The intense and exciting legal field provides a challenging and interesting work environment for legal office assistants.
In this role, you will perform a variety of administrative and clerical activities such as record keeping and document maintenance, preparing correspondence, scheduling appointments, and providing information to clients. You will also prepare complicated documentation such as subpoenas, complaints, and motions.
Because of increased workflow efficiency as a result of technology, many routine tasks that once were performed manually are now automated. Tasks that were performed by legal office assistants are being replaced by increasing levels of responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff including assisting in legal research and fact verification.
While there are some part-time job opportunities, you will find that as a legal office assistant the majority of job opportunities are full-time. Typical work settings include private legal practices and county, state, and federal court systems working in public defenders', prosecutors', and judges' offices.
Most legal office assistants work a standard 40-hour week, Monday through Friday. Overtime situations may apply during peak workflow periods and as court and filing deadlines dictate.
You will work with a variety of people including attorneys, clients that can range in age from young adults to senior citizens, and professionals in municipalities, businesses, and other legal offices.
Job opportunities for legal secretaries are expected to grow at an average rate compared to other occupations. Nationally, new positions are expected to grow by 12 percent by 2020. Within Michigan, jobs are expected to grow six percent.
The increase in job openings will be a result of the expected growth in the legal industry as well as from the need to fill openings left by people who have been promoted or who leave for other fields of work.
In Berrien County and western Van Buren County, there are over 100 private legal offices and dozens of state, federal, and local agencies where legal office assistants are employed.
According to LMC Legal Office Systems instructor and advisor Lisa Augustiniak, becoming a legal office assistant can and should be looked at as a starting point in a career in the legal field. The next career step for a legal office assistant is to become a paralegal. Additional education is required to move to that level but the skills and knowledge gained as a legal office assistant provides a great background in preparing for the move.