The number of paralegal jobs in our state has dramatically increased over the past five years by 41 percent, up from 290 in 2011 to 410 in 2016. In the decade leading up to 2024 the North Dakota Workforce Development Division projects a 5.6 percent increase in the number of paralegal jobs.
Information from the US Department of Labor in 2016 reveals additional positive trends about paralegals throughout our state. For example, in just the past five years the average paralegal salary statewide has gone up by more than $5,000 to it’s current $45,350 level. It’s even better for those earning the top-10th percentile wage at $66,020.
No discussion of paralegal prospects would be complete without mentioning the number-one industry employer – the legal industry. Over the last five years the number of lawyers in the state has shot up by over 40 percent. As paralegals are most often employed by law firms this helps to explain their similar trend. Paralegals have seen the most growth – and currently the majority of the state’s paralegals work – in Fargo, Bismark, and Grand Forks; naturally where the population centers are.
But the source behind the population explosion that has spurred the legal industry forward also has a direct effect on paralegals. Why does the US census label North Dakota as the state with the largest percentage of population increase since 2011? Because of the Bakken boom.
There are plenty of energy companies out there looking to fill their legal departments with a professional team of paralegals. The five largest Bakken energy companies combined produced 294,328 barrels of oil per day in 2013 – that’s more than the entire continent of Australia.
Salary Figures for Paralegals in North Dakota
These salary statistics are sourced from the US Department of Labor and are current as of 2016:
- Average annual – $44,170
- Average hourly – $21.21
- Top-10th annual – $64,340
- Top-10th hourly – $30.93
- Average annual – $48,280
- Average hourly – $23.21
- Top-10th annual – $67,680
- Top-10th hourly – $32.54
- Average annual – $42,300
- Average hourly – $20.34
- Top-10th annual – $60,910
- Top-10th hourly – $29.28
Salary and employment data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016.