How to Become a Legal Administrative Assistant

How to Become a Legal Administrative AssistantWorking as a specialized administrative assistant in the field of law can be challenging, rewarding, and ever-changing. There are various types of legal administrative assistants, each one with a unique job to do to contribute to the needs of clients and attorneys. The job of these professionals is to work closely with attorneys, often within an attorney’s office, to help meet the needs of that professional. These individuals work in civil, corporate, real estate, estate planning, family, intellectual law, and other areas of the law. If you hope to become a legal administrative assistant, consider the steps you likely will take to get there.

What Are the Job Duties of a Legal Administrative Assistant?
Associates Degree
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The job description for these professionals will change based on the type of position the individual is working in and the day-to-day needs of the attorneys within the office. Some of the tasks a professional in this field may perform include the preparation of documents. Just about every document and resource needed within a courtroom must go through these professionals. This includes the creation of jury instructions, preparing legal documents, proofreading documentation for legal proceedings, and submitting subpoenas. These individuals also conduct a great deal of research, schedule hearings, and work to facilitating the attendance of witnesses when needed. According to the National Association for Legal Professionals (NAL), these individuals will work closely with attorneys to handle both secretarial work as well as court-required document creation.

What Type of Job Outlook Is There?

For legal administrative assistants, there is a strong level of demand present. Individuals who have a degree will earn more and will be more in-demand than those that do not. Compared to the average secretary, these individuals will have more specific skills, obtained through training and education, and therefore are more in-demand and paid more for their skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a component of the Department of Labor, legal administrative assistants will find increasing job availability between the period of 2010 and 2020. An increase of about 12 percent is likely in this field.

What Type of Education Is Needed?

Unlike a traditional secretary that needs only to learn computer skills and dictation (as well as other fields) these individuals need to learn a great deal more. The goal here is to be well versed in legal terminology and proceedings so that the individual can work well right alongside attorneys in the field.

Most individuals in this field will need to work to achieve a bachelor’s degree in administrative studies with a focus on legal. There are some certificate and diploma programs available in community schools. These are a good start for individuals who plan only to work in secretarial positions. Many of those administrative assistants will want to do more within the office. To do so, they will need to increase their level of education significantly.

They will study areas such as legal terminology, administrative skills, and communications. The specific courses taken will often have a focus of learning skills such as typing, dictation, and computer technology, but they will also take basic law courses so that the individual can blend seamlessly in a legal office.

Interestingly, many students do not stop there. They continue their education, sometimes while working in the field, so that they can advance to the legal of a paralegal or clerk. In doing so, they will earn more, be more in-demand, and will have an enticing career ahead of them. Some individuals even use online education to achieve this. It allows the flexibility necessary to do well in this field.

To become a legal administrative assistant, enroll in a special program for it. Then, work to continue that education beyond the basics to be more valuable in the field.

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