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California Paralegal Salaries

Not only is California home to more paralegals than anywhere else in the country, they are also among the best paid, ranking fifth in the nation in terms of average salary. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that California’s paralegals earned an average of $59,130 ($28.43 hourly), with those in the top 10% making $93,590 ($44.51) on average as of 2016.

With a diverse economy ranging from IT and high tech to agriculture and tourism, paralegals here find more opportunities with corporate legal departments and the law firms that serve them than almost anywhere else in the county.

It’s fitting that the 6th largest economy in the world would be showing strong job growth projections for paralegals during a time of unprecedented growth. The state’s Employment Development Department projects that the number of jobs will increase by 13.2% between 2014 and 2024 – a rate that is 1.6 times the national average. This level of growth should generate more than 1,000 jobs a year on average during the ten-year period leading up to 2024.

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Paralegal Options Throughout California

While the salaries of California’s paralegals vary greatly depending on their location, six of the state’s major metropolitan areas are among the top nine highest paying areas in the country for these legal professionals:

  • #1 – San Jose metropolitan area
  • #2 – San Francisco metropolitan area
  • #4 – Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura
  • #6 – San Rafael
  • #8 – Napa
  • #9 – Santa Rosa

The salaries for paralegals earning within the top 10% were more than $111,000 in the San Jose area, the Oxnard area, and Napa. These metropolitan areas derive much of their economic strength from industries that range from IT in the San Jose area, defense spending in Oxnard and Thousand Oaks, and the agricultural and viticulture industry in Napa, all industry sectors where normal business activity routinely intersects with the law.

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine:

  • Average – $50,540 ($24.30 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $79,730 ($38.33 hourly)

Bakersfield:

  • Average – $52,200 ($25.10 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $77,960 ($37.48 hourly)

Chico:

  • Average – $41,940 ($20.16 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $59,290 ($28.51 hourly)

El Centro:

  • Average – $52,710 ($25.34 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $74,040 ($35.60 hourly)

Fresno:

  • Average – $51,730 ($24.87 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $77,020 ($37.03 hourly)

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim:

  • Average – $54,110 ($26.01 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $83,470 ($40.13 hourly)

Modesto:

  • Average – $53,530 ($25.74 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $69,760 ($33.54 hourly)

Napa:

  • Average – $66,940 ($32.13 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $111,730 ($53.72 hourly)

Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley:

  • Average – $55,440 ($36.65 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $80,550 ($38.73 hourly)

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura:

  • Average – $71,920 ($34.58 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $113,090 ($54.37 hourly)

Redding:

  • Average – $56,950 ($27.38 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $77,530 ($37.27 hourly)

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario:

  • Average – $60,740 ($29.20 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $100,450 ($48.29 hourly)

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade:

  • Average – $55,160 ($26.52 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $81,850 ($39.35 hourly)

Salinas:

  • Average – $53,070 ($25.51 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $73,970 ($35.56 hourly)

San Diego-Carlsbad:

  • Average – $62,970 ($30.28 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $82,300 ($39.57 hourly)

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward:

  • Average – $66,400 ($31.92 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $100,830 ($48.47 hourly)

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara:

  • Average – $75,290 ($36.20 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $115,510 ($55.53 hourly)

San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande:

  • Average – $41,250 ($19.83 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $58,840 ($28.29 hourly)

San Rafael:

  • Average – $69,280 ($33.31 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $82,940 ($39.88 hourly)

Santa Cruz-Watsonville:

  • Average – $55,400 ($26.63 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $68,240 ($32.81 hourly)

Santa Maria-Santa Barbara:

  • Average – $51,630 ($24.82 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $78,650 ($37.81 hourly)

Santa Rosa:

  • Average – $65,750 ($31.61 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $103,990 ($50.00 hourly)

Stockton-Lodi:

  • Average – $43,900 ($21.11 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $67,570 ($32.49 hourly)

Vallejo-Fairfield:

  • Average – $63,900 ($30.72 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $95,550 ($45.94 hourly)

Visalia-Porterville:

  • Average – $46,640 ($22.42 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $74,650 ($35.89 hourly)

Yuba City:

  • Average – $41,260 ($19.84 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $66,500 ($31.97 hourly)

 

Salary and employment data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016.