WHAT DO LEGAL ASSISTANTS DO?
Legal assistants are a lawyer's right hand. They support lawyers at law firms and private practices by creating and maintaining legal files, doing research and writing the first draft of documents. Legal assistants might also look into a case's facts, maintain digital databases, reference law libraries, prepare and deliver affidavits and anything else a lawyer might need during trial. But as much as you want to, don't yell "I object!" during trial. You're not allowed.
HOW MUCH DO LEGAL ASSISTANTS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2010 paralegals and legal assistants made a median hourly income of $22.44, or $46,680 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Legal assistants usually start with an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or bachelor's degree in another field and a paralegal studies certificate. In some cases, lawyers might hire college graduates without this certificate and train them on the job. Certification is available.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Computer Skills: Legal research, document maintenance and preparation all require computer skills.
- Communication Skills: Good speaking, writing and interpersonal skills are needed to write documents, speak with clients and others in the legal field, and present information to your attorney.
- Research Skills: Legal assistants will need to research cases and track down information in some situations.
- Organizational Skills: Legal assistants often work on more than one case at a time. Keeping them straight is paramount.
CAREER PATHS FOR LEGAL ASSISTANTS
THE FUTURE OF LEGAL ASSISTANTS
Between 2010 and 2020, legal assistant jobs will grow at a steady, average pace, according to the BLS.