This year’s survey reports that the national average salary for paralegals in 2009 was $52,214, a 4.8% decrease from the previous year. The highest reported full-time salary was $175,000 and the lowest annual salary was $14,000.
Paralegals received an average raise of $2,429 in 2009 while the largest reported raise was $17,300. Slightly less than half of all paralegals received a raise although 62% of those surveyed believed they were paid fairly. 8.7 percent of respondents experienced layoffs and downsizing in 2009 compared to just 2.5 percent in 2008.
“2009 was one of the toughest years in decades for the legal industry. In the midst of a recession that helped put 15 million Americans out of work, the legal industry experienced record layoffs, hiring freezes and salary reductions. Therefore, it’s not surprising that paralegal salaries fell slightly in 2009,” said Sally Kane, editor-in-chief of Paralegal Today. “However, the paralegal industry itself is still growing and paralegal roles are expanding.”
While paralegal salaries decreased, the number of paralegal positions within law firms and other work environments largely remained the same. 72% of respondents reported that the number of paralegal positions in their organization did not change in 2009; however, 11% of respondents reported an increase in paralegal positions.
Top earning paralegal specialties in 2009 were intellectual property, commercial law and securities law while the lowest paying specialties were family law, criminal law and plaintiff’s personal injury law, according to survey respondents.
Paralegal Today’s, sister publication, Litigation Support Today, serving the litigation support profession, is publishing its first annual Salary Survey in the current issue of that magazine, out soon.
About the Paralegal Today Salary Survey
Featuring 14 pages of informative graphs, charts and analysis, this year’s survey results include:
• National and regional breakdowns for 2009 salaries, bonuses and raises.
• Comparisons of national and regional salary averages from 2005 to 2009.
• Regional salary breakdowns by education, experience and job environment.
• National statistics on billing requirements, benefits, job environment, certification and hiring requirements, exempt vs. nonexempt status, employment outlook and more.
Paralegal Today’s Salary Survey is e-mailed to a random sampling of paralegal subscribers across the nation every year, asking more than 50 questions about compensation, benefits, education and job environments. The results are then tabulated and presented in an annual Salary Survey article.
Paralegal Today subscribers receive the annual Salary Survey issue in their subscription package. To subscribe, go to www.paralegaltoday.com and click on “Subscribe”
About Paralegal Today
Paralegal Today is an international quarterly publication and the leading independent trade magazine geared toward the rapidly expanding needs of the paralegal profession. Paralegal Today offers unbiased news, practical tips, career advice, technology information and substantive feature stories. For more information, visit www.paralegaltoday.com.
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Paralegal Today is an international quarterly publication and the leading independent trade magazine geared toward the rapidly expanding needs of the paralegal profession.