How to Hire a Paralegal

Does your growing business need a paralegal? Paralegals can help your company prepare for cases and give great care to clients.

Here are some tips to help you find great paralegal candidates and choose the right hire for your business.

Post a Job
Post a Job

Paralegals searching for jobs on Indeed*

199,817

Job seekers that clicked paralegal jobs

52,447

Resumes for job seekers with paralegal experience on Indeed

5,879

Paralegal jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring paralegal?

  • Common salary in US: $49,219 yearly
  • Typical salaries range from $14,000$110,000 yearly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – March 2021

As of March 2021, paralegal jobs in the U.S. are very competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 34 job seekers per paralegal job.

Why hire a paralegal?

A great paralegal hire can help your business expand the number of cases it takes, increasing the firm’s revenue. A paralegal can improve the win rate of the firm and also:

• Increase the number of cases your firm can handle
• Provide service to clients over the phone
• Alleviate some of the burdens of the lawyers

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance paralegal

Before creating your paralegal job description and interviewing applicants, determine whether your business needs a full-time or freelance paralegal.

Many experienced paralegals choose to work on an independent contractor basis rather than traditional full-time employment. But regardless of whether they’re freelance or employees, paralegals must perform their duties under an attorney’s supervision. So, keep that in mind when considering promising candidates.

Medium and large law firms may find it more helpful to hire full-time paralegals to handle regular daily and weekly tasks for their law office. However, solo practitioners, small firms and new law offices might benefit from the services of a freelance paralegal. This is often the case when there isn’t enough work to keep a full-time paralegal busy. Instead, choosing an independent professional contractor means you only use and pay for a freelance paralegal’s services when you have available billable hours for them.

What are the types of paralegals?

Paralegals may be categorized by their experience, schooling and areas of focus or specialization. When hiring a paralegal, consider these criteria to help narrow the field of applicants that meet your firm’s specific needs.

  • Entry-level paralegal: New paralegals with little to no experience. They may have just finished a paralegal certificate course or obtained an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. In large firms, they assist senior paralegals.
  • Mid-range paralegal: They have about three to five years of experience working in the legal field.
  • Senior paralegal: Experienced legal assistants who’ve worked in the legal field for over five years. They work directly for attorneys and supervise less experienced paralegals.
  • Paralegal specialists: Focus on specific areas of law, such as criminal defense, real estate and corporate or estate law. Usually requires at least eight years of experience in the specified legal practice area. They sometimes work for judges and magistrates. Certified paralegal specialists earn certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations or the National Association for Legal Secretaries.
  • Areas of expertise: Possess extensive knowledge and skill in specific areas. Some examples include administrative, contracts and appellate paralegals.

Where to find paralegals

To find the right paralegal for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Use a staffing agency. A staffing or temp agency may be able to help you find a suitable paralegal. This also allows you to work with a candidate temporarily to determine if they’re the best candidate before hiring them on permanently.
  • Find on-demand paralegal services. If a freelance paralegal is a good fit for your office, a local on-demand paralegal services group may meet your needs with independent contractor paralegals and remote paralegal services.
  • Contact national paralegal associations. Reach out to NALA, NFPA and NALS for referrals.
  • Consult online paralegal directories. Review listings for local paralegals looking for employment or freelance work.
  • Post your job online. Try posting your paralegal job on Indeed to find and attract quality paralegal candidates.

What are the types of paralegals?

Paralegals may be categorized by their experience, schooling and areas of focus or specialization. When hiring a paralegal, consider these criteria to help narrow the field of applicants that meet your firm’s specific needs.

  • Entry-level paralegal: New paralegals with little to no experience. They may have just finished a paralegal certificate course or obtained an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. In large firms, they assist senior paralegals.
  • Mid-range paralegal: They have about three to five years of experience working in the legal field.
  • Senior paralegal: Experienced legal assistants who’ve worked in the legal field for over five years. They work directly for attorneys and supervise less experienced paralegals.
  • Paralegal specialists: Focus on specific areas of law, such as criminal defense, real estate and corporate or estate law. Usually requires at least eight years of experience in the specified legal practice area. They sometimes work for judges and magistrates. Certified paralegal specialists earn certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations or the National Association for Legal Secretaries.
  • Areas of expertise: Possess extensive knowledge and skill in specific areas. Some examples include administrative, contracts and appellate paralegals.

Writing a paralegal job description

A thoughtful description is important to finding qualified paralegal candidates. A paralegal job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your paralegal job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on paralegal jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Paralegal
  • Legal assistant
  • Legal
  • Real estate paralegal
  • Remote paralegal
  • Law firm
  • Real estate
  • Legal assistant paralegal
  • Law
  • Litigation paralegal

Interviewing paralegal candidates

Strong candidates for paralegal positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

• Knowledge of the law
• Reading comprehension
• Law software skills

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of paralegal interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a paralegal

Can I hire a paralegal instead of an attorney?

If your law firm requires the skills of an attorney, don’t hire a paralegal. Paralegals may not practice law. Moreover, in most areas, legal assistants need a supervising attorney to perform legal services. In minimal circumstances, paralegals are allowed to complete basic tasks independently, such as document preparation, help with uncontested divorce forms and assistance with bankruptcy petitions.

Do paralegals have to be certified?

Certification is not required for paralegal work, but there are optional certification programs available. Employers may include a preference or requirement for certification in their paralegal job descriptions. Some legal assistants don’t obtain formal schooling, merely on-the-job training.

How do I know if I need to hire a paralegal?

Whether your office has no paralegals or you already have one or two working for your firm, you may recognize some signs that you should bring on more paralegal staff. Some indications include being overloaded with work or receiving complaints from unhappy clients. Ineffective time management is another clue. A paralegal can perform administrative tasks, freeing you up to concentrate on billable hours.  

It's quick and easy to post jobs on Indeed. Post your Paralegal job today. Post a Job

Explore How to Hire by Title

No search results found