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Find Paralegal Salary by State Find out how much paralegals make across the USA.

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Many people thinking about a career change are turning to the paralegal profession as their best career option. Paralegals can train in as little as one year, and can earn a respectable salary whether they work in Texas, Illinois, or New York.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for paralegals is $56,230 (2021 data). Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors.

To help you decide where you might like to work as a professional paralegal, here are annual salaries by state.

Paralegal Average Salary by State

StateAverage Annual Salary*StateAverage Annual Salary*
Arkansas$40,820New Hampshire$55,930
California$61,810New Jersey$60,300
Colorado$62,250New Mexico$49,020
Connecticut$60,240New York$58,070
Delaware$57,140North Carolina$47,370
DC$82,010North Dakota$46,660
Illinois$59,960Rhode Island$52,440
Indiana$48,280South Carolina$46,540
Iowa$50,140South Dakota$49,130
Michigan$51,790West Virginia$48,580

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Paralegal Career Path

Paralegals are usually given more responsibility and authority as they gain work experience and earn certification. Experienced paralegals may also have a high degree of autonomy, particularly in the areas of real estate and estate planning, where a great deal of client work can be done with only minimal supervision of an attorney.

Experienced paralegals working in large law firms, corporate legal departments, or government agencies may supervise and delegate assignments to other paralegals and clerical staff. Some law firms and legal departments employ one or more paralegal managers, typically very experienced paralegals, to oversee the assignments, workflow, and personnel issues for all of the organization’s paralegals.

Where Paralegals Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 70% of all paralegals work for private law firms. In general, large law firms pay the highest salaries. Law offices are typically well appointed, and many paralegals enjoy private offices and above-average perks and benefits, including performance bonuses. Paralegals are also employed by corporate legal departments and various government offices.

There are many different types of paralegal specialties:

As the law gets more complex, paralegals have become more specialized. Within specialties, functions often are broken down further so that paralegals may only deal with one specific area. For example, paralegals specializing in corporate law may concentrate exclusively on tax matters.

Top 10 Metro Areas for Paralegals by Median Annual Salary

Paralegal salaries depend on a lot more than just experience and specialties. Rural and urban areas can look a lot different in terms of pay, benefits, and job outlook.

Metro Area Median Annual Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $82,070
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $74,490
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $73,710
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $73,540
Bellingham, WA $73,080
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $71,240
Santa Rosa, CA $64,860
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA $63,080
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $62,780
Trenton, NJ $62,780