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Paralegal Salaries

Our 16th annual salary survey showed the national average paralegal salary in 2007 reached $52,979, a 3.7% increase. "I’d say that’s right on par," said Gerard Grandzol, senior placement director for Special Counsel in Philadelphia, a national legal staffing service. Grandzol cited the example of a 500-attorney firm in Northeast that recruited paralegals through his office last year. "They probably [averaged] about a 4 to 5 percent increase last year," he said.

What’s Hot

Regardless of differences across or within regions, certain national patterns emerged in this year’s survey results regarding the hottest legal environments and specialties for highest earning potential. And when it comes to the best environment for maximizing earnings, corporate still is king.

Nationally, corporate paralegals reported an average salary of $61,764, compared with $51,686 for their counterparts in law firms and $51,028 for government paralegals. Average corporate paralegal salaries rose 3.9 percent, whereas law firm salaries increased 2 percent and government salaries suffered an 8.4 percent decrease.

Those numbers did not surprise Grandzol. “The paralegals I know who make the most money do so in corporate transactional practices,” he said. “The two areas [comparable] to that are intellectual property and commercial real estate, but I am not sure if the market is shrinking for commercial real estate.

“I have also seen a phenomenal increase in international trade and matters specifically related to southeastern Asia,” Grandzol added. “We have a variety of IP and general business law firms in Philadelphia — and on a national level — where everyone’s business is taking off with companies from Korea and China and all the other southeastern Asia companies. [Foreign] language skills have been very desirable.”

The survey results also reflected the significance of an international specialty. In the corporate sector, international law took top honors as the highest-paying specialty ($77,000), followed by mergers and acquisitions ($70,278), labor ($67,100), litigation ($62,223) and securities ($62,029). For those in a law firm setting, the highest-paying specialty was tax law ($67,500), followed by intellectual property ($67,300), securities ($65,200), corporation and enterprise ($61,413) and commercial law ($57,842).

Click on the two charts below for information on average salaries by specialty. 


Average Salary by Specialty for
Those Working in a Law Firm Setting

(click on image to enlarge)

Average Salary by Specialty for Those Working in a Law Firm Setting 


Average Salary by Specialty for
Those Working in a Corporate Legal Setting 

(click on image to enlarge)

Average Salary by SPecialty for Those Working in a Corporate Legal Setting


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