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West Virginia Paralegal Salaries

You might be surprised to learn that West Virginia has the highest concentration of paralegals of all states in the nation. Statewide every 325th employed person is a paralegal. Charleston has the highest concentration of paralegals of all cities and metropolitan areas in the nation outside of DC. Here every 183rd employed person is a paralegal (US Department of Labor, 2016).

So why does West Virginia lead the nation in paralegal density? The answer has to do with the unique demographics of our state and our economy.

The current trend in West Virginia is for paralegals to replace lawyers. Law firms, company legal teams, and government agencies are finding that in many instances they can use paralegals to do the basic legal work that they were previously hiring lawyers to do, at a fraction of the cost.

The US Department of Labor reports that between 2011 and 2016 the total number of lawyers statewide has actually declined, while paralegals have increased. The West Virginia Department of Commerce reports that lawyers have a negative job growth projection through 2024, while paralegals have a positive projection. Bad news for lawyers but great news for paralegals.

Of course you’ll find regional differences. As the largest city and seat of government, Charleston offers the highest average salary for paralegals. This is followed by the second-largest city Huntington offering the second-highest average salary. Wheeling comes in third, with its relatively large government presence through institutions like the Wheeling Municipal Court and Ohio County Court systems.

Altogether there are 2,150 paralegals working in West Virginia. Naturally the distribution of paralegals follows the highest average salaries. Charleston is home to 620 paralegals, followed by the greater Huntington-Ashland area and Morgantown with 230 each. Wheeling is home to 150 paralegals (US Department of Labor, 2016).

The average statewide paralegal salary has risen by $5,430 – 14 percent – in the last five years to it’s present $44,040. Those earning the top-10th percentile salary earn $65,430 according to the US Department of Labor in 2016.

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Salary Figures for Paralegals in West Virginia

These statistics are sourced from the US Department of Labor in 2016:

Beckley:

  • Average annual – $38,800
  • Average hourly – $18.65
  • Top-10th annual – $48,910
  • Top-10th hourly – $23.51

Charleston:

  • Average annual – $47,990
  • Average hourly – $23.07
  • Top-10th annual – $71,730
  • Top-10th hourly – $34.48

Huntington-Ashland:

  • Average annual – $45,330
  • Average hourly – $21.79
  • Top-10th annual – $62,920
  • Top-10th hourly – $30.25

Morgantown:

  • Average annual – $41,030
  • Average hourly – $19.73
  • Top-10th annual – $59,870
  • Top-10th hourly – $28.78

Parkersburg-Vienna:

  • Average annual – $41,410
  • Average hourly – $19.91
  • Top-10th annual – $49,830
  • Top-10th hourly – $23.96

Weirton-Steubenville (WV-OH):

  • Average annual – $35,270
  • Average hourly – $16.96
  • Top-10th annual – $48,140
  • Top-10th hourly – $23.14

Wheeling:

  • Average annual – $44,710
  • Average hourly – $21.49
  • Top-10th annual – $72,340
  • Top-10th hourly – $34.78

Rural Northern West Virginia:

  • Average annual – $34,810
  • Average hourly – $16.73
  • Top-10th annual – $44,340
  • Top-10th hourly – $21.32

Rural Southern West Virginia:

  • Average annual – $36,390
  • Average hourly – $17.50
  • Top-10th annual – $46,340
  • Top-10th hourly – $22.28

Salary and employment data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016.