Paralegals in the District of Columbia earned higher average salaries than their colleagues in any other part of the country. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the District’s paralegals earned an average of $76,200 a year ($36.84 an hour) in 2016. Those in the top 10% averaged $112,910 ($54.29 hourly). Both of these values exceed the national average for these categories by at least 40%.
The fact that the government is big business in DC has advantages for the area’s paralegals. Of the five industries that are major employers of paralegals, the federal executive branch pays the highest wages on average according to the BLS.
DC has the highest concentration of paralegals of any metropolitan area in the country, and their numbers are only expected to increase in the run up to 2024. The DC.gov Department of Employment Services predicts that the level of growth will be 7.5% during this ten-year period, generating an average of 184 new jobs a year.
Salaries for Paralegals in the DC Metropolitan Area
It’s no surprise that DC paralegals benefit from the fact that law firms in the area serve the surrounding tri-state area with business and individual clients from Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. According to the BLS, paralegals in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria averaged $70,590 ($33.94 hourly) with experienced professionals in the top 10% earning an average of $105,860 ($50.89 hourly).
In addition to all the jobs available in law firms and government, this metropolitan area is known for its concentration of research and development facilities for technology and engineering firms, providing opportunities for paralegals with expertise in patent and intellectual property law.
Salary and employment data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016.