Paralegals May Be Replacing First Year Associates, According to CEO of

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Paralegal professionals may just be replacing first year associates in some of the nation's top law firms. That's the word from paralegal expert, Jeannie S. Johnston, owner of

First year associates may be taking a back seat to paralegal professionals. That's the word from Jeannie S. Johnston, paralegal expert and CEO of on the subject.

Johnston, who consults with many large firm paralegal managers, goes on to explain that the inside word from some of the nation's top law firms is that they actual lose money on first year associates. These firms spend big money on recruiting top candidates and offer large starting salaries only to have them begin work without any applicable experience.

"It takes about another year to train the first year associates. Secondary to this, they are not able to bill out as much time and the firms are actually losing profits." Johnston goes on to say, "The existing paralegals, on the other hand, can do the exact same work much more efficiently and end up billing almost three times as much in the same day. It just makes more sense to increase the hourly rate of the paralegals and reduce the first year salary of the incoming associates."

Johnston believes that if this trend catches on, paralegals should see an increase in their paychecks. "This has been a long time in coming and paralegals deserve not only the respect for the caliber of work product they are producing, but also an across-the-board increase in their salaries. Bottom line is that we are profit centers for the firms that we work for and should be compensated accordingly. In some areas of the country, firms are only offering $25,000 salary to mid-level paralegals and I don't know of many people who can live comfortably on that amount of income!"

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Jeannie S. Johnston is the founder and CEO of and has been a Paralegal for over 16 years. She has written for Legal Assistant Today, The Paralegal Reporter and has spoken at conferences nationwide. She was recently appointed as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Legal Assistant Today.


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