Legal assistant training is an incredibly popular diploma program. There's no doubt that the rise of courtroom dramas (like Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and The Good Wife) play a huge part in this trend.
We've been loving shows like these for decades, relishing those impressive closing arguments, suspenseful cross-examinations, last-minute discoveries, and shocking twists.
Best of all are the final moments when justice is served, right triumphs over wrong, and we see the power of skillful research and argumentation in all their glory.
It's no surprise that students of all ages and backgrounds are drawn to careers in law. We associate legal professionals with intelligence and courage—people who stand up for their convictions and help defend the rights of others.
Sure, there are some less-than-honest lawyers and judges out there. But for the most part, this field is about protecting what holds our society together: human rights and fair process.
Are you inspired to pursue a legal career, but don't want to spend years at university and law school? Training as a legal assistant could be your perfect solution.
So what does it take to do well in legal assistant training? What are colleges looking for in applicants? Take a look at some of the natural skills and characteristics we screen for when interviewing candidates for our legal assistant training program. Let's see if you're a good match.
You enjoy reading, writing, and research
Law is all about the finer details. You won't succeed in legal assistant training (or out in the field) if you don't enjoy combing through research and producing accurate, finely detailed documents.
No matter which field of law you work in—real estate, corporate law, litigation, family law—you'll be doing plenty of reading, writing, and research.
Your supervising lawyer will ask for your help in preparing for court, setting up for meetings, and completing tasks like:
- Creating spreadsheets, presentations, and legal briefs
- Keeping notes on hearings and meetings
- Researching past cases and precedents
- Creating, formatting, and proofreading pleadings, discoveries, and transactional documents
You're comfortable with Computers
Like any other office, law firms depend heavily on technology to run smoothly. As a starting point, you'll need to use common Microsoft Office programs, like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook.
You'll also need to learn billing software and any other special computer programs your employer uses to manage projects and communicate with team members. You might even be asked to update the firm's website and respond to inquiries on social media.
Legal assistant training will prepare you with the fundamentals—but you can definitely expect to learn additional programs and software as you progress in your career.
You don't need to be a technology pro, but comfort with computers is definitely an advantage in legal work.
You can work with a team and independently
Legal assistants are core team members at every firm, corporate legal department, and government agency. We're not exaggerating when we say lawyers can't survive without them!
But to become highly valued in this field, you'll need to be a self-starter as well as a team player. It's important to work well with others and take the initiative to get things done on your own.
Lawyers are notoriously disorganized, so they'll be relying on you to keep track of tasks like ordering office supplies, scheduling meetings, making travel arrangements, and preparing legal documents. They won't be there to hold your hand at every step—so thinking for yourself and knowing when to take charge will be key.
You're good at following steps and procedures
Are you good at remembering rules and carefully following steps to complete a task? Can you think through a problem calmly until you find a solution? Or do you tend to just jump in and make things up as you go along?
Following procedure is definitely crucial when working in law. You can't "improvise" a legal document or skip over important steps when interviewing a new client or filing papers with the court.
Attention to detail and maturity are key characteristics we look for in applicants to our legal assistant program. And you can be sure that employers are looking for these attributes as well when they review your cover letter and resume and meet with you for interviews.
Every lawyer you work with will be counting on you to complete tasks correctly. If you don't follow procedure, you may compromise the case—and damage the reputation of the firm.
You can communicate easily with others
Excellent communication skills are vital for legal assistants. You need to present yourself professionally to colleagues, supervising lawyers, and clients. You need to be friendly with staff, and put others at ease.
You'll also be taking care of administrative details, like booking appointments, sending out office memos, and coordinating with office suppliers and other law firms.
Written and oral communication is central to your job, and a skill you'll work on extensively during legal assistant training. But it's important to feel confident in this area, right from day one.
You're reliable and honest, and you value integrity
This is an obvious one. As a legal assistant, you'll have access to all kinds of confidential information, including billing details, client records, and legal documents. It's vital to show you can be trusted to protect this information.
Any college you apply to (and later on, firms you seek to work for) will screen you closely for signs of integrity, maturity, and trustworthiness.
You'll want to present yourself as a serious candidate who respects client privacy and understands the responsibility of working with sensitive information.
You're good at juggling tasks
Keeping track of deadlines, multitasking, and remaining calm under pressure—these are all top requirements for legal assistants.
It's quite common for legal assistants to work for multiple lawyers at the same time, which is definitely a juggling act. And even if you work with just one lawyer, you'll be responsible for a wide range of office tasks and legal work—so you'll need to be great at managing your time and staying ahead of the game.
Again, this calls for a certain degree of maturity. When we meet with people interested in legal assistant training, we're looking for candidates who seem serious, well-spoken, organized, and goal-oriented.
Sound like you? Think you'd be a great match for this career path? We'd love to hear from you.
Chat live with an admissions advisor to find out how to get started. Or click below to browse the Legal Assistant program and request more information. We're here to help!