Legal Assistants enhance attorney’s effectiveness by developing case information, evidence, and settlement options. Their duties include; tracking cases, carrying out research, legal writing, scheduling meetings and providing operational and administrative support. Legal Assistants are found in all types of organizations but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies.
Legal Assistant Job Duties:
- Draft legal documents including motions, briefs, discovery documents, correspondences and legal memoranda.
- Prepare, edit and proofread legal documents.
- Conduct basic research such as web searches, title searches, asset location etc
- Ensure legal documents are processed and handled in a timely and legal manner so as to meet required deadlines.
- Schedule meetings with clients and ensuring open lines of communication with the clients
- Maintain office records, order supplies and process mails.
- Receive and process all office payments in the form of cheques, cash, credit cards or debit cards.
- Manage initial client intake for new clients
- Review, organize and summarize client records using computer software such as Excel, Adobe among others.
- Answer telephones, set up appointments, and interview clients for case intake
- Maintain current distribution lists, phone/ address lists for clients and distribute them to the attorneys.
- Manage calendars and schedule trials, conferences and hearings.
Alternative Names: Legal Secretary, Paralegal, Law Clerk
Job Projections: High
Legal Assistant Skills and qualifications
- Law Office Support
- Client Relations
- Legal Research
- Case Management
- Computer and database management Skills
- Records Management
- Organisation and Planning skills.
The median annual wage for a legal assistant is at $ 49,500 annually with a range usually between $15,000-$60,000. This is dependent on a number of factors such as level of work experience, education, type of organisation, allowances etc.
Education and training:
An Associate degree in paralegal studies, Bachelor’s degree in another field and a paralegal certificate is what is required for a legal assistant position. There have been instances where college graduates have been hired without a paralegal certificate and have been trained on the job. Even though a paralegal certificate is optional, it’s recommended that a certification is attained because it gives one an edge over other qualified legal assistants in the job market, enhances credibility and supplements education training.