Corporate Legal Assistant Job Description
Corporate legal assistants provide assistance to lawyers by organizing files, preparing legal documents, and performing general clerical tasks. Corporate legal assistants work full time in office environments, usually in law firms specializing in corporate law and in corporate legal departments. These professionals report directly to the lawyer or lawyers they’re assigned to within the law firm, sometimes working overtime hours on evenings and weekends when the workload is especially heavy or when cases are on a tight deadline. Corporate legal assistants are rarely required to travel, though they may occasionally deliver or retrieve documents to and from courthouses, large law libraries, or the post office.
Corporate Legal Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Specific job duties for corporate legal assistants vary by firm and even on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type of legal issues being addressed. However, their basic core duties remain the same across all firms and legal issues and include the following:
Prepare Legal Documents
Corporate legal assistants prepare legal documents and law office documents of all types, including briefs, correspondence, affidavits, contracts, pleadings, and memos.
Corporate legal assistants make travel arrangements for lawyers, schedule conference calls and meetings, and otherwise organize schedules for lawyers.
Corporate legal assistants keep paperwork and digital documents organized and properly filed.
Corporate legal assistants keep legal exhibits properly labeled, organized, and prepared for upcoming trials.
Corporate legal assistants perform transcription services, translating voice recordings into typed digital and paper documents.
Perform Office Tasks
Corporate legal assistants aid other office staff members by answering phones, sorting mail, and performing light clerical duties.
Prepare Legal Research
Corporate legal assistants aid with legal research by pulling specific books from law libraries and looking up case file numbers as requested by lawyers.
Corporate Legal Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Corporate legal assistants are highly organized professionals who have a basic understanding of legal language. Law firms and lawyers who hire corporate legal assistants seek out individuals who have these necessary qualifications:
- Time management skills – working within tight deadlines in order to complete their job tasks, organize schedules, and prepare documents for trial and other legal actions requires corporate legal assistants to have excellent time management skills
- Typing ability – because corporate legal assistants key information into document templates and perform transcription work, they need strong typing skills
- Computer skills – corporate legal assistants have good computer skills to work with several types of software, including word processing and email programs
- Communication skills – strong verbal and written communication skills are essential in order to speak with lawyers, write emails and letters, and find research materials for legal cases
- Multitasking – corporate legal assistants juggle many job tasks at once, so employers prefer professionals who have top-notch multitasking skills
- Customer service – sometimes corporate legal assistants answer phone calls and greet clients who enter the law office, which requires customer service skills
Corporate Legal Assistant Education and Training
Corporate legal assistants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Law firms that hire corporate legal assistants seek out professionals with previous work experience in a law firm or legal environment. Corporate legal assistants with paralegal certificates are strongly desired by hiring firms, and candidates who have an associate’s degree or better in law are even more appealing to potential employers. Paralegal certification requirements vary by state.
Newly hired corporate legal assistants undergo a brief one- to two-week training period in which they become familiar with the law office and the firm’s lawyers. This training period is supervised by the office manager and an assigned lawyer or lawyers. Corporate legal assistants who have less education and work experience go through a longer training period that can span several weeks, depending on the firm.
Corporate Legal Assistant Salary and Outlook
The median pay rate for paralegals and legal assistants is $49,500 annually, or $23.80 an hour. PayScale data shows that corporate legal assistants earn an annual median income of $79,026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field will rise 15 percent by 2026, a growth rate that is much higher than the U.S. national average.
Full benefits are provided to corporate legal assistants. The benefits package typically includes life, health, vision, and dental insurance. Paid vacation days and sick days are also provided. In some corporate legal departments, corporate legal assistants may also receive additional benefits, such as paid lunches, continuing education reimbursement, and stock options.
Discover how to become a corporate legal assistant and begin to master the skills needed to perform this job well with these books and websites:
The Paralegal Association – NALA provides legal assistants and paralegals with information about certification and education, along with a career center featuring job opportunities
Paralegal Practice & Procedure Fourth Edition: A Practical Guide for the Legal Assistant – this practical guidebook for paralegals and legal assistants covers court procedures, provides legal research tools, delves into paralegal ethics, and offers information about electronic trial preparation and other useful tips
Paralegal EDU – use this website to find education resources and schools providing certification and training for legal assistants and paralegals. This site also features extensive career resources and an interactive map legal assistants can use to find specific certification requirements for their state
Practical Legal Writing for Legal Assistants – all aspects of paralegal and legal assistant writing are covered in this guide, which serves as a desk reference for all legal professionals
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