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The lowest paid legal jobs | JDJournal

Every star-eyed law student dreams of a job at Biglaw and a six-figure salary. However, in the “real world” there are equally important legal jobs that are not equally paid.

While a good salary is absolutely important, especially if you have six-figure student loans, making the right choice for your job satisfaction will help prevent burnout, which is a common problem in the legal profession.

But it turns out that a good dollar isn’t always the indicator of a happy and fulfilled lawyer.

Researchers who surveyed 6,200 lawyers about their work and their health found that the factors most commonly associated with success in the legal profession, such as high income or a partner job at a prestigious firm, had “an almost correlation. zero with happiness and well-being, ”reports the New York Times.


Median salary – $ 47,000

Surprisingly, many law school graduates have only been able to find employment as a paralegals. Paralegals do a ton of paperwork and fact-checking that must be done daily in a law firm. Paralegals assist attorneys by preparing legal documents, researching legal precedents, and investigating facts, among other tasks.

Paralegals — often called legal secretaries — are traditionally people who cannot practice law and who have specialized training. However, in a tough economy, there are also banned law graduates vying for paralegal jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Career Outlook Handbook, paralegal employment is expected to grow much faster than average, with around 39,000 paralegal jobs added from 2018 to 2028, an increase of 12%.

While some law firms report that two in five applicants for paralegal positions are JDs, many firms are unwilling to hire law school graduates for paralegal positions. This is understandable as they have been trained in a different skill set and are extremely overqualified.

Paralegals earn an average salary of $ 47,000, although in some cases, depending on the region and the training of the paralegal, they can be paid up to $ 65,000.

Below is a list of the top 10 highest paying states for paralegals.

  1. Connecticut $ 62,760
  2. California $ 61,240
  3. $ 60,940 in Washington
  4. $ 60,320
  5. Alaska $ 59,140
  6. New York $ 58,750
  7. $ 58,350
  8. New-Jersey $ 58,260
  9. Nevada $ 57,600
  10. Delaware $ 57,290

Public defender

Median salary – $ 62,000

Public defenders have one of the most difficult jobs in the legal industry, but also one of the most rewarding. One in five defendants in America cannot afford a lawyer, and public defenders are the heroes who defend the vast majority of those accused of crimes. Public defenders have the difficult task of representing criminal defendants who cannot find representation or cannot pay for an upcoming hearing or trial. Like many people in the civil service sector of the law, public defenders are notoriously underpaid and overworked. The average salary for a public defender is $ 62,000, although in some cities it can be as high as $ 100,000. Sacrificing the big salary to help those in need, public defenders find job satisfaction in some of the most emotionally trying circumstances.

Legal aid lawyer

Median salary $ 42,000

Legal aid lawyers represent people who cannot afford lawyers. The job of these lawyers is to help those in need, and they are grossly underpaid. The median salary for a legal services lawyer is $ 42,000, but it can reach around $ 63,000 in some states and after many years of experience. These are public service jobs that many lawyers derive great satisfaction from, even if they do not earn much money.

Immigration lawyer

Median salary $ 67,000

With immigration being a hot topic, immigration lawyers are in great demand across the country. Immigration lawyers represent clients who are new to the country and deal with other aspects of government. Whether they are struggling to complete their immigration papers or have committed a crime, the average salary for an immigration lawyer is $ 67,000, and some states pay as much as $ 106,000 per year. .

If you have an interest in any of these lower paying legal areas, that’s perfectly legitimate.

According to a 2015 study published in the George Washington Law Review, lawyers with the lowest salaries reported a greater sense of happiness than those in high-paying, high-stakes legal jobs.

“Making the partner the ultimate gold ring in many companies doesn’t seem to be paying off in any greater happiness either. Junior partners reported identical well-being to senior associates, who were paid 62% less, ”according to the study, published this week in the George Washington Law Review.

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