Legal Trends and the Industry Outlook
Job Market Analysis
The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released their official 2020 Occupational Outlook for Paralegals and Legal Assistants. In the final analysis of the data, it is a good time to be in, or to be qualified for a paralegal or legal assistant position. Either way, these statistics can help you to stay motivated. If you want a better shot at getting hired or increasing your salary you might consider relocating to the areas that offer more opportunities (see below).
Consider these findings:
– Median annual pay is $51,750, compared with $39,800 for all occupations in the US.
– 80% of paralegals and legal assistants earn between $32-82,000.
– The federal government, finance, and insurance sectors pay the most, with a median income above $84,000 per year.
– Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 10% over the next 10 years, much faster than the 4% for all occupations in the US economy.
– States with the most paralegals are CA, FL, NY, TX, and IL. The highest pay for paralegals and legal assistants is in DC, CO, CA, MA, and WA.
So again, for the best opportunities for growth, hiring, and pay, use these statistics to your advantage.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for Paralegals and Legal Assistants can be found here.
If you are still looking into this field, it is also important to recognize and consider the legal trends following this career and how it can impact the legal industry.
Advances in electronics have made the intensive and sometimes complicated legal process more easily accessible and effective. Using tools such as e-discovery help alleviate some of the strain on determining the relevance of each side being examined within a case.
Baby boomers are now in, or approaching, retirement age and will be considering different ways handle their assets. Many will choose to pass down resources to their children, grandchildren, or a worthy cause. This type of planning often times requires legal counsel. The more individuals preparing for retirement, in turn requires more competent individuals in the legal field to assist them.
Big Law Firms
Larger law corporations are always looking for ways to cut expenses. Considering ways to hire employees who can work well while also combating the reputation of being expensive firms. One way they can provide excellent council and remain competitive is to hire paralegals on a contract basis. This concept provides more flexibility, more opportunity, and allows each firm to stay on top of tasks while staying mindful of their competitors.
The amount of billable hours lawyers have been expected to keep in a year is a resounding number of 1,950. These extensive hours are unsustainable and prevent individuals from maintaining a healthy work/life balance. An unrealistic workload, along with deadlines, make it challenging for associates to complete their assignments effectively. To alleviate this, a new trend is being considered—limiting the number of hours an associate is required to bill in a year.
Considering a Career in Paralegal Studies?
These legal trends and outlooks for the job market are exciting, innovative, and continually changing so it’s important to stay current with practices.
Blackstone Career Institute prepares you for a paralegal career in a variety of settings including but not limited to a law firm, bank, court, government agency, or one of dozens of organizations that depend on legal assistants/paralegals today. Our nationally & regionally accredited online Legal Assistant/Paralegal Program includes the 900 clock hours of coursework needed to sit for both NALA & NALS Certification.