Legal Assistants play a critical role in all law office settings. From scheduling client meetings to helping attorneys keep on top of court filing deadlines, Legal Assistants are responsible for much of the day-to-day productivity within the office.
Recent studies show that the demand for Professional Legal Assistants is growing. Job search sites like Indeed and Workopolis currently feature more than 1,000 postings each for Legal Assistant positions in Western Canada, with more being added every day.
This surge in demand for Professional Legal Assistants is not surprising. A recent report by the federal government estimated that between 2019 and 2028 over 20,000 new Legal Assistant positions would be created.
Why Is There Such A Demand for Legal Assistants in Canada?
There are several factors driving this demand. Some are related to the ever-evolving field of law and others are related to the Legal Administrative Assistant position itself. An example of these factors include:
Growth rate of Canadian law firms: Since 2000, the growth rate for lawyers in Canada has been greater than the growth rate of the general population. For every law office, there is a whole team of Professional Legal Assistants working to make that lawyer look good. This growth means there is a heightened demand for Legal Assistants, both now and forecasted for the future.
Changes in the legal profession: Pressure on law firms to control costs as they face increasing competition is encouraging them to discover new ways to operate cost-efficiently. Hiring Legal Assistants to take charge of responsibilities such as case research, filing, and client correspondence allows the lawyers to focus more on practicing law and less on these duties. Hiring a team of Legal Assistants is one of the best and most cost-effective ways of getting more done while keeping costs down.
Changing demographics: Demographics are changing within the current pool of Legal Assistants. Many existing Legal Assistants will be leaving their jobs over the next few years, creating thousands of job opportunities for recent graduates wanting to enter the profession. Employers have also spotted this trend and are working hard to make sure that new employees are ready to fill the talent void that this turnover will create. The retirement trend will continue, creating additional demand for new Legal Assistants.
Value of Legal Assistants: Legal Assistants possess a very particular set of skills and abilities, making them indispensable in every legal setting.
Why Are Professional Legal Assistants So Valuable?
Professional Legal Assistants add value beyond what an ordinary administrative assistant can provide. With specialized legal knowledge, combined with training in legal office procedures and software, Legal Assistants have what is needed to propel their law firm, corporation, government department, or real estate office to success.
Organizations are increasingly seeing the value of employing Legal Assistants to manage the more operational side of the business, as they maintain office efficiency, increase client satisfaction, and help organizations retain their legal talent. This growing appreciation means becoming a Professional Legal Assistant can provide you with job security and the opportunity to enjoy a competitive salary.
What Does a Legal Assistant Do?
Your average day may look different depending on the size or type of office you work in, but common responsibilities include:
Composing legal documents, including motions and briefs
Preparing billing documents
Managing client records
Scheduling appointments, depositions, and meetings
Answering mail, emails, and phone calls for the lawyer/group of lawyers
How to Become a Legal Assistant
The first step in becoming a Legal Assistant is finding a Diploma program that provides you with both a theoretical and applied skill set. You want a program that includes a practicum, as well as a comprehensive classroom education.
Sundance College’s Professional Legal Assistant Diploma offers all of this in an accelerated program, in addition to a full range of Career Services. We prepare our students to graduate with the skills and confidence to start their new profession.
To find out more about Sundance College’s Professional Legal Assistant Diploma program click here.