Show me the money! Paralegal salaries on the rise

J0442286 NEW YORK – June 6, 2011 – After a year of generally flat compensation, paralegals' pay is rising, according to the Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals/Legal Assistants and Managers, 2011 Edition, released today.

The survey by ALM Legal Intelligence, a source of business intelligence for the legal profession, in partnership with the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA), tracks compensation, billing rates and billable hours for paralegals. More than 250 law firms and law departments representing over 9,800 paralegal positions participated in the survey, which has been conducted annually since 2002.

The results of this year's survey included the following:

. The number of organizations granting salary increases in 2011 rose from 64.9% of respondents to 87.2% for paralegal positions that are exempt from wage-and-hour regulations and from 70.1% to 90.0% for non-exempt paralegal positions.

. Changes in base compensation were mostly positive this year, with ten of the eleven positions reporting increases in median base compensation from 2010.

. While both bonuses and overtime compensation decreased for the majority of the positions in last year's report, the 2011 Survey shows increases for both in nearly all positions.

. As in last year's survey, the top two highest paid positions in 2011 are Litigation Support/Technology Manager and Paralegal Manager.

. Law firm paralegal billing rates increased or remained the same for nine of the 11 paralegal positions surveyed. Rates ranged from $135 an hour for a Paralegal Clerk up to a median of $245 for the Paralegal Manager position.

. The highest paid practice area for the Legal Assistant/Paralegal position remains IP/Patents/Trademarks.

The IPMA/ALM Salary Survey is generally information from major law firms.  If you are in a smaller firm, in a third or fourth tier market, the information may be very different.

Given that the news last week about the economy was so dismal, this is great news.  What have you found to be the case?  Has your salary risen since last year?  Was it anything to write home about?  Let us know.