Paralegal’s Job Ranked Above Lawyer

January 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm (Legal Professional Tips)

According to, which ranked 200 jobs, the job of paralegal is ranked 12th, while lawyer is ranked 82nd.  The rankings took into consideration physical demands, work environment, income, outlook and stress.  The ABA Journal article can be read here. 

I wonder which paralegal’s income they took into consideration for this. Ha!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the economy and its impact on the legal profession generally.  I came across a recent job posting which would typically seek paralegals, indicating a paralegal or attorney may apply.  Are recent law grads with high loan payments getting preferential treatment here? If the job would pay the same salary to either a paralegal or a lawyer, would the lawyer be seen as a bargain with necessarily higher education to bring to the table? It is certainly a trickle-down effect. However, if more lawyers could learn how to utilize paralegals, they may find it more economically advantageous to hire one-less associate and keep one more paralegal.

Of course for me, I’m “playing” for both teams: paralegal and future lawyer. Hopefully by the time I graduate law school in 2014 we will be in a very different economy and the legal market will be thriving once again. Though, I think firms and corporations have had to take a close look at “trimming the fat” and may be reluctant to sway from their newly-found thrifty ways. After all, less money spent on salaries means more money for equity partners.



  1. Anne S. said,

    So would you say that the figure of $47K listed in the linked article is highly unlikely? I’ve heard everything from $30 to $50K at big firms in larger cities. And, in your experience, do most paralegals get benefits? Thanks!

  2. LawSchoolDreamer said,

    Hi Anne,

    Yes, most paralegals do get benefits (insurance, retirement, etc.). Pay varies greatly depending on private v. public sector, geographic area, etc. I would say $30k to $50k would be more standard for smaller to mid-size firms in cities; whereas a friend of mine working at one of the largest international firms in the country earns closer to $80k.

    Hope that helps!

    • Anne said,

      Thanks, that was very encouraging. There are, as you know, a lot of negative people on the Internet, and it’s hard to get the truth. I have an appointment with an advisor at the local Paralegal program in about 15 minutes, so thanks for responding. Great blog!

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