegals and legal assistants who worked for state governments reportedly earned $48,970 per year while other legal support workers who were employed in this field were remunerated, on average, with $48,970 per year as of May 2019.
The highest paying field for paralegals and legal assistants was the grantmaking and giving services sector.
In this industry, these workers were remunerated, on average, with $91,110 per year.
The industry with the highest average salary reported by other legal support workers were manufacturers of semiconductor and other electronic components.
In this sector the average annual wage reported by legal support workers was $108,400- almost double the median for this profession across all industries.
Your salary as a legal support worker will also be influenced by your level of experience and education.
Although an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or a related field is sometimes enough for entry-level employment, holding a bachelor’s degree in the legal field can improve your earning prospects and may give you an advantage over your competitors on the job market.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Legal Support Workers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.