Skilled paralegals may find more job opportunities available to them this year. One in five lawyers (21 percent) interviewed by Robert Half Legal said their law firm or company plans to increase hiring of paralegals during the next 12 months. Only 4 percent anticipate reducing the number of paralegals on their team.
When it comes to landing these jobs, a certificate of completion from a paralegal education program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and a college degree were the most common requirements, cited by 46 percent and 42 percent of attorneys surveyed, respectively.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing and consulting solutions firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers among the largest law firms and companies in the United States.
Lawyers were asked, “What are the certification and/or educational requirements for a paralegal at your law firm or company?” Their responses:*
|High school diploma||1%|
|Certificate of completion from an ABA-approved
paralegal education program
|Combination of a bachelor’s degree, along with a
certificate in paralegal studies
|Post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies||3%|
|*Multiple responses were permitted.|
“Law firms and corporate legal departments are increasingly hiring paralegals to enhance legal services while controlling costs,” said Charles Volkert, senior district president of Robert Half Legal. “Paralegals with advanced education and experience in high-demand specialties will see the greatest employment opportunities and earning potential.”
Research conducted by Robert Half Legal for its annual Salary Guide revealed that salary increases of 3.5 percent are expected for law firm paralegals in 2017. Paralegals with four to six years’ experience at small-to-midsize firms should see the greatest gains, with average starting salaries rising by 5.2 percent, to the range of $55,750 to $70,000 annually. The 2017 Salary Guide is available for download at roberthalf.com/legal/
About Guest Author Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal provides a customized approach, including managed review, legal project management and eDiscovery services, to help organizations handle constantly changing workloads. The company offers in-demand expertise across practice areas as well as highly skilled legal professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis. More information about our full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions can be found at roberthalf.com/legal. For advice on paralegal jobs and salary negotiation, download our eBook, “5 Steps to Boost Your Legal Career — and Your Paralegal Salary,” at roberthalf.com/legal/industry-