A legal assistant is a person who assists attorneys and/or clients in legal matters.
Legal assistants perform many of the same tasks as attorneys, but without the hassle, time and expense of a law degree.
If you are interested in becoming a legal assistant, this article will help you determine whether a career in this growing field is the right choice for you.
First, let’s explore what a legal assistant, also known as a paralegal, is in more detail, to give you a good understanding of what is in store. And we’ll provide you with the resources to get on the path to becoming the Best Legal Assistant!
Legal Assistant Job Description
Legal assistants have many responsibilities, and perform many important tasks during typical daily work. Legal assistant job duties can include administrative work from answering phones to filing paperwork. Legal tasks often consist of case research, drafting court documents, and legal analysis abilities.
There are a few limits to which tasks legal assistants are able to perform. For example, only lawyers are able to give legal advice, sign most court documents, and represent clients in court. Also, legal assistants are barred from giving people “legal advice.” Other than that, they are able to do just about everything an attorney can!
It is worth noting that there are several legal careers that fall under the broad title of legal assistant. Paralegal and legal secretary are the most common words used for association with legal assistant.
Other positions where someone may be referred to as a legal assistant include: legal receptionists, aides, interns, and researchers; court messengers; law clerks, and judicial assistants.
Legal assistants play a vital role in every area of law. There are many career opportunities you can consider, besides just criminal or civil law.
There are many legal sub-set categories, from bankruptcy to wills, criminal defense to contracts. Elder care and entertainment law are growing fields. Whatever your interests, there is a field of law that will satisfy your desire.
There are several different options for what type of environment you would like to work in. You can be employed within various law offices from large and small private practice firms to corporate offices.
You can explore many opportunities to be employed by working for the government, such as: drafting legislation, offices of Prosecuting Attorneys, Public Defenders, Supreme Courts, and Attorneys General.
As law firms try to cut costs, it is becoming more common to hire additional legal assistants and fewer attorneys. Attorneys are increasingly dependent on their paralegals to accomplish out-of-court tasks so that the lawyer’s time can be spent in the courtroom. Law offices can assign work to legal assistants and bill the client at a lower rate than what would be charged for an attorney to do the same work. This saves the client money, and can be an attractive reason for the client to choose one law firm over another for representation.
How to Become a Legal Assistant
There are certain innate qualities that some individuals are born with that make them perfect candidates for legal assistant positions. Among these traits are detail-oriented, analytical people, who enjoy research and problem-solving. In particular, there are 10 qualities that make a best legal assistant. By determining which of the characteristics you possess, you can more easily decide whether this career field is right for you.
To help make the decision easier , we’ve completed a list of the top 10 very best reasons to become a legal assistant.
Usually, legal assistants have specialized training and schooling. The necessary skills are learned during school, such as legal vocabulary and how to understand court opinions. Although an associate’s degree in paralegal is the most popular choice, there are many school options available.
Take the next step by exploring your options about how to get your legal assistant education.