The legal assistant job description includes many responsibilities and duties often times seen in a paralegal job description with some exceptions. In addition to standard secretarial work, legal assistants are regularly tasked with preparing their law firm for court cases and legal battles. Often times, the legal assistant job description involves working under the supervision of an attorney, assisting them with anything they need in order to prepare for a case.
What Does a Legal Assistant Do?
There are several types of legal assistant careers, but the basic legal assistant job description involves the following responsibilities:
- Answering phone calls and scheduling appointments
- Typing up legal documents including pleadings and subpoenas
- Researching legal records and past court cases
A typical legal assistant job description combines the work of a secretary and a paralegal. You will spend your time performing a variety of duties, and your job will most likely be a full time position. As law firms are busier at certain points of the year compared to others, the amount of work you have will change on a daily basis. Your legal assistant training should prepare you for most, if not all, of the legal assistant job requirements regardless of the type of work environment you end up in.
Types of Legal Assistant Jobs
The legal assistant job description can vary depending on the work environment. The biggest factor determining what your legal assistant job description will look like is the size of the law firm you work at. For example, the legal assistant job description for someone working at a tiny law firm may be quite different than one for someone working in the legal department of a major corporation. Your legal assistant salary may also be affected by the size of your law firm. In addition, several legal assistants work for government agencies, which can prove to be a different experience altogether. Your legal assistant school may be able to help you determine which type of career is best for you.
How Are Legal Assistants Different From Paralegals?
In many cases, the legal assistant job description and the paralegal job description are identical. Some law firms use the terms interchangeably, while others see them as two different roles. In fact, more often than not, people are beginning to distinguish between the two terms.
Generally, the legal assistant job description includes more filing and typing work than that of a paralegal. If you enjoy typing and have good organization skills, a career as a legal assistant may suit you well. While both jobs overlap in their responsibilities, paralegals may find their job focuses more on legal research rather than typical secretarial work.
Legal Assistant Job Opportunities
The amount of legal assistant jobs is increasing at about the same rate as other career fields. In order to improve your chances of finding a job, you can continue your training after graduating from a degree program from an accredited legal assistant or paralegal school. This may involve enrolling in an internship or becoming certified. These options, along with your education, will teach you how to perform all of the duties associated with the legal assistant job description.