What Is the Economic Outlook for a Career As a Paralegal?
More paralegals are being hired to handle legal duties once done exclusively by lawyers. This is both good and bad news for those pursuing a career in this field. Competition for employment is high, and the best opportunities require paralegals to have formal training and work-related experience.
Economic Outlook for a Career as a Paralegal
Paralegals are being hired by companies all across the U.S in an effort to reduce legal costs while maintaining a high-quality operation. Paralegals can perform duties like compiling documents and taking statements, and they are a less expensive option than lawyers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15% growth in this profession between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the growth expected for other occupations in the U.S. during that period.
Important Facts About a Paralegal Career
|Entry-Level Education||Associate's Degree|
|Number of Jobs (2018)||309,940|
|Similar Occupations||Lawyer, Legal Secretary|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The BLS reports the majority of paralegals were employed by private law firms; however, individuals in this profession may also work for government agencies, corporations and finance, and insurance organizations. Community organizations hire these professionals to assist low-income families and the elderly with their legal issues. Paralegals will enjoy increased demand where they have industry-specific training and field experience.
Salaries and Benefit Packages
Salaries for paralegals vary by education, work experience, region, and employer size. Individuals employed by large metropolitan law firms will earn more than those employed by smaller, rural law firms. According to the BLS, paralegals and legal assistants earned a median annual salary of $50,940 in 2018. Workers in this field receive other fringe benefits, such as vacation time, paid sick leave, a retirement plan, a life insurance policy and dental insurance. Some are reimbursed for continuing education courses.