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LOS ANGELES � Compensation for paralegals is steadily climbing, and specialties such as intellectual property top the charts, according to survey results put out by Altman Weil last month. Based on responses to an annual survey on paralegal salaries, the legal management consulting company says that among law firm practice areas, IP paralegals are bringing home the highest pay, earning $69,675 in total cash compensation. That’s 16.2 percent higher than the nationwide pay and 46 percent higher than their counterparts make in family law, the lowest-paid law firm practice area for paralegals. “The market perceives different values for different expertise, and IP has been and will continue to be the hottest,” said James Wilber, a Milwaukee-based principal with Altman Weil. Wilber attributes the overall upward salary trend to the sophistication and complexity of the work paralegals are being asked to do. Paralegals are increasingly offering stronger educational backgrounds and extra credentials, he said. The survey, which collected data this spring from 274 law firms of various sizes and 78 law departments, also found that:

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