Legal assistants work closely with lawyers and assume much responsibility in the workplace. Legal assistants conduct research relating to a case, prepare for hearings or trials, draft legal documents, and act as liaisons between lawyers and clients.
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Top legal assistants are:
- Well organized and detail oriented
- Able to research and investigate
- Adept at managing communications between clients, lawyers, courts, etc.
- Ethical and full of integrity
Legal assistants with high levels of responsibility should also be able to work independently.
What to Know About Legal Assistant Programs and Degrees
Legal assistant degrees come in many forms. Many community colleges offer associates degrees in legal assistance and paralegal studies. If you have a bachelor's degree, you can earn a legal assistant certificate, available through professional associations, vocational schools, and other sources. Some colleges and universities offer bachelor's and master's degrees in legal assistance and paralegal studies.
Your legal assistant education generally includes a broad overview of legal topics and issues, such as: real estate, corporate law, litigation, and family law. Legal assistant classes may include coursework in legal research, writing, and technology.
Legal Assistant Career Outlook
As employers cut costs by hiring more legal assistants and fewer lawyers, the number of legal assistant jobs will grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries for legal assistants vary depending on experience and employer. As of May 2008, the median annual income for legal assistants and paralegals was $46,120. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $29,260, while the top 10 percent earned more than $73,450.
Legal assistants bridge the gap between clients and lawyers. By earning your degree in legal assistance, you can become an invaluable asset to any law office.