If you’re interested in starting a career as a paralegal, it’s essential to identify the niche best suited to your skills and needs.
The US Bureau of Statistics states that the median annual paralegal salary was $56,230 in 2021.
However, those in the highest-paying paralegal jobs received an average yearly salary of $72,750 that same year.
If a high-paying job in this field is what you are after, keep reading for an extensive list of the highest-paying paralegal jobs.
Highest-Paying Paralegal Jobs
1. Real Estate Paralegal
Average Salary: $68,387
As a real estate paralegal, you will focus on the legal aspects of buying, selling, renting, and leasing residential and commercial buildings and the client’s rights.
In this case, a paralegal’s role is to assist attorneys by performing duties such as:
- Administrative tasks, like answering phones.
- Negotiating contracts with clients and other entities.
- Closely monitoring the finances involved in the case.
- Conducting legal research and compiling the information.
- Drafting legal documents.
- Scheduling interviews.
- Preparing for court.
To become a successful real estate paralegal, you must first become familiar with client rights and the laws surrounding real estate properties.
Additionally, a successful real estate paralegal displays strong organizational and multitasking skills, manages their time effectively, and can complete their work under minimal supervision.
An Associate degree is usually required to become a real estate paralegal, although a higher level of education – e.g., a Bachelor’s degree – is recommended.
2. Corporate Paralegal
Average Salary: $83,516
One of the highest-paying paralegal jobs is that of Corporate Paralegal, which focuses on the diverse aspects of corporate law; a few examples of these are:
As a corporate paralegal, you will ensure the records’ accuracy for the client company.
Additionally, you will work – under the supervision of an attorney – on behalf of the company in court cases or hearings.
Though they may differ from one position to another, these are a few examples of the tasks that corporate paralegals generally have:
- Ensuring that all contract changes comply with regulations.
- Assisting in mediation, litigation, and arbitration.
- Drafting contracts and various legal documents.
The minimum requirement for becoming a corporate paralegal is a high school diploma.
However, many employers prefer an applicant with a higher education.
An Associate degree may be enough in such cases, although a Bachelor’s degree is generally preferred.
3. Personal Injury Paralegal
Average Salary: $65,002
As a personal injury paralegal, your primary duty will be supporting the attorneys in individual injury cases.
A few examples of typical tasks are:
- Assisting attorneys with preparing for court.
- Drafting legal documents.
- Perform interviews on behalf of the attorney.
- Schedule client appointments with healthcare professionals.
- Research federal and state laws and look into past cases that are related to the case at hand.
Like most paralegal positions, an Associate degree is generally the minimum requirement for pursuing a career in this field.
However, having a Bachelor’s degree may appeal more to prospective employers.
And having your paralegal ABA certification on top of this is a bonus that companies like to see on resumes.
4. Intellectual Property Paralegal
Average Salary: $73,622
Intellectual Property Paralegals assist attorneys with aspects of their job, such as trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
Professionals in this field generally perform a wide variety of tasks under the supervision of an attorney.
A few examples are:
- Conducting legal research.
- Drafting legal documents as needed.
- Managing court appeals.
- Filing applications.
Intellectual Property Paralegals also play a crucial part in pursuing legal action against those who violate clients’ intellectual property rights, such as one entity suing another for copyright infringement.
To become a professional in this field, you must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a legal field (e.g.applied law), though some companies may also require at least one year of professional experience.
Upon graduation, you may pursue a six-month or longer internship.
Additionally, the successful intellectual property paralegal is one that displays attributes such as these:
- Strong organizational and time-management skills.
- Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.
- The ability to write more than 50 words per minute.
- A strong knowledge of the law.
5. Family Law Paralegal
Average Salary: $66,718
As a family law paralegal, your role will be to assist lawyers in cases that involve families; a few examples of such cases are:
- Child custody
- Restraining orders
Additionally, you will be required to perform tasks like:
- Drafting legal documents, preparing statements, and scheduling appointments.
- Conducting interviews on behalf of the attorney.
- Handling the documentation during cases.
- Organizing financial paperwork.
- Pre-presenting issues like divorces, adoption cases, and disputes.
To become a family law paralegal, one must complete a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
This can be an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, although the latter is usually the recommended route.
6. Litigation Paralegal
Average Salary: $64,205
The following job on our list of the highest-paying paralegal jobs is that of Litigation Paralegal.
The duties of a litigation paralegal can vary based on the state’s laws, the type of law being practiced, and the employer’s requirements.
However, litigation paralegals assist attorneys through each stage of the trial and generally perform duties such as these:
- Assisting in depositions.
- Performing legal research.
- Assisting attorneys with witness preparation.
- Gathering data and interviewing witnesses.
- Preparing for court.
The minimum requirement for becoming a litigation paralegal is generally an Associate degree, although some employers may require a Bachelor’s degree or a paralegal certification approved through ABA.
7. Bankruptcy Paralegal
Average Salary: $90,341
If you have a keen eye for detail and enjoy reviewing financial paperwork, then the bankruptcy paralegal route may be the path for you.
Your position will consist of working with various clients – individuals and businesses – facing bankruptcy.
As a bankruptcy paralegal, you will assist attorneys in representing creditors, debtors, and other clients.
Some of the tasks that professionals in this field generally perform are:
- Drafting, editing, and updating legal documents.
- Discussing with clients, colleagues, and other professionals to obtain the necessary materials for each case.
- Staying in touch with clients, associates, and individuals involved in the cases you assist.
The minimum requirements for starting a career in this field are similar to those in other positions.
In short, while some companies may take you on with an Associate degree level of education, a Bachelor’s degree is generally your best bet for earlier success in this field.
8. Criminal Law Paralegal
Average Salary: $57,493
Criminal law paralegals work with attorneys – oftentimes defense attorneys – in performing tasks such as:
- Assisting with trial preparations.
- Performing witness interviews.
- Filing motions on behalf of the attorney.
- Conducting legal research and drafting motions.
Like most paralegal positions, an Associate degree is the minimum requirement for starting a career in this field, though a Bachelor’s degree is generally recommended.
To pursue a career in this field, you must first become familiar with local, state, and federal laws and understand the ins and outs of court procedures.
9. Government Paralegal
Average Salary: $62,840
Next up on our list is government paralegal, a job which includes tasks such as these:
- Gathering documentation.
- Reviewing data.
- Performing legal research.
- Performing administrative duties (e.g., answering the phones) as needed.
Government paralegals are in high demand, but a career in this field generally requires a Bachelor’s degree at a four-year university or higher education.
After all, this seems to be the case with most paralegal positions.
However, the requirements for becoming a government paralegal may vary based on the hiring organization or the state laws; in some instances, an Associate degree may be enough.
10. Finance Paralegal
Average Salary: $68,042
If you’re interested in finances but also like studying law, consider a finance paralegal career!
As a finance paralegal, your primary role will be to assist attorneys in their work with businesses and organizations in the finance field.
In other words, you will closely monitor your client’s transactions and ensure they are legal, correct, and wise.
This latter characteristic is essential because your job will be representing your clients and legally securing their assets.
The duties of a finance paralegal can differ drastically based on the client, the project, or the institution with which they are collaborating.
However, if you choose to go down this professional path, you should expect to:
- Perform administrative duties like answering the phone, maintaining an organized filing system, and data entry.
- Conduct legal research.
- Assist attorneys with the legal strategy for their cases.
- Assist in offering financial calculations to clients (for example, the estimates for your services over a certain period).
The requirements for becoming a finance paralegal can vary based on each state’s laws and each organization’s inner policy.
An Associate degree is the minimum requirement for pursuing a career in this field, although having a Bachelor’s degree is generally recommended.
Upon graduating from a four-year institution, you should become familiar with legal concepts in finance and learn to communicate with clients effectively.
11. Labor Law and Employment Paralegal
Average Salary: $114,699
The next well-paying paralegal job on our list is labor law and employment paralegal.
The role of a paralegal in this field is to assist attorneys in addressing legal issues between an employer and an employee.
For example, as a labor law and employment paralegal, you will tackle various issues relating to the workplace, such as labor laws, fair wages, and employment discrimination.
Other scenarios that you are likely to come across as a labor law and employment paralegal are:
- Investigations in the workplace.
- Severance agreements.
- Harassment in the workplace.
- Contract violations.
- Discrimination in the workplace.
To pursue a career in this field, you must first graduate from an ABA-approved program; a Bachelor’s degree is generally the recommended path.
The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) recommends finalizing 60 credit hours in an accredited institution, followed by a 6-month or longer internship.
Additionally, as a paralegal, you will assist attorneys in more than a few cases involving workplace or disability-related discrimination cases.
This is why you must become closely acquainted with:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
Tips for Pursuing a High-Paying Paralegal Job
The paralegal sector is estimated to grow by 4% by 2032, with roughly 38,000 jobs opening annually in this field by the end of the decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
If you’re interested in a high-paying paralegal position from the start, here are a few tips:
- Get your degree: Not all companies require a Bachelor’s degree, but this seems to be the common requirement among many employers.
- Become familiar with the laws: It should go without saying that knowing the laws is an essential skill for a paralegal.
- Identify your skills: Once you’ve done this, make your worth known to future employers and settle for no less.