A legal assistant plays a crucial role in the delivery of fair and efficient legal services in every sector. A legal assistant performs a number of duties and tasks in the fulfillment of their role in a legal office. In short, they are the right hand of all the lawyers in government and private legal practices.
From litigation and legal advisory to commercial and real estate transactions, legal assistants are responsible for a variety of administrative duties including organizing meetings, maintaining files, responding to client inquiries, and more. However, legal assistants are not the same as legal secretaries, and they have many other functions beyond administrative work.
As a legal assistant, you will also be responsible for handling the majority of the paperwork duties related to court cases and legal transactions – that is to say, most of the job. A legal assistant conducts research and compiles relevant information for court cases, drafts contracts and other documents, prepares and proofreads legal and administrative documents including contracts, acts, correspondence between parties, following procedures, documenting legal opinions, and more.
Legal assistants are commonly interchanged with paralegals, though paralegals more often specialize in a certain area of law while legal assistants are usually unspecialized. In essence, as a legal assistant, you will be responsible for assisting the lawyers with their cases and performing any number of tasks that they need to deliver meaningful legal services to clients. You will be the backbone of wherever you choose to be employed.
How to Become a Legal Assistant
If you’re interested in becoming a legal assistant and making a difference in the lives of people in your community, the process is fairly straightforward. After taking a legal assistant course from a reputable college or other institution, you can apply to the government legal team or opt to dive into the private sector.
Anyone who is detail-oriented, organized, and interested in law will make a great legal assistant. You will find your role in support of lawyers during trials, meetings, and hearings quite rewarding and will be a highly valuable asset to whichever industry and legal practice you choose to work in.