How to Become a Legal Assistant
Legal assistants are integral members of the legal field, often working closely with attorneys and clients to provide support services. Becoming a legal assistant requires a combination of education, skills, and experience. Here are some tips to help you make the transition to a successful career as a legal assistant.
- Earn an Associate’s Degree: An associate’s degree in paralegal studies provide a foundational understanding of legal processes and procedures. Additionally, you may gain hands-on experience by completing internships and other field-related activities included in the program.
2. Pursue Certification: Certification from organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) helps demonstrate your commitment to the profession and your knowledge of the field. Depending on the certification program, you may need to pass exams, submit evidence of work experience, and/or complete continuing education courses.
- Gather Work Experience: Many employers are looking for legal assistants with prior experience in the field. Consider taking on internships or volunteering at local law firms to gain experience. Additionally, you may be able to find entry-level positions that provide on-the-job training.
- Utilize Technology: Legal assistants need to be comfortable working with technology. You should become familiar with various software programs used in the legal field, such as Case Map, LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Microsoft Office. Additionally, you should be able to use online research tools, such as legal databases and court dockets.
- Develop Good Communication Skills: Legal assistants often interact with attorneys, clients, and opposing counsel, so you need to have strong communication skills. You must write clearly and concisely, and you should also effectively convey information in person.
Becoming a legal assistant can be a rewarding career path. By following these tips, you can move closer to becoming a successful legal assistant. With the right education, experience, and skills, you can build a successful career in the legal field