LEGAL OFFICE ASSISTANT CAREER PATH
Legal office assistants, or simply “legal assistants,” typically work in legal offices or corporate legal departments. The legal assistant job description centers on providing support to the company’s attorneys and paralegals. For motivated professionals with an interest in business and the law, the legal assistant career path can provide a sense of job satisfaction while being personally and professionally rewarding.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING PREREQUISITES FOR LEGAL ASSISTANT CAREERS?
Unlike attorneys or paralegals, legal assistants do not need to have formal training in legal concepts or procedures. Instead, successful legal assistants have a strong, general business acumen, this includes the following:
- Written and verbal communication skills
- An understanding of and the ability to use business software and database tools typically used by attorneys and paralegals
- Organizational skills
Many legal employers prefer candidates who have earned a business degree or completed paralegal training, as these types of programs provide the general background knowledge and skills that legal assistants are expected to have. There are also voluntary certifications available for legal assistants through organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) that may be helpful for legal assistants hoping to advance in their careers.
Specific legal assistant duties will be learned through on-the-job training. However, successful legal assistants are those who can demonstrate their ability to manage and prioritize varied responsibilities.
WHAT ARE SOME TYPICAL LEGAL ASSISTANT RESPONSIBILITIES?
Legal assistant duties depend, in large part, on the nature of the law firm’s practice areas or corporate legal department’s industry focus. Still, there are some legal assistant responsibilities that are common in this type of role:
- Organize documents, records and databases
- Draft legal documents, under the direction of the supervising attorney
- Gather facts, evidence and information for attorney review
- Handle client service and communications
- Manage firm billing and accounts receivable
- Schedule meetings for attorneys
- Manage court calendars and case filings
- Other tasks at the direction of the supervising attorney
WHY CONSIDER THE LEGAL ASSISTANT CAREER PATH?
As you can see, the legal assistant job description is varied. This role is often fast-paced, requiring organizational skills and attention to detail — factors that draw some people to the career. In addition to a professional work environment, the median legal assistant salary of $51,740 per year (as of May 2019) is attractive. Further, many legal assistants also earn incentive compensation and have access to employer-paid benefits.
PREPARE FOR LEGAL ASSISTANT CAREERS WITH A DEGREE FROM MACCORMAC COLLEGE
If you are interested in the legal assistant career path, enrolling in MacCormac College’s business administration degree program can be the first step toward a personally and professionally rewarding career.
This accredited degree program helps students gain skills in key areas that are fundamental to successfully managing legal assistant duties, including communications, ethics, information technology and software, and more. Students can opt to attend courses at our Chicago campus or choose our fully online degree program option — offering a convenient way to prepare for a career while managing current personal and job responsibilities.
If you want to learn more about working as a legal assistant, contact us. Students who are ready to begin working toward their future success can apply online for program admission. Discover how MacCormac College can help you reach your educational goals.