If you have been considering becoming a legal office assistant (also known as a paralegal) you should first become familiar with what the job entails. If you are familiar with the role of the legal assistant you will be able to decide if this is the right career for you.
The first thing you should know is that a legal assistant does require secondary training. You can take a course at a community college or a business college. The length of your course will vary but you can sometimes finish your training in under a year. You will be trained to understand the terminology that is used in law offices as well as many of the simpler tasks that lawyers need to perform. Lawyers relay on legal assistants to complete many of easier tasks so that they have more time to focus on the case.
You should understand that a paralegal or legal assistant cannot practice law. That means that they cannot set fees, give any type of legal advice, or represent someone in a courtroom. They cannot take the place of a qualified lawyer.
Legal assistants are most often involved in the behind the scenes work. That may include doing paper investigations and research. They may have to find witnesses to support the case or look for similar cases that can help the lawyer find a new angle to the case. Lawyers rarely do this kind of work themselves.
Each case comes with a great deal of paper work that must be taken care of with confidentiality and precision. Each report that is typed up must be perfect. Court orders, contracts, and agreements must also be perfect and will be approved by the lawyer but the lawyer will rely on the paralegal to make sure that facts have been check and that no mistakes are made.
The legal assistant may accompany the lawyer to court procedures to take care of paperwork and reports. They may help with prepping witness before court is in session, as well. This takes a great deal of training and hard work and a properly trained legal assistant can be a great asset to any lawyer.
If you are interested in becoming a legal assistant you will find that there are many options available to you. A couple of the things you should look for when you are looking for a place to get your education would be instructors that are fully trained and have worked in the industry. You should also look for things like small classrooms (so that you will be able to get one on one attention), recently updated class material, and a school that offers a practicum placement so that you can get real world experience that will help you find a job when you graduate.