Based on 245 U.S. law departments that have participated so far in the General Counsel Metrics global benchmark survey, as well as 36 Canadian law departments, and 113 from the rest of the world, here are three ratios:
3 lawyers for every paralegal in the United States and the same ratio, exactly, in Canada; but
5 lawyers for every paralegal in the rest of the world.
As evidenced by these far apart metrics, the position of paralegal or legal assistant, by any term someone who cannot practice law but has specialized training or experience in supporting lawyers, is much less common outside of North America. The absence of these intermediate-cost staff who can handle law-related responsibilities competently hurts the productivity of a law department.