Most law offices consist of more staff than just a lawyer. This is true whether they’re a small office or a large firm with many partners. To be able to offer services to clients and to get the most out of the lawyer’s time, they have help from legal assistants.
What is a legal assistant? A legal assistant helps the lawyer with a variety of tasks to ensure that the law office runs smoothly.
Task 1: Performing Various Intake Tasks
Before most people ever talk to an actual lawyer, they speak to a legal assistant.
The legal assistant listens to the issue that the prospective client may have, ensuring that this is something that their law office deals in. They also gather basic information about the client’s issue, which can include finding court documents, filings, and other legal information. A good legal assistant makes sure that before the prospective client ever has an initial meeting with the lawyer, they have as much information as possible about the case.
Task 2: Drafting Legal Documents
Nobody in a law office can give legal advice except a lawyer.
However, that does not mean that only the lawyer writes legal documents. Depending on the office and the type of law services the office provides, a legal assistant may perform services for the lawyer in drafting various legal documents for clients. The lawyer will then review the document before sending it to its final destination.
This depends heavily on the type of law the lawyer practices. A legal assistant at an office practicing criminal law, for example, may draft legal briefs. A legal assistant working in a family law focused firm may find themselves writing documents related to child support payments.
Task 3: Legal Research
One of the most important tasks that a legal assistant may perform is research.
This is often done with various legal libraries that law firms pay to access and requires searching through federal, state, and local laws for applicable information and precedent concerning the case at hand. A law office spends a lot of time performing legal research, and it can be very long and arduous work. The less legal research the lawyer needs to perform, the more time they can spend on casework, and the more effectively their time is being spent.
This is just a small sample of the tasks that a legal assistant will perform. The tasks you may perform as a legal assistant can vary wildly depending on the firm and the law the firm is practicing. If you would like to begin a career as a legal assistant, the legal assistant course at Stratford Career Institute can help you to better understand how to perform necessary functions of a legal assistant. It can be a good starting point for anyone who is looking to work toward a new career.
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