So how do you actually become a legal assistant? What are the qualifications needed and what should you do?
A legal assistant's job must be made clear first before you jump into becoming one. Most legal assistants would have completed a bachelor's degree and some have two-year associates degrees. A certified legal assistant is one who has completed the voluntary certification program of a professional association. A legal assistant is a legal professional who does many of the same work that lawyers do. However, there are particular tasks that are only reserved for licensed attorneys.
If you really want to become a legal assistant
, you should gain an entry-level position in a law firm and work your way up. Then get a certificate and obtain employment as an entry-level legal assistant. Actually, a lot of legal assistants start working with an administrative role and eventually become a paralegal. Sometimes if you are lucky, there are companies that would send some employees to training and education needed to conduct paralegal tasks. Another way to become a legal assistant is to gain a paralegal certificate to become qualified to a paralegal job. A lot of vocational schools, junior colleges and big universities offer paralegal certificate programs. You can get a certificate program that would teach you the basics of legal research and analysis, the judicial process, legal ethics, and other important skills needed for being an effective paralegal. It takes time and effort to be a legal assistant. So if you are really determined to get a career out of it, you must gain knowledge and insight to know if this kind of profession is right for you.
Before diving into a decision of becoming a legal assistant
, you make sure that you know the tasks that you must and must not do. For example, a paralegal is not able to give clients legal advice or setting fees and acting as counsel in a courtroom.
A legal assistant assists lawyers. Lawyers are too much busy to do everything that they must do. They don't want to waste their time on grunt work because they have more important things to finish. This is where the legal assistant comes in. Lawyers, as a matter of fact, have a lot to do, so they delegate many various tasks to legal assistants in order to beat all the deadlines because they don't have much time. Sometimes other lawyers would train their legal secretaries to perform paralegal work but most lawyers don't have enough time for training. So most lawyers prefer to hire candidates with backgrounds in law or a paralegal certificate. But then, it is still better if you have both.
The majority of the work that a legal assistant does is paperwork. This can be a little boring because it requires understanding most of the legal proceedings that will occur. However, it also involves fascinating cases. Becoming a legal assistant is tedious ad requires hard work, determination, patience, effort and time. If you don't have these factors, it will be a lot harder.