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South Carolina Paralegal Salaries

The legal field has been changing in South Carolina in ways that are disliked by some but represent a boom for paralegals.

To explore this phenomenon let’s take a look at 2016 stats from the US Department of Labor about paralegals in South Carolina:

  • The average salary is $43,860, while the 90th-percentile salary is $62,250.
  • South Carolina has the fifth-highest ratio of paralegals per job – 2.7 per 1,000 jobs – of all states in the nation.
  • Columbia has the second-highest ratio of paralegals per job – 4.86 per 1,000 jobs – of all cities in the nation, while the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort area has the seventh-highest.
  • A total of 5,340 paralegals work in the state, with 1,820 in Columbia, 990 in the Charleston-North Charleston area, and 720 in the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin area.

Why does South Carolina have such a high ratio of paralegals? The answer has to do with changing demographics in the legal field. 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 other words paralegals are being maximized at the expense of lawyers.

The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce reports that between 2014 and 2024 the number of paralegal jobs in the state will increase by 8.6 percent – higher than the national average for paralegal jobs. For lawyers it reports that number will be 6.3 percent.

The US Department of Labor reports that between just 2011 and 2016 the number of paralegals in the state has increased by 35 percent. During that same time the number of lawyers increased by 17 percent.

As the demand for paralegals has continued to increase, so have salaries. Sectors like electronics manufacturing, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals offer the highest average salaries for paralegals, so how these are distributed throughout the state has an affect on regional salary statistics.

*Accredited online paralegal and legal studies programs put an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree well within reach:

Salary Figures for Paralegals in South Carolina

The following statistics are sourced from the US Department of Labor, 2016:

Charleston-North Charleston:

  • Average annual – $48,190
  • Average hourly – $23.17
  • Top-10th annual – $71,620
  • Top-10th hourly – $34.43

Columbia:

  • Average annual – $43,760
  • Average hourly – $21.04
  • Top-10th annual – $61,250
  • Top-10th hourly – $29.45

Florence:

  • Average annual – $36,010
  • Average hourly – $17.31
  • Top-10th annual – $50,470
  • Top-10th hourly – $24.26

Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin:

  • Average annual – $45,820
  • Average hourly – $22.03
  • Top-10th annual – $66,010
  • Top-10th hourly – $31.73

Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort:

  • Average annual – $46,730
  • Average hourly – $22.47
  • Top-10th annual – $62,540
  • Top-10th hourly – $30.07

Spartanburg:

  • Average annual – $44,100
  • Average hourly – $21.20
  • Top-10th annual – $60,320
  • Top-10th hourly – $29.00

Sumter:

  • Average annual – $38,450
  • Average hourly – $18.49
  • Top-10th annual – $58,520
  • Top-10th hourly – $28.13

Rural Low Country:

  • Average annual – $37,950
  • Average hourly – $18.24
  • Top-10th annual – $51,170
  • Top-10th hourly – $25.08

Rural Pee Dee:

  • Average annual – $34,060
  • Average hourly – $16.38
  • Top-10th annual – $43,230
  • Top-10th hourly – $20.78

Rural Upper Savannah:

  • Average annual – $36,350
  • Average hourly – $17.48
  • Top-10th annual – $50,990
  • Top-10th hourly – $24.51

 

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anderson SC
70
36900
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
240
44060
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
680
45950
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC
1990
45250
Columbia SC
1170
49350
Florence SC
180
34010
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
500
38860
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC
280
36100
Spartanburg SC
140
36000
Sumter SC
50
33650
Low Country South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
370
39970
Upper Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
70
33940
Lower Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
80
36590

Salary and employment data has been compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2010.