how to become a legal assistant

An entry-level legal assistant can earn around $12.00 per hour, while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can make $25.00 and more per hour. The median wage for a legal assistant is $45,000 a year. A legal secretary would also have to deal with project management; that means keeping paper and electronic files in order, setting up appointments, keeping track of deadlines, maintaining a detailed calendar, etc. Law firms also are attempting to reduce billing costs as clients push for less expensive legal services. The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location and so on. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area. Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies. Your job description as a legal assistant will depend on the kind of role that you are looking to work in. Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education. These are the top 5 earning states in the field: The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $6,833. All state projections data are available at It will take you 2 years to earn an associate’s degree and 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. Another choice is to complete a four year bachelors degree in criminal justice. In fact, most court rules, bar associations, legal opinions, and statues say that legal assistant and paralegal are the same jobs. This does not mean that legal assistants should try to change the direction of a law firm overnight. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation. The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $51,740 in May 2019. Some litigation paralegals may also help coordinate the logistics of attending a trial, including reserving office space, transporting exhibits and documents to the courtroom, and setting up computers and other equipment. Paralegals need to be familiar with using computers for legal research and litigation support. For example, paralegals may only review legal material for internal use, maintain reference files, conduct research for lawyers, or collect and organize evidence for hearings. Last Modified Date: Many paralegals use computer software to catalog documents, and to review documents for specific keywords or subjects. information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely. Employment Numbers in South Carolina. Many legal assistants work a forty hour week, but those in more involved legal roles might be expected to work overtime. make sure you're on a federal government site. Legal assistants can work in law offices for government agencies or for legal departments at corporate offices. Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics. In May 2019, the median annual wage for all workers was $39,810. Most paralegals and legal assistants work full time. The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2019, which is the base year of the 2019-29 employment projections. Here are some of the responsibilities you might take on as a legal assistant: When you become a legal assistant, it’s likely you will begin your career in an administration role. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. What Do Legal Assistants Do. The annual salaries of the legal assistants vary depending upon their expertise, qualification, and skills. Other humanities subjects are also a good choice. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. Legal assistants that work in Washington, New York, and Oregon, for example, have the highest average salaries. Paralegals may have frequent interactions with clients and third-party vendors. Paralegals must also have top-notch writing skills to draft correspondence, contracts, memos, pleadings, discovery, motions, briefs, and more. In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $31.000 and $65.000 annually. Practicing law is a demanding profession. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. Legal assistants and paralegals both assist lawyers in trial preparation and research. This post will give you some recommendations on how to become a legal assistant/paralegal. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH. Education Requirements to Become a Legal Assistant. https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any Specific job duties may also vary by the size of the law firm. They must adapt quickly to changing deadlines. Although not required, some employers may prefer to hire applicants who have completed a paralegal certification program. Please enable javascript to play this video. Becoming a legal assistant can provide you with a foundation for more advanced careers. If you’re in high school you can start preparing to become a legal assistant. The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. Do you have great organizational skills, an ability to research well, and in interest in the legal profession? This is a bad thing. There are a few different education ways to become a legal assistant. With this in mind, they also receive many benefits such as paid leave as well as health and dental insurance. Most paralegals and legal assistants have at least an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. But it’s not as simple as it seems. The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. In a smaller firm, a legal assistant would have a much broader range of duties, whereas in a larger firm they are expected to specialize in a particular area. Learn how to become a legal assistant at your own pace, from home. You could complete a two year associates degree at community college which is directed at those looking to work as a legal assistant. The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $39.43. Research skills. Paralegals use technology and computer software for managing and organizing the increasing amount of documents and data collected during a case. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. That’s why legal assistants are there to aid lawyers to finish the administrative tasks required for cases. * Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Paralegals and Legal Assistants, OCC Code 23-2011, BLS. A lot of employers prefer the candidates to have a few years of on-the-job experience, so make sure to seek internship opportunities. SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program. Organizational skills. Judges and hearing officers apply the law by overseeing the legal process in courts. After gaining experience, a paralegal may become responsible for more complicated tasks. Paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships.

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