What should a paralegal earn?

Generally over $50,000 per year, but often reaching $90,000 after practising several years in urban areas, the paralegal’s salary is highly variable. Quick peek.

When the time comes to reveal the pay scales for paralegals, most legal recruitment specialists are cautious, given the high variability in the types of jobs and associated salaries. “It varies tremendously depending on the type of law practiced, the level of written and spoken bilingualism, the training taken, the number of years of experience and the employee’s knowledge,” explains Danielle Montpetit, president and co-founder of Groupe Montpetit. “There are also significant differences between the city and the suburbs,” notes Marie-Eve Altur, president of Novea Recrutement, which in 2017 published a salary grid indicating a higher salary in downtown Montreal, often between $5,000 and $10,000 more than in the suburbs.

Let’s delve into the question anyway. Statistics collected by the government of Canada, available at the website guichetemplois.ca, indicates that “people working as a legal technician in Canada usually earn from $15.00 to $43.00 per hour.”

The average salary is therefore around $56,000, a figure confirmed by the Glassdoor.ca website in August 2018, based on salary information published anonymously by employees in this type of position. On Indeed.com, a site that uses a similar methodology, the average salary is $49,150 per year. For example, the average annual salary for a legal technician at the Quebec Ministry of Justice is $41,000, while his counterpart working for the City of Montreal earns $54,364.

Data from the Canadian government indicates that Ontario and Alberta are the provinces where paralegals are paid the most, with average hourly salaries of $25.48 and $26.00, while Newfoundland is the province offering the least interesting salaries ($14.00 per hour on average). Quebec and Nova Scotia are midway, with an hourly average of $20.00. In all cases, there is a huge disparity between the average salaries and the salaries of senior paralegals and those who work for very large firms, which can reach $94,848 per year in Ontario.

The ZSA recruitment firm analyzed salaries in the Montreal region in 2014 and detailed an average salary of between $55,000 and $72,000 in a large firm for a paralegal with 4 to 8 years of experience. The salary for the most experienced can climb up to $90,000. The reality is quite different in small firms, where the annual salaries range between $35,000 and $80,000.

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