Paralegal, Legal Secretary and Legal Executive Salaries

Paralegal, Legal Secretary and Legal Executive Salaries

legal earnings

We’ve looked at some of the salaries you can expect to earn as a solicitor or barrister.

Now it’s time to look look how much you can earn as a paralegal, legal secretary or legal executive.

As with the other articles on salaries it’s very hard to get an exact figure. So the numbers mentioned on this page are for rough estimates only!

Salary will usually depend on these three factors:

  • Your location in the UK. In London salaries are higher due to increased living expenses.
  • The area of law the firm deals with. Commercial law usually pays much more than firms who specialise in legal aid.
  • How much experience you have. Obviously someone with 10 years experience is going to be paid more than someone with 6 months.

Paralegal salary

The difficulty with defining a paralegal salary is further compounded because of the differing levels of experience a paralegal could have. For example one paralegal could have a degree and have done the LPC while another is educated up to secondary school level. Due to the current competition entry requirements are quite high – firms can afford to set 2:1 at degree level with good A levels required too. This could mean that firms may get away with offering a reduced salary at the moment. It’s all about supply and demand!

For small firms out of London who don’t specialise in high paying legal areas you won’t be looking at much more than minimum wage. So expect around £12,000 – 14,000 starting salary – perhaps toward the higher end of the scale if you’ve got more qualifications.

In a large London firm you can expect much more. However the entry requirements will be higher. You will either need to be very experienced or have a degree & LPC. The starting salary for a large commercial firm in London should be £20,000+. 

The more experience you’ve got, the more you will be paid. You will be able to undertake more complex tasks and your job won’t be too dissimilar to that of a solicitor. An experienced paralegal in magic circle firms may be able to earn up to £50,000 however £35,000 in London and £25,000 outside London are more realistic estimates.

Note: Legal assistants can also expect to earn around this amount.

Legal secretary salary

A legal secretary can expect to earn a similar amount to a paralegal. However you don’t need to have done a university degree or the LPC. But you may need to have done the Legal Secretarial Diploma or equivalent for the higher paying roles.

On the Slaughter & May site it states legal secretary’s need to:

…have gained at least five GCSE subjects at Grade C or above, which must include English Language (at Grade A) and Maths, and will be studying or have passed a one or two year Legal Secretarial diploma.

Have a look at our legal secretary courses page.

Legal executive salary

The Institute of Legal Executives state that the average starting salary of a legal executive is £15,000 – £28,000 while still undertaking their qualifications. When the ILEX qualifications are done the salary will go up again – sometimes to as much as £38,000. Once all the training is complete a salary in the region of £35,000 – £55,000 can be expected. All this is again dependant upon location, experience and the area of law the firm specialise in.

If you want to learn more about the qualification process for legal executives, go here.

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