Do you find law and legal proceedings fascinating? Do you enjoy following along with the latest legislative decisions and researching the outcomes of recent court cases? If you’re intrigued by the legal field but not prepared to take on the high-pressure role of a lawyer, you may want to consider a position as a legal office assistant. These professionals get to work very closely with legal cases, yet they focus primarily on research and administrative tasks. You’ll enjoy some of the excitement and thrill of being close to the courtroom while enjoying a prime position from the sidelines.
A legal office assistant handles the day-to-day administrative tasks that are necessary in a law office. Busy lawyers have too many responsibilities to deal with some of the more minute tasks involved in managing and maintaining legal cases. Legal office assistants are responsible for a variety of responsibilities including organizing data, gathering information, interacting with clients, and drafting important legal documents.
Thanks to legal office assistants, lawyers can handle a much larger case load. These assistants may communicate the progress of a case with clients, handle scheduling for depositions, prepare subpoenas, and more. From organizing evidence to taking notes in the courtroom, legal office assistants play a crucial role streamlining activities for everyone involved in the case.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for legal office assistants is very favorable. The BLS anticipates growth of 15 percent for paralegals and legal assistants between 2016 and 2026. This is more than double the national average for all occupations in the United States.
This growth is due in large part to legal offices that are looking to cut costs for clients. It’s more affordable to employ legal office assistants than lawyers. By pulling more assistants in, offices can accommodate a larger client base and provide services for less. This trend is creating an increasing demand for assistants, and making this a favorable field to seek employment in.
Most legal office assistants work in legal services. According to the BLS, 73 percent of paralegals and legal assistants work in this industry. However, a small percentage work for the government, finance companies, and insurance companies.
Legal office assistants spend most of their time working in an office environment. They work closely with lawyers, paralegals, and other members of the office staff. These professionals also have contact with clients on a regular basis. For some cases, they may travel to deliver documents or perform research. These assistants may also spend some of their time in the courtroom organizing documents, recording information, and attending trials to provide general administrative assistance to the lawyer.
Educational requirements vary by job, but most employers prefer to hire legal office assistants who have a strong background in the legal field. It’s important to have an in-depth understanding of the terminology used in legal documents. As these assistants review, file, organize, prepare, and draft many legal documents, they need to understand what they’re working with. Legal office assistants should also understand the basics of the legal process. Those who perform some of their duties in the courtroom should have a solid understanding of what’s happening. Transcribing legal proceedings, too, is easier for those who can follow what’s happening easily.
The Legal Office Assistant Diploma from Bryant & Stratton College prepares students to draft legal documents and research court cases. Throughout this program, students will gain the ability to understand legal terminology, read and prepare legal documents, and provide support to lawyers and law firms. The program includes courses in civil litigation, contract law, criminal law, law office management, and legal research.
Professionals who would like to advance in this career field may need to obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree for some positions. With a legal office assistant diploma, however, you may qualify for some entry level positions in the field.
A legal office assistant diploma can prepare you for many support positions in the legal field. Different firms may define the position of a legal office assistant differently. It’s important to cast your net wide when searching for a career in this field. Perform a broad job search and keep your options open by looking for positions with many related titles. With a legal office assistant diploma, you may qualify for jobs such as:
A legal office assistant diploma can give you some of the core information that you may need to explore entry level positions in a law office. Watch for administrative and secretarial jobs in this field for your first position or consider applying for an internship or shadowing opportunity to get real-world experience for your resume.
Please note that job market data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is intended for informational purposes only. This is not meant to offer a guarantee of employment opportunities.
For more insights into the Legal Office Assistant Diploma, check out the paralegal section of our blog. Here, you’ll find information on the educational and employment opportunities available to you in the legal field.