Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

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Interested Observer
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Interested Observer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:54 am

Anonymous User wrote: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.



I worked as a legal assistant in California for a small firm before law school. I started out at $12 and moved up to $16 by the time I left. They billed some of my work out at $90 (but, i didn't do that much billable stuff until towards the end of my time working there).

am060459
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby am060459 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:12 am

I work for a V5 in NYC as a legal assistant. I get $20 an hour and time and half for overtime.

If you are not a "paralegal/legal assistant" and are working for a small firm i would think anywhere from $12-15 an hour is reasonable. If they believe you will be with them fora couple of years, they may low ball you so that when time comes for raises they can bump you up without hurting their budget. however, if its clear that you will be working for a year (give or take), then i would try to push toward the upper range.

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

Postby Eco » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:13 am

I think a minimum of $11 is fair.

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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 12:28 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:
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.


I had friends who made $18/hour working at Best Buy during high-school.

am060459
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby am060459 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:33 pm

rayiner wrote:
HarveyBirdman wrote:
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.


I had friends who made $18/hour working at Best Buy during high-school.



Geek Squad?

ran12
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby ran12 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:41 pm

am060459 wrote:
rayiner wrote:
HarveyBirdman wrote:
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.


I had friends who made $18/hour working at Best Buy during high-school.



Geek Squad?


Idk about you guys but with a college degree I think 20/hr is a bare min expectation.

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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 1:09 pm

Average salary for college graduates is up 5% in 2011: http://www.naceweb.org/research/salary_survey/

Petroleum engineering destroyed everyone at $80k to start: --LinkRemoved--

am060459
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby am060459 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:15 pm

ran12 wrote:Geek Squad?


Idk about you guys but with a college degree I think 20/hr is a bare min expectation.[/quote]

it depends. if its 20/hr with no overtime ($40k a year) then that sucks. thank god i have plenty of overtime and it translates into 60-65 a year.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:33 pm

I also started at around 20 for my first paralegal job. It was in DC though. I think that in the midwest 15, give or take a couple bucks, is definitely attainable. As someone else said earlier, you will likely be billing time to clients so 15 doesn't seem unreasonable.

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

Postby Aston2412 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:34 pm

am060459 wrote:
ran12 wrote:Geek Squad?


Idk about you guys but with a college degree I think 20/hr is a bare min expectation.


it depends. if its 20/hr with no overtime ($40k a year) then that sucks. thank god i have plenty of overtime and it translates into 60-65 a year.[/quote]


Still sucks. If you're working that much overtime it basically means you're working 1.5 jobs. To get paid 1.5 what you normally would.

am060459
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby am060459 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:16 pm

Aston2412 wrote:
am060459 wrote:
ran12 wrote:Geek Squad?


Idk about you guys but with a college degree I think 20/hr is a bare min expectation.


it depends. if its 20/hr with no overtime ($40k a year) then that sucks. thank god i have plenty of overtime and it translates into 60-65 a year.



Still sucks. If you're working that much overtime it basically means you're working 1.5 jobs. To get paid 1.5 what you normally would.[/quote]

True but i know of some entry level jobs where you work 50-60 hrs a week for 40-50k a year whereas those hours would translate into 55-60 given my pay structure.

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

Postby crossarmant » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:28 pm

When I was doing paralegal work for over a year with a staffing firm, I was getting $15/hour. Granted I was working in-house legal dept. I'd say gun for ~$11ish. It's a smart idea to do paralegal work before law school, when you're talking about committing yourself to $XXX loans and three years of school and a life time in a profession it is most definitely a good idea to play just the tip before you go balls deep.

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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:46 pm

$15/hr is too low even in the midwest. I worked at a one-man real estate firm in the midwest (not a big city either) as a temp receptionist the summer after my freshman year in college and was making around $16/hr through my temp agency. I think the firm was paying around $19/hr for me to the agency. So I would say, given the market, and that this $16 wage was around 2004, I'd say around $17-$20/hour depending on what you're doing. Anything less and you're really getting ripped off.

am060459
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby am060459 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:$15/hr is too low even in the midwest. I worked at a one-man real estate firm in the midwest (not a big city either) as a temp receptionist the summer after my freshman year in college and was making around $16/hr through my temp agency. I think the firm was paying around $19/hr for me to the agency. So I would say, given the market, and that this $16 wage was around 2004, I'd say around $17-$20/hour depending on what you're doing. Anything less and you're really getting ripped off.



^strongly disagree.

small law firm in the midwest
position is under a paralegal

^these two points strongly make the case for 12-15 an hour (15 being really lucky).

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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 4:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:$15/hr is too low even in the midwest. I worked at a one-man real estate firm in the midwest (not a big city either) as a temp receptionist the summer after my freshman year in college and was making around $16/hr through my temp agency. I think the firm was paying around $19/hr for me to the agency. So I would say, given the market, and that this $16 wage was around 2004, I'd say around $17-$20/hour depending on what you're doing. Anything less and you're really getting ripped off.


lol @ getting ripped off for inserting names into stock motions @ $17/hr.

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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 11:50 pm

Ok, thanks for everyone's insight. It's funny how wages vary in different areas of the country. I think if I do indeed get the call and am asked, I'll say 12 or 13 and go from there. I'd be disappointed, but not shocked, if they said something like "our standard rate starts you out at $9.50."

After reading replies here, I think I've also naively believed a legal assistant and paralegal to be pretty much one in the same.

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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:55 am

Me too. I wanted paralegal work before starting law school. I started at 20/h and got a raise to 22/h after 4 months. If you went to a prestigious undergrad I'd ask 20, if not then I'd ask 18. It also depends if they have you on as W-2'd or 1099'd, and what, if any, benefits you are eligible for. I'm in KY in a small market, so pay is pretty deflated here.

Edit:

HarveyBirdman wrote:Ok, thanks for everyone's insight. It's funny how wages vary in different areas of the country. I think if I do indeed get the call and am asked, I'll say 12 or 13 and go from there. I'd be disappointed, but not shocked, if they said something like "our standard rate starts you out at $9.50."

After reading replies here, I think I've also naively believed a legal assistant and paralegal to be pretty much one in the same.


No, no, no. Always ask for more than you think you are going to get. I'd ask for AT LEAST $15.00.

Here's a little story for you: In high school my soon-to-be boss said, "how much do you want?" I said, "8.50," because I didn't want to offend him or lose the job offer. He laughed and said, "Deal! I would have paid you at least twice that. Remember this and don't ever undersell yourself again." I found out that all the other starters were making around 18.

Learn from my mistake: don't ask for 12 or 13. That's not enough. Your boss is going to be billing you out and making a shit load of money off of you, he can afford to pay you 20 or more.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

ran12
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby ran12 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:02 am

The most important thing in negotiations is anchoring. You need to set a high anchor number for your wage expectation and then go down to a more realistic number if the other side won't go for the high anchor. It's all psychological. Even if you don't think you'll get the high anchor or not qualified to, it still plays a large psychological aspect in getting at least what you really expect and many times, more.

am060459
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby am060459 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:Me too. I wanted paralegal work before starting law school. I started at 20/h and got a raise to 22/h after 4 months. If you went to a prestigious undergrad I'd ask 20, if not then I'd ask 18. It also depends if they have you on as W-2'd or 1099'd, and what, if any, benefits you are eligible for. I'm in KY in a small market, so pay is pretty deflated here.

Edit:

HarveyBirdman wrote:Ok, thanks for everyone's insight. It's funny how wages vary in different areas of the country. I think if I do indeed get the call and am asked, I'll say 12 or 13 and go from there. I'd be disappointed, but not shocked, if they said something like "our standard rate starts you out at $9.50."

After reading replies here, I think I've also naively believed a legal assistant and paralegal to be pretty much one in the same.


No, no, no. Always ask for more than you think you are going to get. I'd ask for AT LEAST $15.00.

Here's a little story for you: In high school my soon-to-be boss said, "how much do you want?" I said, "8.50," because I didn't want to offend him or lose the job offer. He laughed and said, "Deal! I would have paid you at least twice that. Remember this and don't ever undersell yourself again." I found out that all the other starters were making around 18.

Learn from my mistake: don't ask for 12 or 13. That's not enough. Your boss is going to be billing you out and making a shit load of money off of you, he can afford to pay you 20 or more.



20 or more is doubtful. 12-15 is realistic and i would start at 15.

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

Postby Rooney » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:12 am

Kronk wrote: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.


Same here but my bump took longer than a few months. After 2.5 years, making $30k before taxes :|

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

Postby HarveyBirdman » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:39 pm

Ok, maybe I'll say 15 instead then. I guess the worst that could happen is he could say no. That story above about making 8.50 when everyone else was making 18 is screwed up, man. I would've told him he lacked integrity if he was going to underpay me so much and clearly this wasn't a place I wanted to work. Of course it's easy for me to say that since it wasn't my job offer.

am060459
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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby am060459 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:42 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:Ok, maybe I'll say 15 instead then. I guess the worst that could happen is he could say no. That story above about making 8.50 when everyone else was making 18 is screwed up, man. I would've told him he lacked integrity if he was going to underpay me so much and clearly this wasn't a place I wanted to work. Of course it's easy for me to say that since it wasn't my job offer.



i think anyone presented in that situation should of said exactly what you said. Unless of course you were in a dire position and needed a job to pay bills (but i would still be looking for another position)

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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:45 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:Ok, maybe I'll say 15 instead then. I guess the worst that could happen is he could say no. That story above about making 8.50 when everyone else was making 18 is screwed up, man. I would've told him he lacked integrity if he was going to underpay me so much and clearly this wasn't a place I wanted to work. Of course it's easy for me to say that since it wasn't my job offer.


In retrospect, I think the lesson I learned was worth the low pay. It was my own fault; why would he pay someone more than they asked?

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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:00 pm

Remember things could swing the other way too. I interviewed at a firm for a summer law clerk position that was not firm on what they could offer in terms of pay. They asked me what I made the previous summer at a similar firm and I told him $20/hour. When he called and offered me the job, he said it would only pay $10 an hour. I told him that I was looking for something a little closer to the $20 I was making the year before. He said, "Oh. Well good luck on your job search then." and hung up.

In retrospect, it was probably for the best since I don't know if I'd want to work for a firm like that.

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Re: Salary expectations for a very entry level legal position

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote: I told him that I was looking for something a little closer to the $20 I was making the year before. He said, "Oh. Well good luck on your job search then." and hung up.

Wow. What a douchetank.




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