A paralegal specialist is a law professional who assists lawyers with a variety of legal tasks. They help in researching cases, preparing draft documents for trials or hearings, drafting legal opinions, and interviewing witnesses in preparation for an appearance in court. A paralegal specialist may opt to focus on a particular area of law such as family, real estate, corporate law, bankruptcy, etc., or to practice in all areas.

Paralegal specialists work closely with other lawyers, court personnel, and staff in other departments. They can work in legal clinics, law firms, corporate organizations, government institutions, and non-profit organizations.

To succeed in their role, they should have extensive knowledge of the law, research skills, confidence, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and attention to detail. Paralegal specialists usually work full-time, 40 hours per week, from Monday to Saturday between 9 and 5. They may work additional hours in the evenings and during the weekends when they travel to meet clients.

What Does a Paralegal Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many paralegal specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, computer skills and interpersonal skills.

Learn more about what a Paralegal Specialist does

How To Become a Paralegal Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a paralegal specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 52.2% of paralegal specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.7% of paralegal specialists have master's degrees. Even though most paralegal specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Paralegal Specialist

Paralegal Specialist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Paralegal Specialist

Paralegal Specialists in America make an average salary of $61,244 per year or $29 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $106,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Paralegal Specialist Salary
$61,244 Yearly
$29.44 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Paralegal Specialist

There are several types of paralegal specialist, including:



A paralegal is in charge of substantive legal work. Typically, they serve lawyers who are so busy building a case that they need help sorting out all of the legal work. That's where you come in.

Paralegals take pride in their responsibilities by administering their knowledge of the law and legal procedures. It can be a great thing to have a paralegal on the case because the law will determine what direction a lawyer may swing a case.

While you definitely need a working knowledge of what the law is, you really only need to obtain an associate's degree for this line of work. Sure, you could probably spend your entire life going through and memorizing every single law out there, but laws change all the time so chances are you're going to have to look it up anyway.

  • Average Salary: $49,943
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Litigation Paralegal


Litigation paralegals are the backbone of the trial team. They manage all of the details throughout every phase of the trial, from investigations to pleadings and discovery. The litigation paralegal works closely with attorneys in depositions, witness preparation and research. The paralegal is typically the one who prepares and handles all exhibits.

Litigation paralegals research and analyze law sources such as statutes, recorded judicial decisions, legal articles, treaties, constitutions and legal codes to prepare legal documents such as briefs, pleadings or appeals for use by the attorney. They draft routine legal documents for review and use by attorneys, compile and prepare draft discovery responses, and review and analyze reports, responses and records produced by opening counsel.

Some skills that are necessary to have include excellent verbal and written communication skills, high attention to detail, resourceful research and analytical skills, ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects and tasks, and proficiency in Microsoft Office. The reported average annual salary for an litigation paralegal is approximately $55,340, with job growth in the U.S expected to increase 12% by 2028.

  • Average Salary: $58,484
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Legal Clerk


A legal clerk is a member of a law firm who works on different administrative activities on a daily basis. Legal clerks primarily conduct research on legal cases related to the ones that the firm is currently handling. They also prepare memoranda, drafts of legal documents, case materials, and office orders.

They may also do proofreading and editing of legal documents before publishing. In addition, they may be assigned to communicate with clients, provide updates on cases, and communicate the schedule of hearings. When assigned to assist in specific cases, legal clerks are expected to be familiar with the procedure of handling that particular type of case. They should also provide administrative support throughout the proceedings.

To become a legal clerk, an individual must have a bachelor's degree, pass the LSAT, go to law school, and obtain a law degree. They may choose to further specialize in a specific topic or to get a graduate degree in law. Given the administrative nature of the work, legal clerks are usually fresh law school graduates who are new at a law firm.

  • Average Salary: $35,152
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Paralegal Specialist Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active paralegal specialist jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where paralegal specialists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Paralegal Specialist Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
4New York640$68,495
8North Carolina439$44,088
15New Jersey305$73,101
27South Carolina151$39,673
36West Virginia87$60,629
41New Mexico66$51,317
42New Hampshire59$73,614
44North Dakota55$56,870
47Rhode Island45$63,400
49South Dakota39$58,290

Paralegal Specialist Education

Paralegal Specialist Majors

12.0 %

Paralegal Specialist Degrees


52.2 %


21.1 %


7.7 %

Top Colleges for Paralegal Specialists

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Texas Wesleyan University

Fort Worth, TX • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Hamline University

Saint Paul, MN • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Touro College

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Paralegal Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.5% of paralegal specialists listed legal research on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and computer skills are important as well.

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Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Paralegal Specialist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Paralegal Specialist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Paralegal Specialist diversity

Paralegal Specialist Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among paralegal specialists, 62.2% of them are women, while 37.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among paralegal specialists is White, which makes up 61.9% of all paralegal specialists.

  • The most common foreign language among paralegal specialists is Spanish at 47.8%.

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Best States For a Paralegal Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a paralegal specialist. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Paralegal specialists make the most in California with an average salary of $78,318. Whereas in Washington and Connecticut, they would average $75,364 and $74,543, respectively. While paralegal specialists would only make an average of $73,614 in New Hampshire, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Paralegal Specialist Jobs: 213
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Washington

Total Paralegal Specialist Jobs: 330
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. California

Total Paralegal Specialist Jobs: 1,278
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Paralegal Specialists

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Top Paralegal Specialist Employers

Most Common Employers For Paralegal Specialist

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Federal Deposit Insurance$94,263$45.3224
2U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission$84,995$40.8618
3Federal Trade Commission$81,430$39.1524
4Steptoe & Johnson$80,807$38.858
5U.S. Department of State$78,641$37.817
6Social Security Administration$78,407$37.709
7United States Department of Justice$77,509$37.2656
8Bank of America$74,216$35.6812
9State Attorney's Office$73,263$35.2212
10Small Business Administration$71,429$34.3473

Paralegal Specialist Videos