The recent real estate boom and falling oil prices has provided a welcome relief to Houston’s economy. As the economy surges, law firms in the city are now on a hiring spree and are looking to strengthen their support staff, particularly as it relates to paralegals.
According to the Law Jobs blog, there has been a considerable increase in the number of paralegals employed over the past few years. In fact, close to 75 percent of lawyers surveyed said that they are hiring more and more legal assistants and hybrid paralegals.
Job requirements for paralegals in many firms are now multifaceted, and cover everything from traditional paralegal responsibilities to law related proficiency in information technology. This has resulted in an increase of the average paralegal salary, and analysts predict a further 3.4 to 4.5 percent increase in 2015. Currently, for a mid-level paralegal working in a mid-level firm, the starting salary in Houston ranges anywhere between $59,931 and $78,475.
With the city’s economy still on the road to recovery, firms are continuously looking to cut costs wherever they can. This has resulted in many firms forging a business relationship with their clients to provide more cost effective services. Hiring hybrid paralegals with multiple specialties has proven to be quite successful in achieving that objective.
By 2018, the demand for paralegals is expected to increase by 28 percent, which is a clear indication of the growth the profession is currently seeing in Houston. Many experts contend that firms looking to cut legal costs are fueling this growth. This, combined with the increase in demand for healthcare law, environment law, elder law and malpractice law, should further fuel the need for paralegals in the coming years. Paralegals with experience in in-house general counsel and litigation are expected to be in highest demand, and are expected to see the highest rate of growth in salaries in the foreseeable future.