What does a Legal Assistant do?
Learn all about Legal Assistant duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Legal Assistant.
Published 4 min read
A legal assistant is a professional who provides administrative and clerical support to lawyers. They are responsible for a variety of tasks, including maintaining files, scheduling appointments, and drafting correspondence.
Legal Assistant job duties include:
- Performing administrative tasks, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and maintaining records
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Assisting with discovery and investigation
- Conducting research and gathering information
- Organizing and maintaining files
- Helping prepare for hearings, trials, and closings
- Attending court proceedings with attorneys
- Monitoring deadlines and calendars
- Billing and bookkeeping
Legal Assistant Job Requirements
Most legal assistants have at least an associate's degree, although some have a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies. Many community colleges, as well as some four-year colleges and universities, offer two-year programs in paralegal studies that lead to an associate's degree. A few schools offer four-year programs that lead to a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies. Although certification is not required, it may be helpful in getting a job or advancing in one's career. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) offers the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential, and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offers the Registered Paralegal (RP) credential. To be eligible for either credential, candidates must have completed a certain amount of education and work experience and must pass an exam.
Legal Assistant Skills
- Strong writing and research skills
- The ability to multitask and prioritize
- Excellent communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Detail oriented
- The ability to work well under pressure
- The ability to meet deadlines
- Strong interpersonal skills
- A positive attitude
- The ability to work independently
How to become a Legal Assistant
A legal assistant is a professional who provides support to lawyers by performing a variety of tasks, including conducting legal research, preparing legal documents, and managing client communication. While a law degree is not required to become a legal assistant, many legal assistants have at least some college education. There are many ways to become a legal assistant, but the most common path is to complete a certificate or associate’s degree program in paralegal studies.
Most legal assistant programs include courses in legal research and writing, civil procedure, contracts, torts, constitutional law, and other relevant topics. Many programs also offer internships or externships that give students the opportunity to gain real-world experience working in a law office. After completing a paralegal program, manylegal assistants take voluntary certification exams to demonstrate their proficiency in the field.
While there are many different paths to becoming a legal assistant, the most important thing is to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job effectively. With the right training and experience, you can be an invaluable asset to any law firm.
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