Compensation for Paralegals Increases 11 Percent

THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 14, 1991 | Go to article overview

Compensation for Paralegals Increases 11 Percent


Paralegals nationwide are better paid, better educated and are utilized more by attorneys than they were two years ago, according to the findings of the 1990-91 Utilization and Compensation Survey of the National Association of Legal Assistants, based in Tulsa.

The survey showed the national average annual compensation for legal assistants up 11 percent to $28,980 in 1990, compared to $26,023 in 1989. A 9 percent increase in the number of paralegals with bachelor's degrees was reported.

Concurrently, there was a 9 percent decrease in the number who listed an associate degree as the highest degree attained.

In 1989, 65 percent of the paralegals who responded to the survey accompanied the attorney to court hearings or trials. In 1991, it increased to 84 percent.

The survey also indicated a general increase in the employment of paralegals nationwide and across all sizes of firms. The ratio of legal assistants to lawyers was stable until the analysis reached firms which had over 90 attorneys, in which the number of legal assistants to lawyers decreased.

"Future employment opportunities appear to be strongest in the larger law firms," said Connie Kretchmer, president of the National Association of Legal Assistants, "where there is a huge, untapped market for new legal assistants.". .

The University of Oklahoma Law Center is enrolling students in the Legal Assistant Education Program, which trains paralegals to work under the supervision of attorneys.

Approved by the American Bar Association, the certificate program prepares graduates for careers in private, corporate and government law-related activities.

Classes are offered on Saturdays at the OU Law Center, 300 Timberdell Rd. in Norman, and are taught by attorneys and law professors who specialize in each area of the law.

"Legal assistants fulfill the need for a more economical and efficient approach to the increased need for delivery of legal services to society," said Annette Prince, the attorney who directs the program. .

.

A nationally recognized scholar in the area of legal ethics, David Luban, professor of law at the University of Maryland, will present a free public law enrichment program Monday on the University of Oklahoma's Norman campus. He will speak at 11 a.m. in Classroom 2 on the first floor of the OU Law Center, 300 Timberdell Rd.

Luban, who also is a research scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, will lecture on "Why Did the Scientist Use Lawyers Instead of Laboratory Rats?: Images of Legal Professionalism." Luban, who holds a doctoral degree from Yale University in philosophy, has been at the University of Maryland since 1979. He is one of 13 University of Maryland Eminent Scholars and has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Danforth Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Luban has published extensively, including a casebook on "Legal Ethics," co-authored with Deborah L. Rhode, and the book, "Lawyers and Justice: An Ethical Study." He is the editor of "The Good Lawyer: Lawyers' Roles and Lawyers'

Ethics." He is a recipient of the 1989 Center for Public Resources Book Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

He also has written many papers and book chapters and has lectured throughout the United States. Since 1986, Luban has been editor of the National Reporter for Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility. . .

Virgil C. Black and Orvan J. Hanson Jr.

have been appointed to judicial positions in the state by Gov. David Walters.

Black has been named district judge for Judicial District 7. He is an Oklahoma City attorney, a partner in the firm of Black, Tedder, Kite and Sherrer. He is a former assistant district attorney in both Oklahoma and Cleveland counties.

Hanson has been appointed associate district judge for District 13. He has been an associate district judge in Harper County.

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Compensation for Paralegals Increases 11 Percent
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