What does a Legal Assistant do?
Legal assistants support lawyers with various tasks, including conducting legal research, drafting and reviewing documents, communicating with clients, preparing hearings, trials, and meetings, and organizing and maintaining files.
A high school degree is required to become a legal assistant and most legal assistants have an associate's degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. Legal assistants are typically highly organized and detail-oriented, and have strong communication skills.
- Collect, examine, and organize evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation
- Draft and proofread correspondence and legal documents, such as pleadings and contracts
- Research regulations, laws, and legal articles to assist with the preparation of reports, case files, and legal advice
- Manage client billing by preparing, finalizing, and sending out bills, as well as resolving billing issues in cooperation with the billing attorney
- Communicate with clients and witnesses to schedule meetings, interviews, and depositions
- Manage, organize, and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems
- Provide general administrative assistance, such as maintaining the attorney's calendar and making travel arrangements
- High school diploma or general education degree (GED) required
- associate's degree in paralegal studies, a paralegal certificate, or a Bachelor's degree preferred
- 1-5 years of experience as an administrative assistant (preferably in a law firm or in a corporate legal department), legal assistant, legal secretary, or paralegal
- Detail-oriented and highly organized
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills and professional demeanor
- Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and Outlook
- Ability to work independently, manage large workloads, and keep deadlines
How much does a Legal Assistant make?
Legal Assistant Career Path
Learn how to become a Legal Assistant, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Years of Experience Distribution
Legal Assistant Insights
“Certain practice groups are great to work in and I made lifelong friends while I was working here.”
“The manager was kinda iffy felt like everything someone did bothered her and I quit the manager not the job”
“The job was somewhat repetitive after awhile but it was nice to have a set schedule.”
“My training was extremely thorough and I've always had support if there was something I didn't know.”
“Real Estate Legal Solutions created a great working environment and was a place I looked forward to going everyday.”
“profit means the pay is not amazing but I would say competitive for this type of work.”
“Only people who rated this higher than a 2 is family or close friends to Lisa.”
“Never gave me a proper review or a raise in the almost 2 yrs I worked there.”
Legal Assistant Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of legal assistants
The typical day of a legal assistant involves helping lawyers by performing research, drafting legal documents, answering routine questions from clients, and assisting with trial preparation. They may also handle administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments, taking phone messages, preparing client bills, assembling files, and handling recordkeeping.
One advantage of being a legal assistant is that employment for legal assistants is expected to grow faster than the national average. In some law firms, legal assistants also perform the more advanced duties of a paralegal in a kind of hybrid role that can make this job more interesting. This is a good career if you're interested in law but don't want to become a lawyer.
The average salary for legal assistants is $45,341 a year. The highest-paying industries for legal assistants and paralegals are the federal government, finance and insurance, local government, legal services, and state government. Furthering your education to take on more complex legal duties can help you command a higher salary.
Working as a legal assistant can be stressful at times, particularly if you're assisting in a difficult or high-profile case. One challenge of being a legal assistant is that you may have to work overtime in these situations, staying late to keep up with the long hours of the lawyers you work for.