Georgia Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This page is your guide to starting a career as a paralegal or legal assistant. Here you can view state-specific paralegal salaries and job outlooks, career resources, and information on how to become a paralegal in Georgia. No state-level legal requirements dictate who can be a paralegal. Most enter the field through a combination of education and on-the-job training, as well as internships. The easy-to-navigate directory below will give you a roadmap to beginning a paralegal career in the state.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Georgia
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Georgia
Georgia does not define any legal requirements for paralegal certification, so you can take a number of paths to start your career. Most commonly, paralegals start out with a combination of education and on-the-job experience. Experience is often gained through one of these educational programs through internships or through on-the-job training as a legal assistant. Voluntary paralegal certification can also be an advantageous career move. You can find more information about how to become a paralegal, including national certification programs, on the Paralegal411 guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
No single standard exists for paralegal education in Georgia, but a paralegal associate’s degree or certificate is the most common qualification for entry-level jobs in this field. Prospective paralegals may choose to build their skills (and improve their ability to be hired) by attending one of the paralegal programs in Georgia. A number of schools in Georgia offer certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees; currently seven of these programs are recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as upholding the highest standard of excellence.1
2. Gain experience.
To improve your chances of a successful career, consider working directly in a legal firm or office to gain real-world experience. As firms rely on more paralegal assistance to save on the cost of attorneys, more opportunities may be available. Some firms start paralegals in assistant or secretary roles and later promote them into higher roles. Whether through an internship or formal on-the-job training, legal experience can make you stand out among potential hires and help you build your network for your future career.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Formal certification for paralegals is optional in Georgia but may signify your mastery of a legal assistant skillset highly desired by employers. Consider a voluntary certification like those below.
Paralegal Certification in Georgia
Paralegals and legal assistants in Georgia are recognized as legal “paraprofessionals” or non-lawyer assistants. Under this designation, paralegals and legal assistants are permitted to perform certain legal tasks under the direct supervision of an attorney. The state of Georgia has not issued any minimal education or training requirements for paralegal employment. As a result, there is no official route to Georgia paralegal certification.
Though there is no statewide Georgia paralegal certification program, the Georgia Association of Paralegals (GAP) highly recommends that prospective paralegals seek voluntary national certification through an association such as the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association), the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI), or the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). Voluntary certification can increase candidates’ job prospects by adhering to nationally accepted standards. Earning voluntary certification and completing education at one of the numerous paralegal schools in Georgia can help you build your paralegal career. For more information regarding paralegal certification, refer to the Georgia Association of Paralegals (GAP) and the South Eastern Association of Legal Assistants (SEALA).
Georgia Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
The majority of paralegal jobs in Georgia are found in law firms, but government offices, private businesses, and other institutions also now frequently hire paralegal support. King & Spalding LLP is a Global 30 firm headquartered in Atlanta that employs over 800 lawyers nationwide. Alston & Bird LLP, also based in Atlanta, hosts an established paralegal and professional timekeeper program that includes merit bonuses, on-site continuing legal education programs, pro bono service allowances, and tuition reimbursement. Recently graduated paralegals may wish to consider working with legal recruiting firms such as Major, Lindsey & Africa, which can provide paralegals valuable experience in a legal environment.
The government offices and agencies located in Georgia may also offer opportunities for public service paralegal careers. Additionally, several Fortune 500 corporations are headquartered in Georgia, including Home Depot, United Parcel Service (UPS), Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines, and these offices demand a great deal of paralegal support. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Georgia or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Georgia with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Aldridge Pite, LLP
- Alston & Bird
- Greenberg Traurig, LLP
- The Home Depot
- King & Spalding
- McCalla Raymer Leibert Pierce, LLC
- Morgan & Morgan, P.A.
- Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers
- US Army
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Georgia Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Georgia from 2018-20282
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 11,810 paralegals and legal assistants employed throughout the state of Georgia.3 The Atlanta metropolitan area had the sixth-highest employment level for the profession of metro areas nationwide.3 Over the next few years, the dense concentration of law firms and corporations in the Atlanta area is likely to add a significant number of new positions for paralegals and legal assistants in a diverse range of professional settings. The surrounding areas also host many smaller established law firms that may provide excellent opportunities for newly certified paralegals to gain workplace experience. Paralegals in Georgia have bright career prospects as the number of Georgia paralegal jobs is projected to grow throughout the next decade at a rate of 15.5, which equates to an average of 1,220 paralegal job openings per year.3 These statistics compare favorably to national trends as the employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants in the US is projected at 12% from 2018 to 2028.2
The diversity of allocated responsibilities entrusted to qualified paralegals is growing. Growing demand often promotes higher salaries, especially for more specialized paralegal jobs. Prospective paralegals may also command more competitive paralegal salaries in Georgia through voluntary certification and by specializing in areas of law where employers most need legal assistance. As of May 2020, the BLS reported an annual mean salary for paralegals in Georgia of $54,130.3 Paralegal and legal assistant salaries are influenced by a variety of factors, including geographic location and size of the firm as well as the paralegal’s education, years of experience, and certifications.
Georgia Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
Paralegal Associations in Georgia
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geographical location and/or area of law.
- Atlanta Bar Association: Serves members who are lawyers, students, legal assistants, and others by offering innovative programs and services to support them.
- Atlanta Paralegal Association (APA) : Hosts regular meetings, lunch-and-learn seminars, continuing education events, and other networking opportunities.
- Gate City Bar Association – Paralegal Section (GCBA): Aims to promote fellowship in the legal community, legal ethics, and professionalism, by holding quarterly membership meetings, periodic socials, and awards luncheons.
- Georgia Association of Paralegals (GAP): Provides a publicly accessible statewide jobs board specific to paralegals and legal assistants, emphasizes professional networking, and encourages all legal professionals to contribute pro bono service to the community.
- Southeastern Association of Legal Assistants (SEALA): Serves legal support professionals across southeast Georgia with legal education workshops, guest speakers, professional support groups, and other career-oriented events held throughout the year.
- Emory University Hugh F. MacMillan Law Library: Holds over 300,000 volumes as well as hundreds of thousands of microform and electronic items, accessible to paralegals working for members of the Atlanta Bar Association or those who have contacted the library to make access arrangements.
- Georgia Superior Courts: Handles civil and criminal law actions across the state offers information on local courts as well as news stemming from court cases and rules changes.
- Judicial Council of Georgia: Indexes court rules, forms, and case search functions for all classes of courts, and provides links to certification and licensing for different court functions, which can be useful for keeping personnel credentials up to date.
- Office of the Attorney General of Georgia:
Recruits continuously for paralegals and legal administrative assistants.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: To search for paralegal openings in Georgia, visit our jobs board.
- University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library: Houses over 500,000 volumes and offers checkout privileges for university affiliates and attorneys.
1. American Bar Association Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm