I think it really depends on the firm (obviously), but perhaps more helpfully, I think it also depends on the size of the firm. Before law school, I was a legal assistant at a BigLaw firm. A lot of the more tedious chores that paralegals at smaller firms are responsible for, we were absolved from. We had a docketing department to file pleadings. We had our own secretarial pool separate from the attorneys. We had an in-house 24-hour copy shop to do our copying or scanning and so forth. We had free dinner and cab ride home if we worked past 8. We had a weekly happy hour with an open bar.
But it’s BigLaw! So all the substantive legal work, no matter how drudgey, was done by attorneys. There’s no shortage of junior associates to do doc review or legal research. (I’d also add that another reason is that companies take more routine stuff to cheaper outside counsel or just keep it in-house–that is, another reason that paralegals in BigLaw do far less legal work is that it’s not as often the easier, blackletter law stuff that takes place in smaller shops.)
Now, there are a couple BigLaw firms in Indy–and frankly, if they’re hiring (a big if, I’m afraid), I’d say target them. But you won’t do legal work. But you will do a lot of work, and if they pay OT (as my firm did), I can be a nice deal for a bit. $30K would be low for such a position.
A smaller firm has advantages too. The work will be a little more varied, and will probably come closer to the popular conception of lawyer work. But this is because there is a bit more in the way of form-filling at this level. As usual, actual legal strategy and handling the difficult legal questions will remain with the attorneys. The pay is a good deal lower, but I still think you should be able to make at least $30K. I know that there are some current paralegals on this board, and they should be able to provide you with more up-to-date info.
I have very fond memories of my time doing this, and would recommend it to someone in your shoes. Be advised though, unless your future law school has a class in Bates labeling, you won’t learn very much that is transferable to the classroom.