Best job: lawyer or paralegal?

January 9, 2009
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Paralegals have better jobs than attorneys, according to one job search Web site’s ranking of professions. Researchers at careercast.com analyzed numerous jobs and looked at five main criteria – physical demands, stress, work environment, income, and outlook (potential salary growth, unemployment rates) to rank 200 professions.

Based on the criteria, paralegals ranked No.17; attorneys made the list at No. 82. Here’s the entire list and more about the methodology.

Even though the physical demands on an attorney and paralegal scored very close in this ranking, paralegals had less stress and a better work environment, according to the researchers. Based on the methodology, it appears those careers with better work environments and less stress are “better” jobs than those that may pay higher salaries, but have a more demanding environment.

The rankings also say paralegals work on average 45 hours a week and attorneys work an average of 50 hours a week. Does that sound right?

Other careers in the legal profession making the list: court reporter/stenographer came in at No. 28 and federal judges at No. 69. For some reason, the list left off state or local judges.

I was surprised to see paralegals rank so highly on this list. I just assumed since they work in a law office, they often face similar stresses and demands that attorneys do. I expected them to be ranked closer to attorneys in that regard.

In case you’re curious, mathematician ranked No. 1 and lumberjack came in at No. 200. Reporters made No. 140 on the list.

What’s your reaction to the list? Does it seem accurate or did the list get it wrong?
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