South Carolina’s landscape is changing for paralegals. The major employers of paralegals – law firms, commercial legal teams, and government (including the court system) – are realizing that paralegals have a similar skills set as lawyers, but they cost less to employ. In short, paralegals are being maximized at the expense of lawyers.
In the Palmetto State, the utilization of paralegals is particularly relevant, given that the number of lawyers has grown exponentially during the last decade. In fact, between 2011 and 2021, the number of active lawyers here has increased a whopping 15.7%, according to the American Bar Association.
Paralegal Job Market Trends in South Carolina
As of May 2020, the average salary for paralegals was $46,690 in South Carolina. There’s also plenty of room to grow here for paralegals, particularly for those with extensive experience in one or more areas of law such as litigation, estate law, bankruptcy law, and family law. During this same period, the top 10% of paralegals in South Carolina earned about $70,420.
From Michelin in Greenville to Cryovac in in Duncan to Sonoco in Hartsville, corporate powerhouses remain some of the largest employers of paralegals in South Carolina. Massive net migration in recent years (the state boasts the fifth highest migration rate in the U.S. in the last five years) is a result of corporate growth in the Palmetto State and is a major reason why paralegal jobs here totaled 6,030 as of May 2020.
Average Paralegal Salary in South Carolina by City
Columbia ranked fifth in the nation for its concentration of paralegals as of May 2020, while the Charleston-North Charleston metro region topped the state for its pay of paralegals, both at the average and the top 10% levels.
Average – $53,010 ($25.48 hourly)
Top 10% – $82,140 ($39.49 hourly)
Average – $47,330 ($22.76 hourly)
Top 10% – $64,670 ($31.09 hourly)
Average – $38,850 ($18.68 hourly)
Top 10% – $67,430 ($32.42 hourly)
Average – $46,800 ($22.50 hourly)
Top 10% – $82,880 ($39.85 hourly)
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort:
Average – $47,650 ($22.91 hourly)
Top 10% – $63,150 ($30.36 hourly)
Average – $45,610 ($21.93 hourly)
Top 10% – $61,880 ($29.75 hourly)
Average – $33,720 ($16.21 hourly)
Top 10% – $47,580 ($22.87 hourly)
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary, growth, and job market trends for paralegals and legal assistants. Figures represent state data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed December 2021.