A legal assistant is an integral part of a law firm, someone who can help the lawyer to better utilize their time and to make sure that they’re bringing in as much profit as they possibly can.
Becoming a legal assistant doesn’t necessarily require that you go to college to get a 2-year or a 4-year degree, but before you become a legal assistant, there are a few skills that you will need to have to flourish.
It is always best to check the educational requirements in your state when pursuing a career as a legal assistant.
If you are going to work almost any position in an office, typing is essential. Being able to type at a decent speed, while also being able to type correctly, is important. It is not the most important skill for someone hoping to be a legal assistant, but it will absolutely make your life easier, and make you more employable if you can type well.
Being able to perform basic legal research is another extremely important part of being a legal assistant. Law offices pay good money to gain access to legal libraries such as Lexis Nexus online, and being able to use the search engine to find information pertaining to the work of your lawyer is one of the most important tasks that you can perform in a law office.
Knowledge of Law
If you’re hoping to become a legal assistant, it is important that you keep in mind that the only person who can give legal advice is a lawyer. However, that does not mean that you should not have a decent understanding of law in general. Being able to understand legal terms, and to read laws, is very important for anyone who wants to work in a law office.
Most lawyers will not expect you to come into their office being an expert in the type of law they practice, but if you cannot understand laws and legal filings, then you’re not going to be an asset.
Good Clerical Skills
In many law offices, legal assistants are responsible for keeping the files in order, as well as for setting appointments. You need to be able to book appointments, keep track of court dates and hearings, and keep track of files pertaining to those court cases.
Being able to keep an office in good order is a critical skill for anyone who hopes to be a legal assistant.
An Eye For Fine Details
You must write legal documents and court filings in very specific ways. If something is out of place or left out or doesn’t have the appropriate signatures, it can cause problems. You need to have an eye for fine details in order to make sure that you dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. Otherwise it can cause issues in a courtroom.
If you think you possess the skills you need to be able to be an effective legal assistant, or if you’re looking for a bit of help on that path, a course from Stratford Career Institute can help impart the skills that a legal assistant might need.
These courses are also a great way to work toward a new career at your own pace.
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