This post covers the legal assistant job description, to help you understand the work they do.
What Does a Legal Assistant Do?
A legal assistant is a trained person, often times with certification from government or state agencies with a job description that entails performing various kinds of support duties for supervising lawyers.
The role of the legal assistant does not include representing people in court, giving legal advice or signing any legal documents, except when acting as a notary if he/she has been certified.
Most people train to become a legal assistant either through a two-year or a four year degree program in a university or at the college level, and they must be gifted at legal research, secretarial work and writing in order to perform this duty proficiently.
There are several tasks and responsibilities a legal assistant might be charged with when employed by a law firm or lawyer.
They can draft legal documents like contracts which are then reviewed by lawyers so as to be certain they conform to the requirements of the law and the client.
Legal assistants also perform legal research, and may in the prosecution or defense of a person, do most of the research or provide evidences that will help support arguments in legal briefs or the court setting.
They may also perform preliminary interviews of witnesses and/or clients. Someone in this position may be specifically versed in different branches in this field since there are so many branches of law.
Legal assistants come into the field ready to work in any area after being fully trained, but their personal interests may further help assistants in deciding where to specialize.
For instance, a legal assistant who specializes in family law and marriage with work experience would become highly familiar with drafting various legal documents relating to divorces, custody agreements, adoptions, and prenuptial agreements.
On the other hand, someone who works as an assistant in criminal law would have experience in drafting briefs and legal memos, researching cases, and maybe assisting lawyers with maintaining files on current cases.
In some other instances, legal assistants working in corporate law would have experience at filing articles of incorporation, drawing up contracts, or drafting partnership agreements.
Legal Assistant Job Description Example/Sample/Template
Most legal assistants’ job descriptions consist of the key tasks, duties, and responsibilities shown in the job description example below:
- Keep cases organized by organizing and establishing files; documenting actions, monitoring calendars; inputting information into case management software and file database; confirming case status with attorney and meeting deadline
- Help develop cases by preparing and forwarding summonses cum subpoenas, maintaining contact with people involved in cases; drafting complaints, scheduling depositions; preparing responses to opposing counsel, preparing and filing discovery requests as well as generating status reports
- Keep clients updated by communicating case progress
- Accomplish organizational goals by exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments.
Legal Assistant Resume Preparation
To prepare a resume for the post of legal assistant, the job description sample presented above can provide useful information in making the job history part of the resume.
Here is a resume sample for the position, which can be used as a template in writing one for yourself: Legal Assistant Resume Example.
Legal Assistant Requirements: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Career Success
Below are usually required skills, knowledge, and abilities that legal assistants should possess to excel on the job:
- Must be able to draft legal documents
- Must be able to prepare case briefs and read case law
- Must be able to prepare court trial notebooks
- Must be able to file court documents electronically
- Must be able to prepare discovery requests and respond to complaints
- Must be able to maintain documents and organize case files
- Excellent research and writing skills
- Must have eye for detail
- Ability to edit carefully
- Since client interaction is involved, good customer service skills is required
- Knowledge of the law
- Excellent organizational skills
- Computer skills
- General secretarial and office skills.