Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

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HarveyBirdman
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Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby HarveyBirdman » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:11 pm

I've had several interviews with a small regional firm (by this I mean they have 4 or 5 offices, 4 attorneys, various paralegals, other office people, etc) for a position that would be working under a paralegal. Technically, they were only looking for someone with a high school diploma but they seemed to like me and I have the interest/desire to get legal work experience before applying to law school so it all fits very nicely.

The problem is after four years of working crap jobs, I have no basis for what I should expect in terms of an hourly wage. There's plenty of data out there on paralegal salaries, legal secretaries, receptionists....but nothing seems to fit my potential job description/title. I also have no previous office environment experience.

My ballpark guess is it's somewhere between $9-15/hr. But I really don't know, and that's a big window anyway. Since paralegals make about what, 25,000-30,000 starting out, that'd seem to peg my potential job more in the 18,000-24,000 range. $9-11.50 hr?

I just don't want to be pressured to throw a number out and be laughed at. I'm so fucking close to this job.

Aston2412
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Aston2412 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:21 pm

Ask for at least 10. I was making 10 working at Banana Republic last year...

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Stanford4Me » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:24 pm

Aston2412 wrote:Ask for at least 10. I was making 10 working at Banana Republic last year...

+1

I made 9.50 @ BR a few years back.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby HarveyBirdman » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:35 pm

What does Banana Republic have to do with anything?

Though that sounds high for retail. Someone should tell them to just pay minimum wage like everyone else.

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:39 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:What does Banana Republic have to do with anything?

Though that sounds high for retail. Someone should tell them to just pay minimum wage like everyone else.

What part of the country do you live, if I may ask?

Aston2412
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Aston2412 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:41 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:What does Banana Republic have to do with anything?

Though that sounds high for retail. Someone should tell them to just pay minimum wage like everyone else.


My point is if you're coming into an office job with a college degree, especially at a law firm, you should be making more than I made at my part-time retail gig.

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sundance95
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby sundance95 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:42 pm

Start at 15. You're entering a profession that is based on negotiation to a large extent, so you might as well get used to it.

What you really need to do is ascertain a) if your time will be billed to clients, b) whether you qualify as a paralegal with your undergraduate degree in your state. If you can possibly be billed out as a paralegal (even if you are working under a more senior paralegal) that should give you a bit of leverage in negotiation.

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happy187
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby happy187 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:44 pm

Usually when I get asked the salary question I feel the best response is; "I am sure that whatever you offer will be more than fair." Once you get that number counter with asking for a little more.

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sundance95
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby sundance95 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:47 pm

happy187 wrote:Usually when I get asked the salary question I feel the best response is; "I am sure that whatever you offer will be more than fair." Once you get that number counter with asking for a little more.

No offense man but that's about as beta as it gets.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby HarveyBirdman » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:56 pm

Aston2412 wrote:
HarveyBirdman wrote:What does Banana Republic have to do with anything?

Though that sounds high for retail. Someone should tell them to just pay minimum wage like everyone else.


My point is if you're coming into an office job with a college degree, especially at a law firm, you should be making more than I made at my part-time retail gig.


Yeah, key words there being "should be."

I'd love to make $15/hr but I was under the impression that's more suited for a paralegal starting out. I won't have my degree when I start, still have one semester left.

No I don't think I'll be billed out as a paralegal, though good question.

I live in the midwest. Wages around here seem pretty low, especially in the last few years. $15/hr would be considered good money. My friend makes $38,000/yr in a nursing home office and thinks he's king kong. Come to think of it, he does make the most of anyone I know my age. Son of a bitch.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:59 pm

You should make more than teenage girls selling clothes, or the hostess girl at an Outback.

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:07 am

sundance95 wrote:Start at 15. You're entering a profession that is based on negotiation to a large extent, so you might as well get used to it.

15 is solid.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby HarveyBirdman » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:09 am

Christ, what do you guys think paralegals make right out of the gate then? 20?

Renzo
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Renzo » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:19 am

HarveyBirdman wrote:Christ, what do you guys think paralegals make right out of the gate then? 20?


Take the above with a grain of salt. I think there is a definite geographic miscommunication in this thread. In most major cities, you can make $8.50/hr + working a McDonalds, and you are saying that retail jobs pay minimum wage where you live.

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Kronk
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Kronk » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:22 am

I made 10 as a legal assistant starting out awhile back. I'd say that's pretty standard, and the work is actually probably not much harder than working at Banana Republic so it's also fair. Got bumped to 15 a couple months later.

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:28 am

Renzo wrote:
HarveyBirdman wrote:Christ, what do you guys think paralegals make right out of the gate then? 20?


Take the above with a grain of salt. I think there is a definite geographic miscommunication in this thread. In most major cities, you can make $8.50/hr + working a McDonalds, and you are saying that retail jobs pay minimum wage where you live.

I definitely missed the midwest part. $15 might be pushing then.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby HarveyBirdman » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:32 am

Renzo wrote:
HarveyBirdman wrote:Christ, what do you guys think paralegals make right out of the gate then? 20?


Take the above with a grain of salt. I think there is a definite geographic miscommunication in this thread. In most major cities, you can make $8.50/hr + working a McDonalds, and you are saying that retail jobs pay minimum wage where you live.


Minimum wage here is $7.40. There's plenty of fast food/retail/call center jobs out there that pay that. Yeah a few better stores might start you at the prestigious $8. But so what.

What Kronk says sounds more reasonable to me. But damn, a $5/hr raise is pretty huge.

So the number that keeps sticking in my head is $12. High enough to be decent but not so high to be stared at like I have three heads.

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Kronk
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Kronk » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:40 am

HarveyBirdman wrote:What Kronk says sounds more reasonable to me. But damn, a $5/hr raise is pretty huge.


It was a small office, I knew the guy, and I only worked like 20 hours there a week, so it wasn't as big as it seemed. I imagine if I had been working at a bigger firm with people I didn't know full time it would've been a smaller bump.

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sundance95
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby sundance95 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:45 am

HarveyBirdman wrote:Christ, what do you guys think paralegals make right out of the gate then? 20?

I was making more than that when I started as a paralegal but I was also promoted from legal assistant to paralegal from within the firm, once I qualified under California law.

The bolded probably contributed most pay. Also. TBF, I was pretty fucking good at my job. :lol:
Last edited by sundance95 on Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby rayiner » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:56 am

God it's Armageddon out there isn't it? College grads working for less than $20/hr? Things were so different 2002-2007.

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:54 am

rayiner wrote:God it's Armageddon out there isn't it? College grads working for less than $20/hr? Things were so different 2002-2007.

:cry:

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby HarveyBirdman » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:45 am

rayiner wrote:God it's Armageddon out there isn't it? College grads working for less than $20/hr? Things were so different 2002-2007.


I never really expected to make $20/hr out of college. Seems completely out of reach.

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pjo
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby pjo » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:24 am

OP, the answer to this question is highly dependent on the size of firm and location. I was making $10/hr doing a job probably fairly similiar to the one you will be doing. It was at a small firm in a small NE town, but the work was fairly substantive. I later went to work a very mundane job, with less responsibiliy at a V100 in a bigger city and started at $12/hr. $15/hr is pushing it, I would say you're looking at probably 10-11/hr starting out.

dudders
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby dudders » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:42 am

I worked for a small regional firm (maybe double the size of OP's), and made between $30-$37k, no benefits. They made a killing off me billing my time @ $120/hr.

Anonymous User
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:45 am

I worked at a large firm in DC as a legal assistant/paralegal, and made $20/hr starting out. If they are billing your time to the client, I think $15 is a very reasonable asking point for a smaller midwest firm.




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