You may be on the hunt for a paralegal job in order to get some more legal work experience or perhaps in order to follow the equivalent means route to solicitor qualification. Maybe you’re even a legal apprentice, set to become a paralegal after you work-based studies. Whoever you are, or wherever you’re from, you may be wondering how much money you’ll earn as a paralegal. After all, whilst it’s great experience, you also need to pay the bills (and also for that clothes order you just placed… oops!).
Paralegal salary considerations
First things first, there’s no national pay scale for paralegals, unlike, let’s say, NHS workers. Therefore, your paralegal salary may vary based on:
- Your area of practice, e.g. corporate law, intellectual property law or real estate
- Size and/or type of employer – small firm, multinational firm, legal aid firm
- Location – you’re likely to receive a higher salary in London and inner city firms
- Level of responsibility, experience and qualifications.
Generally, entry-level paralegals can expect £14,000-£22,000. If you’re a graduate who’s working as a paralegal, you could earn up to £25,000.
If you're doing a paralegal apprenticeship, you'll have the chance to earn an apprentice's wage while you learn and work. So your wage will always be at least the national minimum wage for apprentices - £3.90 - £8.21 per hour, based on your age and the year of your apprenticeship. But don't get worried if this seems low - many firms pay over the minimum wage as a rule.
The biggest paralegal salaries
Additionally, the paralegal career isn’t just a stepping stone to becoming a solicitor. Those who follow a career as a paralegal and go on to gain senior status can earn over £50,000. US firms tend to pay their paralegals the most. This is because they don’t take on as many trainees in their London office and therefore get paralegals to carry out trainee work. More responsibility means more dollar. On the flipside, paralegal jobs in a US firm are crazy competitive, and they may only consider LPC graduates.
Obviously, if you’re looking to get experience in London but the firm is only offering £18,000, you may have reservations about taking the job, given the cost of living. However, if you’re only planning to work as a paralegal for a year before applying for a training contract, look into how efficiently you could budget.
Alternatively, if you’re faced with the same salary as a career paralegal, perhaps ask for an appraisal within six months and subsequently work your backside off in order to get that all important raise.
Next article: Equivalent means
Alternative Routes into Law