What Does a Legal Administrative Assistant Do?

The job duties of legal administrative assistants and secretaries are similar to those of non-specialized administrative assistants and include additional tasks like legal research and, with supervision, legal document preparation. Continue reading to learn more about administrative responsibilities, career preparation and certifications. Schools offering Legal Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Legal Assistant Do?

In general, administrative assistants and secretaries distribute or respond to routine emails and letters, as well as overseeing electronic and paper-based files and records. A legal administrative assistant job description differs slightly in that, under the direction of attorneys and paralegals, assistants who work in law offices may:

  • Prepare legal complaints, motions, summonses, and subpoenas
  • Conduct research
  • Review legal publications
  • Verify citations or quotes

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a majority of legal secretaries are employed in legal services. In addition to private law firms, career options may include employment with local or state government, insurance carriers, and more. Legal administrative assistant salaries average $50,040 as of May 2018 according to the BLS.

Important Facts About Legal Office Assistants

Average Salary (2018) $50,040 (for legal secretaries)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 19% decline in employment (for legal secretaries)
Training Training may last several months, depending on level of education and experience
Similar Occupations Paralegals and Legal Assistants, Medical Administrative Assistants, General Office Clerks, Court Reporters, Receptionists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for an entry-level administrative assistant or secretary's position. Candidates should also be computer-literate and familiar with basic office work. To fulfill their job duties, legal administrative assistants should become familiar with legal processes and terms.

Some schools offer two-year degree programs for a legal office assistant that can lead to an Associate in Applied Science. The programs can take approximately 63-67 credits to complete and usually cover topics in law office procedures and technology, legal document processing and transcription, criminal law, and records management. Some programs include courses in business and real estate law or cooperative work experiences. Students also receive training in keyboarding and the Microsoft Office Suite, as well as specialized software typically used by legal administrative assistants.

Certification

Voluntary certifications are available from the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), including the Accredited Legal Professional certification. This credential is especially designed for candidates who are new to the field and requires a passing score on an exam. Legal assistants and secretaries, as well as paralegals, may also be interested in the Professional Paralegal and Professional Legal Secretary certifications.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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