It’s hard to say which is better for paralegals: a 12 percent job growth projection or a 15 percent salary increase.
Over the last five years Rhode Island has had a dramatically steep rise in its average paralegal salary. It went up by $7,250 to its 2016 level of $56,090 – ranking it among the top-seven states for average paralegal pay. The state also ranks well among its 90th-percentile paralegal salary: $77,360 (US Department of Labor).
While the salary has been going up so have the job growth projections. At 11.9 percent over the decade leading up to 2024, paralegal jobs in Rhode Island have an estimated rate of increase that is nearly four percentage points above the national average (Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training).
As of 2016 Rhode Island has a total of 1,220 in-state paralegals, with 1,260 in the greater Providence-Warwick (CT-RI) metro area and 170 in the Norwich-New London-Westerly (CT-RI) area (US Department of Labor). Your salary and where you work has a lot to do with the major employers in the Rhode Island area.
The law sector is by far the largest employer of paralegals. This includes law firms, corporate law teams, and the government. You’ll recognize the likes of:
- Law firms – Bottaro Law Firm, McEntee & McEntee Law Offices, and Marasco & Nesselbush
- Government – Municipal governments; courts: supreme, superior, district, family, workers’ compensation, and traffic tribunals
- Company legal teams – CVS Health in Woonsocket, Textron in Providence, and United Natural Foods in Providence
- The online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree from Washington University School of Law offers current and future paralegals an in-depth perspective of the U.S. legal system. GRE an LSAT scores are not required.
- The online Master of Legal Studies from American University equips students with fundamental legal training and industry-specific knowledge. Students attend online classes and an in-person immersion in Washington, D.C. Complete in as few as 15 months. No GRE or LSAT required.
- The online Master of Legal Studies program from Pepperdine Law teaches professionals from a variety of fields the fundamental legal skills they need to better execute their law-related responsibilities. No GRE or LSAT scores are required to apply.
Paralegal Salary Statistics in Rhode Island
These figures are provided by the US Department of Labor in 2016:
- Average annual – $56,160
- Average hourly – $27.00
- Top-10th annual – $77,500
- Top-10th hourly – $37.26
Norwich-New London-Westerly (CT-RI):
- Average annual – $49,350
- Average hourly – $23.72
- Top-10th annual – $66,090
- Top-10th hourly – $31.77
- Average salary in Connecticut – $56,840; 10-year job growth through 2024: 6.8 percent
- Average salary in Massachusetts – $55,250; 10-year job growth through 2024: 3.7 percent
Salary and employment data has been compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2010.