Legal Executive Assistant Job Description
Legal executive assistants work in law offices, providing essential support to the attorneys during and in-between legal cases. They provide both traditional administrative and legal support. Legal executive assistants typically work full-time hours in a law office, reporting directly to an attorney. Candidates who are knowledgeable in the law and possess exceptional organizational skills are a good fit for this position.
Legal Executive Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
The tasks that legal executive assistants perform on a daily basis can differ depending on the specific type of law firm for which they work, however, most legal executive assistants perform the same core tasks:
Perform Legal Research
Legal executive assistants perform legal research specific to the case currently being worked. They gather information in an organized manner and present it to the managing attorney.
Provide Administrative Support
Legal executive assistants provide general administrative support to the legal team. This includes organizing schedules, arranging meetings, and setting up travel arrangements.
Write Legal Reports
Legal executive assistants write legal reports based on the data gathered from research and initial interviews. They write clear and concise reports so that all involved parties can understand them.
Organize and Track Case Documentation
Case documentation must be organized efficiently. Legal executive assistants organize and track case documentation, making it easily accessible to team members who need it.
Maintain Legal Databases
Legal executive assistants maintain the firm’s legal databases. They also use external legal databases as needed to gather more data for the case.
Legal Executive Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Employers typically hire legal executive assistants who have at least an associate’s degree in a paralegal program and three years of previous experience working at a law firm. Successful legal executive assistants also possess the following skills and qualifications:
- Legal knowledge – legal executive assistants are knowledgeable in the type of law that their firm practices, applying it to specific cases
- Research skills – legal executive assistants are research experts, knowing where to look for new data and how to interpret it
- Project and case management experience – legal executive assistants are adept at managing the administrative aspects of a case
- Organizational skills – successful legal executive assistants are well organized, keeping track of everything happening
- Perceptive – legal executive assistants are perceptive, often finding details pertinent to a case that others may have missed
Tools of the Trade
Legal executive assistants use a variety of tools in their day-to-day routine. These tools often include:
- Microsoft Office Suite (especially Word and PowerPoint)
- Legal database (Bloomberg BNA, Lexis Advance, WestlawNext)
Legal Executive Assistant Education and Training
Legal executive assistants usually have an associate’s degree in a paralegal program. However, if they want to advance in pay and position, they should possess a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Additional training for legal executive assistants may also be required upon getting hired, such as getting up to speed in the current cases and using the law firm’s specific tools and software.
Legal Executive Assistant Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for legal executive assistants as $49,500. With more experience and education, legal executive assistants in the top 10 percent earn $80,260 per year, while those in the lowest 10 percent earn $31,070 per year. Legal executive assistants are also eligible for additional benefits, depending on the law firm where they work. These benefits may include comprehensive health, vision, and dental insurance, vacation time, and sick time. Legal executive assistants may also receive incentive-based bonuses based on the win rate for the law firm’s legal cases.
The job outlook for legal executive assistants is largely positive, according to the BLS, which predicts a 15 percent growth over the next 10 years. Legal executive assistants will continue to become more of a hybrid role, performing both legal and administrative duties.
We’ve listed several resources below that you can use to learn more about being a legal executive assistant:
e-LEGAL Support: Legal Secretary, Paralegals, Virtual Assistants, Law Clerks & Admin Staff – This LinkedIn group has over 37,000 members, all who belong to the legal support industry. You can join this group to learn more about the industry overall and get valuable help and insight into becoming a desirable legal executive assistant candidate.
The Paralegal Blog – This blog is dedicated to helping you navigate your career as a paralegal or legal executive assistant. It offers blog posts on topics such as work/life balance, book reviews, and tips for success. The blog is updated regularly and the author is responsive to comments overall.
Paralegal Career for Dummies – Legal executive assistants perform many of the same tasks as paralegals, and often do more. This book from the For Dummies series offers simple and valuable information about the industry as a whole. It shows how to prepare litigation documents, perform legal research, and manage the administrative side of the law firm. It also provides tips on how to break into the industry and find a job as a legal executive assistant.
Legal Terminology (Quick Study: Law) – This is an inexpensive pamphlet that contains a comprehensive list of legal terminology a legal executive assistant should know. This is a handy resource to have whether you’re already a legal executive assistant or you’re trying to find a job as one.
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