Legal document assistants, or law clerks, work with both lawyers and judges. They research legal documents, prepare affidavits, file paperwork, assist with documents during real estate closing processes, deliver subpoenas and prepare drafts of various legal documents for lawyers. In addition, these specialists can arrange transportation for witnesses or jurors, meet with attorneys' clients and provide general assistance to judges. The salary of a legal document assistant varies by employer and geographic location.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reports that the mean annual wage of legal document assistants in 2009 was $41,960. It ranged from the average of $22,450 to $66,690 a year, with those in the median receiving around $38,390 a year.
Salaries of Largest Employers
The BLS reports that local governments and firms providing legal services were the biggest employers of law clerks in 2009, employing 10,330 and 15,750 clerks, respectively. The average salaries paid by these employers were $42,040 and $40,100 a year, respectively. State governments, although employing a much smaller number at 4,930, paid around $46,580. These were followed by enterprise management companies, with an annual mean wage of $47,530.
Salaries of Top-Paying Employers
The U.S. government was the highest-paying employer of law clerks in 2009, with an average yearly salary of $55,330, as well as one of the largest employers, according to the BLS. Various business and labor unions, banks and state governments also paid top-dollar salaries, ranging from $46,580 to $47,890 a year on average.
Salaries in Different Locations
The District of Columbia, according to the BLS, had one of the largest concentrations of legal document assistants per 1,000 workers in 2009 and paid the highest annual average salary of $65,570. Connecticut, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon were also on the list of the five top-dollar states, with average salaries ranging from $54,930 to $60,600 a year. Some of the largest cities from these states, including Hartford, Connecticut; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Portland, Oregon, were also some of the highest-paying cities, with average salaries ranging from $63,850 to $67,060 a year. Cities from the states with the highest concentrations of law clerks, such as Dover and Wilmington, Delaware; Athens, Georgia; and Baltimore, Maryland, paid much less, from $38,490 to $51,770 a year on average.
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