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Types of Paralegals: Which Make the Most Money?

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As assistants to lawyers, paralegals are in high demand. Paralegals share many responsibilities as lawyers in their work, yet they are not the brunt of jokes about attorneys. They have the education and experience to help lawyers with various tasks. Whatever your interest, there are many different types of paralegals working in different areas of the law. Often paralegals can find work in law firms, government organizations, and corporations, but where are the highest paying paralegal jobs? Read on to learn about the different types of paralegals and which earn the highest salaries.

What Is a Paralegal?

A paralegal is a legal assistant who helps lawyers with their work. They do many of the same things that lawyers do, but they are not licensed to practice law. Paralegals can do research, write documents, and help with trials. There are many different types of paralegals that work in different arenas of the law.

Related Resource: How to Become a Paralegal: An In-Depth Guide

Types of Paralegals: Which is Right For You?

If you are thinking about becoming a paralegal, there are some essential things to consider.

First, ask yourself if you like working with laws and legal procedures. Paralegals need to be good at research and organizing information. They also need to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life.

Second, think about your education and experience. Most states require that paralegals have an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies from an accredited program.

Additionally, depending on the type of paralegal you’d like to become, you may need additional education. Some employers may also need paralegals to have a bachelor’s degree or other education relevant to the area of law they work in. For example, paralegal that works in healthcare will need experience in the medical field.

Third, consider your career goals. Are you looking for a job that offers flexible hours? Do you want to work in a specific type of law? Do you want to become a lawyer eventually?

Answering these questions can help you decide if being a paralegal is the right career for you. If the answer is yes, the next step is to find an accredited paralegal program and start your studies.

Duties of a Paralegal

The paralegal profession is both challenging and rewarding. As a paralegal, you can work with clients, attorneys, and other legal professionals on various legal matters.

Being a paralegal can be demanding, but it is also gratifying. If you are interested in helping others and making a difference in the world, this may be your career.

While the different types of paralegals will dictate the specific work you’ll do, there are some generalities of this profession. If you’re considering becoming a paralegal, you should know a few things about the profession:

  • It is crucial to understand that being a paralegal requires hard work and dedication. There will be times when you will have to work long hours under stressful conditions. You will need to weigh this with the good pay and prestige of working in the field of law.
  • You need to have strong communication and research skills. As a paralegal, you will be communicating with clients, attorneys, and other legal professionals daily. You will also be responsible for researching legal issues and writing reports.
  • You must be able to handle a large workload. As a paralegal, you will often be working on multiple cases simultaneously. This can be challenging, but it is also an excellent way to learn and grow professionally.
  • You need strong organizational skills. As a paralegal, you will keep track of deadlines, paperwork, and other important information.
  • You should also have a strong desire to help others. As a paralegal, you will be working with clients going through some of the most challenging times in their lives. If you have a passion for helping others, this career may be the right fit.

Types of Paralegals Ranked by Highest Pay

1. Paralegal Manager

As they are responsible for the daily operation of a paralegal department, these managers oversee the work of other paralegals, allocate cases, and monitor deadlines. A manager may also train new paralegals in their duties and departmental procedures.

Qualifications Needed

These types of paralegals need a bachelor's degree and paralegal certification to be a paralegal manager. You also need excellent organizational skills, the ability to multitask, five years of experience working as a paralegal and solid knowledge of the law.

Salary Range

Paralegal managers make approximately $104,775 per year.

Job Outlook

Work availability for a paralegal manager is favorable. Paralegal managers’ job positions should grow as the legal industry expands.

2. Legal Project Manager

Handling large and complex legal projects, a legal project manager oversees all aspects of a project, from planning to execution. The project manager ensures the meeting of deadlines and that the project stays on budget.

Qualifications Needed

To be a legal project manager, you need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, information technology, or a related field. You also need paralegal certification and five years of experience working as a paralegal. Knowledge of the law is essential.

Salary Range

Legal project managers earn approximately $87,375 per year.

Job Outlook

Work for a legal project manager is favorable. The need for legal project managers should grow as the legal industry expands.

3. Intellectual Property Paralegal

The problem of safeguarding intellectual property rights is more important than ever as social media overflows with everyone’s creative work. This is one of the most highly compensated paralegal fields due to the vast value of intellectual property.

An intellectual property paralegal assists lawyers specializing in intellectual property law. They may be involved in various tasks such as preparing legal documents, conducting research, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To be an intellectual property paralegal, you need a bachelor’s degree and paralegal certification. You should also know the law and have experience in copyrights and trademarks.

Salary Range

Intellectual property paralegals earn approximately $86,800 per year.

Job Outlook

The career outlook for an intellectual property paralegal is positive. Job availability for these professionals should grow as the number of businesses seeking to protect their intellectual property rights increases.

4. Nurse Paralegal

If you’re finding it difficult to decide whether you want to study medicine or law, consider being a nurse paralegal. A nurse paralegal is a medical professional who has completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing and has earned a paralegal certificate.

As a nurse paralegal, you will assist lawyers specializing in medical malpractice law. Your duties may include conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

These types of paralegals will need a bachelor's degree in nursing and paralegal certification. You should also know the law and have experience working with medical records.

Salary Range

The average salary for a nurse paralegal is approximately $82,687 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for a nurse paralegal is positive. Work for nurse paralegals should grow as the number of lawsuits filed against healthcare providers increases.

5. Employment and Labor Law Paralegal

Another top job for paralegals is working in employment and labor law. Employment and labor law paralegals assist lawyers who specialize in this area of the law. Their duties may include conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To be an employment and labor law paralegal, you need an associate’s or bachelor’s in paralegal studies and paralegal certification. You should also know the law and have experience working with employment-related issues. What’s more, it’s essential to have strong organizational skills.

Salary Range

The average salary for an employment & labor law paralegal is approximately $80,685 per year.

Job Outlook

The available work for employment & labor law paralegals should increase in the coming years. Demand for employment and labor law paralegals will grow as lawsuits against employers increase.

6. Government Paralegal

Also known as government legal assistants, government paralegals support government attorneys. They may be involved in various tasks, such as preparing legal documents, conducting research, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To become a government paralegal, you will need a paralegal degree (associate or bachelor level) and paralegal certification. These types of paralegals will also need to have at least five years of experience working with the government sector. What’s more, it’s vital to have strong organizational skills.

Salary Range

The average salary for a government paralegal is approximately $78,478 per year.

Job Outlook

The career projection for a government paralegal is optimistic. It should grow 12% from 2020 to 2030. This is faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for government paralegals should grow as the number of laws and regulations increases.

7. Senior Paralegal

A senior paralegal has been in the field for many years and possesses extensive knowledge of the law. They may be responsible for supervising junior paralegals, conducting research, and preparing legal documents.

Qualifications Needed

To become a senior paralegal, you need a paralegal degree and at least five years of experience as a paralegal. You should also have strong organizational skills to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.

Salary Range

The average salary for a senior paralegal is approximately $69,995 per year.

Job Outlook

Work for senior paralegals has a positive outlook over the coming years. Demand will be high for these professionals as the number of lawsuits increases. Senior paralegals should also see increased job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

8. Corporate Paralegal

A corporate paralegal assists lawyers who specialize in corporate law. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

These types of paralegals will need the standard paralegal education (associate or bachelor degree) and certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Also, it’s crucial to have strong organizational skills and experience working with corporations.

Salary Range

The average salary for a corporate paralegal is approximately $66,134 per year.

Job Outlook

Corporate paralegals are lucky because their career outlook is quite positive. Their demand should rise due to the increase in businesses. Corporate paralegals should see an increase in job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

9. Public Defender Paralegal

A public defender paralegal provides support to public defenders. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To become a public defender paralegal, you will need both a paralegal degree program and certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It’s essential to have strong organizational skills and experience working with the criminal justice system.

Salary Range

The average salary for a public defender paralegal is approximately $65,971 per year.

Job Outlook

Work for public defender paralegals should increase. The demand for these professionals will grow as the number of criminal cases increases. Public defender paralegals will see increased job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

10. International Law Paralegal

An international law paralegal helps lawyers who specialize in international law. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To become an international law paralegal, you will need an associate or bachelor level paralegal education and certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Salary Range

The average salary for an international law paralegal is approximately $62,472 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for an international law paralegal is positive. The demand for these professionals will grow as the number of global businesses increases. Furthermore, international law paralegals should see an increase in job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

11. Personal Injury Lawyer Paralegal

A personal injury lawyer paralegal supports lawyers who specialize in personal injury law. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To become a personal injury lawyer paralegal, you will need to complete a paralegal degree program as well as gain certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It’s essential to have strong organizational skills and experience working with clients who have injuries.

Salary Range

Personal injury lawyer paralegals make approximately $60,691 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for a personal injury lawyer paralegal is positive. The demand for these professionals should grow as the number of accidents and injuries increases. Personal injury lawyer paralegals should see increased job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

12. Family Law Paralegal

A family law paralegal helps lawyers who specialize in family law. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To become a family law paralegal, you will need to complete the standard paralegal requirements. You should also have strong organizational skills and experience working with families.

Salary Range

Family law paralegals earn approximately $59,346 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for a family law paralegal is positive. The demand for these professionals should grow as the number of divorces and custody battles increases. Additionally, family law paralegals should see increased job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

13. Freelance Paralegal

A freelance paralegal is a professional who provides support to lawyers on a contract basis. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

An associate’s or bachelor’s in paralegal studies is required to become a freelance paralegal. You will also need certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Salary Range

Freelance paralegals earn approximately $58,507 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for a freelance paralegal is positive. The demand for these professionals should grow as the number of businesses increases. Freelance paralegals should see increased job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

14. Litigation Paralegal

There is a career as a litigation paralegal for those who wish to be a part of the legal entanglements they see on their favorite television series. A litigation paralegal supports lawyers who specialize in civil or criminal litigation. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

To become a litigation paralegal, you will need a paralegal education and certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It’s essential to have strong organizational skills and experience working with clients who are going through a lawsuit.

Salary Range

Litigation paralegals make approximately $55,401 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for a litigation paralegal is positive. The demand for these professionals should grow as the number of lawsuits increases. Litigation paralegals should see increased job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

15. Public Defender Paralegal

Public defender paralegals support lawyers who defend people who cannot afford legal representation. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files. Public defender paralegals must understand the criminal procedure, penal codes, legal research, and court papers.

Qualifications Needed

To become a public defender paralegal, you will need a paralegal degree program that qualifies you to work in your state and certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It’s vital to have strong organizational skills and experience working with people facing criminal charges.

Salary Range

The average salary for a public defender paralegal is approximately $55,023 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for a public defender paralegal is positive. The demand for public defender paralegals should grow as the number of people who need public defenders increases. Public defender paralegals should see increased job opportunities as more paralegals retire.

16. Estate Planning and Probate Paralegal

Did you know that one in every two Americans dies without a will? That’s where estate planning and probate paralegals come in. They work with individuals and families to create wills, trusts, and other legal documents that help protect their assets after death.

Qualifications Needed

An associate or bachelor level paralegal education is required to become an estate planning and probate paralegal. Make sure you have strong organizational skills and good interpersonal skills.

Salary Range

Estate planning and probate paralegals make approximately $53,623 per year.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for this type of paralegal is positive. Their demand should grow as the number of people who need estate planning services increases.

17. Real Estate Paralegal

Real estate paralegals specialize in assisting lawyers with all aspects of real estate transactions, from purchase agreements to closings. They may be responsible for conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing client files.

Qualifications Needed

A real estate paralegal will need an associate or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies or a related field. Also, it’s essential to have strong organizational skills and experience working with clients who are buying or selling property.

Salary Range

Real estate paralegals earn approximately $52,000 per year.

Job Outlook

Job positions for this type of paralegal should grow by about 11% in the next decade. The demand for real estate paralegals will continue to grow as the number of people who need assistance buying or selling property increases. More real estate paralegals are expected to retire in the next decade, which will create even more job opportunities.

Paralegal Job Outlook FAQs

What Types of Paralegals Make the Most Money?

Paralegal managers, legal project managers, and intellectual property paralegals make the most money, earning between $86,000 and $104,000 per year.

What Is the Best Place to Work as a Paralegal?

The best place to work as a paralegal is in a law firm. Law firms offer opportunities for growth and advancement. They also pay their employees well. Paralegals who work in law firms have more job security and prestige than those in other settings.

Another great place to work as a paralegal is in the corporate world. Many corporations are looking for talented paralegals to help them with legal matters. Corporate jobs often come with good benefits and plenty of opportunities for advancement.

Can a Paralegal Become a Lawyer?

A common question for those considering a career as a paralegal is whether or not it is possible to advance from a paralegal to a lawyer. The answer, unfortunately, is no. You can only earn a law degree by completing an accredited law school degree program and passing the bar exam in the state where you plan to practice law. However, there are many advantages to pursuing a career as a paralegal. As an essential part of the legal team, paralegals play a vital role in the successful outcome of cases. It can also give you a taste of legal work to help you decide if the commitment to law school is the right path for you.

Do You Have to Take the LSAT to Be a Paralegal?

No, you do not have to take the LSAT to be a paralegal. The LSAT is only required if you intend on becoming a lawyer. Paralegals are not lawyers. They are legal professionals who support lawyers and help them with their casework.

Paralegals typically have at least an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, although some positions may require a bachelor’s degree. Many paralegals also choose to pursue certification through professional organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the American Bar Association (ABA). While certification is not always required, it can make you more competitive for jobs and lead to higher pay. You can read more about the benefits of certifications here.

What Makes a Good Paralegal?

A good paralegal can work independently, stay organized, and has excellent communication skills. They must also keep up with a fast-paced environment and handle stress well.

What Should Be on a Paralegal Resume?

A paralegal resume should include relevant information about your education, work experience, and skills. The most important thing to remember is to be concise and specific.

Education: List the name of the school you attended, the degree earned, and any honors or awards received.

Work Experience: List the company’s name, your job title, when you worked there, and a brief description of your accomplishments.

Skills: Be sure to list any special skills relevant to the position you are applying for. This could include computer software knowledge or foreign language fluency and soft skills.

If you are interested in becoming a paralegal, many excellent resources are available to help you get started. The American Bar Association and the National Association of Legal Assistants offer excellent resources for pursuing this career.

In addition, many colleges and universities offer paralegal programs that can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this field.

Which Type of Paralegal Will You Become?

There are many great jobs for paralegals. Paralegals can work in various settings, including law firms, government agencies, and corporations. Depending on the type of paralegal you’d like to be, you can also specialize in a particular area of law, such as family law or criminal law. Paralegals play a significant role in the legal system and have a rewarding career.

If you want to become a paralegal, it’s important to research the different types of paralegals and the job outlook that comes with each. There’s sure to be a job that’s perfect for you. Paralegals have successful and rewarding careers with the proper education and training.

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