What does a Legal Assistant do?
Legal Assistants typically work for law firms to provide administrative support to Lawyers and their clients. They oversee various clerical tasks, including making copies, sending emails, maintaining appointment schedules, processing client payments and organizing filing systems. Their job is to contact witnesses, record interviews with witnesses, review police reports and composing legal documents like contractual agreements or affidavits. They may also be responsible for assisting Lawyers in the courtroom by organizing documents and rehearse their statements before the start of a trial.
Legal Assistant skills and qualifications
Legal Assistants will typically have certain prerequisite qualifications and skills, which include:
- Computer skills
- Research skills
- Ability to maintain confidentiality
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Organizational skills
Legal Assistant salary expectations
Legal Assistants make an average of $16.17 per hour. Pay rate may vary depending on the education, experience level and geographical location of the Legal Assistant. The specific duties of the Legal Assistant and the type of legal work they do may also determine the pay rate. For example, an entry-level Legal Assistant who works for a smaller law firm that specializes in auto accidents can usually expect to earn less than an experienced Legal Assistant who works for a law firm with high-profile legal cases.
Legal Assistant education and training requirements
A minimum of an associate degree in paralegal studies is often required to work as a Legal Assistant. Some Legal Assistants may have a bachelor’s degree and some may be working toward entrance to law school. Many aspiring Lawyers or Paralegals will pursue employment as a Legal Assistant in preparation for a career as a Lawyer or Paralegal. Some hiring managers may prefer to hire a candidate without prior experience and then train them on the individual needs of the law firm while encouraging them to become certified as a Legal Assistant.
Legal Assistant experience requirements
Whether or not previous legal experience is required to work as a Legal Assistant will depend on the individual needs of the law firm and its Lawyers. Larger law firms with many clients may prefer to hire a Legal Assistant who has previous experience in this role. Others may prefer to hire a Legal Assistant with previous experience in the same legal industry in which they work. Some Legal Assistants may transfer certain skills developed from one legal field to a new one.
Job description samples for similar positions
If you are writing a job description for a similar role to a Legal Assistant, see our job description template for a related position: