What Factors Have The Most Impact On Paralegal Salaries?Laura King
May 10, 2011 — 1,009 views
The paralegal salary range is quite wide depending on your education, experience, where you are located and the area of law you specialize in. Let's look at each of these factors in more detail:
Although you can work as a legal assistant in most states with no formal education or certification, it is becoming more difficult to find a suitable position. Some law firms like to take on young trainees but most prefer those who have graduated with an associates or baccalaureate degree in paralegal studies. Some companies will give preference to job applicants who have passed the National Association of Legal Assistants exams. The NALA certification exams takes two days to complete and once you pass you are entitled to be called either a certified paralegal or certified legal assistant.
Some students prefer to become a registered paralegal by completing the PACE exam. This certification exam is a lot shorter but covers similar topics to those examined in the NALA exams.
AS with all other types of employment, relevant experience will help increase your salary potential. You may have previous experience working as a nurse so if you join a personal injury practice, this experience may be recognized by a higher starting salary. It can be difficult to find work experience when you are a student but some paralegal study courses offer an internship as part of their educational program.
Location doesn't just affect the price of housing. It also affects the type of paralegal salary range on offer. You can earn more in the bigger cities but you need to remember that your living expenses will be higher too. You may have a better lifestyle earning a lower salary but living in a cheaper location.
Type of law firm
If you go to work for one of the larger law firms that tend to attract the cream of law graduates from Ivy League schools you should start on a higher salary. But you have to be prepared to work hard with long hours being the norm rather than an unusual event. If you have always wanted to help the underdog, you could work for a firm who specialize in defending those less well off members of society. You will earn less but you may have greater job satisfaction.
Don't let the paralegal salary be the only factor you consider when reviewing your career. Job satisfaction and quality of life matter too. Only you can decide what type of role is the best for you. Everyone has different priorities. Some want to help change the world while others want a very high pay check and the luxury lifestyle that attracts.
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Find out more about how to increase your paralegal salary now.
To get a higher salary you need to gain your paralegal certification but there are other things you need to do too.