Legal Assistant Job Description

A legal assistant, also known as a paralegal, is a secretary who performs administrative legal duties by using legal terminology, procedures, and documents. This individual is a non lawyer who assists lawyers with legal activities. They may assist in case proceedings, which include closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. A legal assistant can also work for an administrative law examiner, an administrative law specialist, attorneys, or prosecutor training coordinators. A typical legal assistant job description may include the following

  • To investigate various facts of a case
  • To carry out research on different laws, legal cases, and regulations
  • To organize and arrange legal documents and evidence for case preparation and attorney review
  • To organize and manage various documents in paper based and electronic filing systems
  • To chalk out legal documents and correspondence, including mortgages and contracts
  • To help lawyers in trial preparation by writing reports
  • To get affidavits and formal statements that could be used as court evidence
  • To assist lawyers during trials by making notes, handling exhibits and illustrations, and reviewing trial transcriptions
  • To file relevant exhibits, appeals, briefs and other legal documents with opposing counsel
  • To call various clients, lawyers, witnesses, and vendors to arrange for interviews, depositions, and meetings.

Legal assistants use technology and computer software for managing and organizing large amounts of data collected during cases. These individuals may specialize in areas such as litigation, criminal law, employee benefits, personal law, corporate law, bankruptcy, intellectual property, family law, and real estate.

Educational Requirements
A majority of legal assistants have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies. Some employers also hire entry-level paralegals with no prior experience or education in paralegal studies and provide them with on-the-job training. However, these jobs typically require a bachelor's degree at minimum. Also, the new employees may have experience in a technical field which may be useful to law firms in case of tax preparation, criminal justice, and nursing.

Associate's degree in Paralegal studies
An associate's degree in paralegal studies provides training in legal terminology, writing, technology, research, and law office management. The program prepares candidates for the paralegal competency exam administered by the state. The coursework usually includes different areas of law including trusts and wills, contracts, torts, and real estates. Detailed curriculum may include the following areas:

  • College Algebra
  • Introduction to Legal Research
  • Legal Ethics
  • Introduction to Legal Analysis and Writing
  • Associate's Capstone

Please note that the curriculum details may differ with programs. For the exact details of the program you wish to enroll in, kindly contact your college counselor.

Career Prospects
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage of paralegals and legal assistants was $ 46,990 in May 2012. As law firms aim to increase their efficiency and reduce their costs, they are likely to hire more legal assistants in future. According to the BLS, the employment of these professionals is expected to grow by 17% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average of all occupations.


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