How to Become a Legal Assistant

Most paralegals and legal assistants have at least an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. In some cases, employers may hire college graduates with a bachelor’s degree but no legal experience or specialized education and train them on the job.
  1. Complete required education. A two-year associate degree in paralegal studies or something similar is recommended for anyone looking to get into the legal assistant role. …
  2. Gain experience in the field. Legal assistants work in fast-paced environments, like private businesses or law offices. …
  3. Skill development. …
  4. Find a job.

5 EASY TIPS to ensure your success as a Legal Assistant

Average salary and career paths

A professional’s career path often begins with becoming a legal assistant. Common career paths are as follows:

What does a legal assistant do?

Legal assistants are employed by organizations such as law firms, private companies, or the government. They offer administrative support so that lawyers and other professionals can complete tasks related to the legal industry. A legal assistant frequently serves as a stepping stone to becoming a paralegal and has fewer duties than a paralegal.

Legal assistants perform a variety of tasks, including taking messages, answering phones, and transcribing legal documents. They are the staff members responsible for managing the schedules of the attorneys, creating and sending invoices, organizing files, and more. To work as a legal assistant, you should have at least an associate’s degree, though some non-degreed professionals receive on-the-job training.

Legal assistants frequently work during regular business hours and provide administrative and secretarial support in law offices.

How to become a legal assistant

The following five steps will help you start a career as a legal assistant in a booming industry:

For those looking to work as a legal assistant, a two-year associate’s degree in paralegal studies or a related field is advised. However, some employers will demand a bachelor’s degree, so it’s wise to continue your education as far as you can. Legal writing and the types of law that paralegals are likely to encounter are among the topics covered in paralegal studies degrees. However, you can take online courses or pursue a related field like criminology if there isn’t a paralegal studies program in your area.

Your state Bar Association likely offers a legal assistant certification. Although it isn’t always necessary for students to pursue certification in order to find employment, some employers do look for certified legal assistants (CLA) when they sift through applicant pools. For that reason, it can be helpful. You must successfully complete a paralegal education program in order to take the exam. For specific requirements, you can contact your state Bar Association.

In hurried settings like private businesses or law offices, legal assistants work. They might be tasked with assisting a lawyer, a case, or a group of attorneys handling numerous cases together.

Apply for internships while you are still in school to gain experience as a legal assistant. These opportunities are available in local government organizations, businesses, and any legal setting where administrative tasks must be handled.

Look for chances to develop the abilities that a legal assistant would need. This includes managing calendars and schedules, using Excel, handling data, and carrying out office duties like filing and creating invoices. Without leaving their current position, those who want to become legal assistants can develop their skills in a number of different areas. However, it would be beneficial to look for openings to work in a position that is closely related, even if they are internship or volunteer opportunities.

You can submit an application for jobs as a legal assistant using a website like Indeed. They may be advertised at a number of businesses, including banks, law firms, and even the government. If you have specialized training or a particular interest, you could focus your search by choosing to work in a field you find fascinating, such as criminal defense or immigration law. It’s best to think about how your prior experience compares to that of a legal assistant before you enter the interview because most employers want to learn about your experience.

Frequently asked questions

A primary difference between the two is education. While most legal assistants can be hired with just work experience or specialized training, paralegals typically need a degree.

Another distinction is that paralegals are more accountable for client work. While a legal assistant is more likely to remain in the office and deal with client calls, routine inquiries, and scheduling, they are frequently the ones to interview and conduct investigations. Legal assistants and paralegals are similar in that paralegals also perform some administrative work.

It might be necessary to hire a legal assistant to arrange and prepare case files. Compared to a legal assistant, a paralegal is more likely to research the client file, and organizing the file may also be necessary. Although starting as a legal assistant is a good way to become a paralegal, paralegals typically earn more money due to the nature of the work.

It typically takes 2-4 years of education and some experience to become a legal assistant. Most people can become legal assistants in 3-5 years if they set out to do so.


How do I become a legal assistant UK?

  1. College. You could enroll in an audio transcription course, legal word processing training, or a Level 3 Diploma for Legal Secretaries program.
  2. Apprenticeship. You could enter this field through a paralegal or intermediate and advanced legal services apprenticeship.
  3. Work. …
  4. Other Routes. …
  5. More Information.

What is the most a legal assistant can make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the average yearly wage for legal assistants and paralegals in 2020 will be $56,610 ($27. 22 per hour). The state in which you work, the degree you have obtained, and the amount of experience you have in the field will all affect your average pay.

How do I become a legal assistant in Australia?

A formal qualification in business administration (legal) or legal services is typically required to work as a legal secretary. The North Metropolitan TAFE College in Perth offers the Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal) and the Certificate IV in Legal Services.

How much do legal assistants make in Calgary?

In the Calgary, Alberta area, a legal assistant makes an average yearly salary of $53,932. The additional cash salary for a legal assistant in the Calgary, Alberta, area ranges from $332 to $3,420 on average.

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