Top 8 Skills Required to Become a Successful Legal Assistantlink has been copied
2022-09-07 | Business and Legal
Legal Assistants play a crucial role in the smooth operation of a law firm, and with the rising demand for them in Western Canada, it is a great career path to pursue.
A Legal Assistant is a legal professional who completes work on behalf of a lawyer or lawyers to boost efficiency and productivity within the law firm.
To be successful in this role you need to possess certain skills, many of which can be learned by choosing the right Professional Legal Assistant college program. Let’s investigate the traits required to become a successful Legal Assistant further:
Lawyers rely on Legal Assistants to perform a wide range of responsibilities for them. So, it is essential for a Legal Assistant to possess the organizational skills required to maintain a lawyer’s calendar, deadlines, paperwork, and correspondence with external parties, all while ensuring that the lawyers are prepared for meetings with clients, court proceedings, and more. One of the most important aspects of a Legal Assistant’s position is to make sure law offices run at top efficiency and that little-to-no mistakes are made, so organizational skills come in at number one.
Lawyers turn to their Legal Assistants to draft both internal and external correspondence, in addition to proofreading legal documents. For this reason, Legal Assistants must have strong communication and writing capabilities. High proficiency in spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and transcription skills are all necessary for the role of a Legal Assistant.
This aspect of the job comes with great responsibility because the Legal Assistant is acting as the face or point of contact with other law firms and clients and, to a large extent, carries the reputation of the law firm on their shoulders.
Legal Assistants must have a broad understanding of commonly-used legal terms. Since the job requires regular reading, writing, and interpretation of legal documents, Legal Assistants should be familiar with everything from trial briefs to living wills to subpoenas.
A necessary skill required to be a successful Legal Assistant is attention to detail. It is the Legal Assistant’s responsibility to catch and correct the errors others may have missed, including typos, double-booked meetings, and more. In the legal world, even a simple mistake could have serious repercussions to an important case file, so this is a vital skill to develop if you wish to pursue this career path.
Since Legal Assistants are often asked to conduct research, strong analytical and critical thinking skills are necessary to possess. Legal Assistants must understand how to search for information correctly, identify trustworthy sources, and filter through search results in order to distinguish relevant facts.
In some cases, Legal Assistants are called on to assist lawyers with trial preparation and court proceedings. In these instances, misinformation could result in a lawyer losing a case, therefore, it is vital that the Legal Assistant understands the gravity of sourcing trusted information.
On a regular basis, Legal Assistants deal with private documents and sensitive information, from personal information about clients to undisclosed facts about an upcoming trial. In order to appropriately handle these confidential documents, it is necessary to always act with respect and integrity. This discretion and ability to act professionally is critical to both the personal success of the Legal Assistant and the success of the legal team they’re supporting.
Legal Assistants require strong interpersonal skills due to the large amount of time they spend corresponding by phone and email with lawyers, clients, opposing counsel, and more. These encounters may take place face to face, over the phone, on video conferences, or through email. A top-notch Legal Assistant should be able to greet people graciously, provide clear instruction, and diffuse tense situations. This involves listening, expressing ideas clearly, utilizing proper phone etiquette, and negotiating.
Legal Assistants take care of a variety of tasks such as creating presentations, organizing and running video calls, and backing up files. Legal Assistants with knowledge of Microsoft Office and legal software have an advantage over their less tech-savvy peers.
Sundance College’s Professional Legal Assistant Diploma offers a theoretical and applied academic experience that prepares you to become a professional in the field of law.
Whether you have a special interest in family law, real estate law, criminal law, or corporate law, our industry-trained instructors equip each of our students with the legal knowledge, technical skills and confidence required to start their new profession.
At Sundance College, the Professional Legal Assistant Diploma program provides a comprehensive classroom education followed by a workplace practicum in a lawyer’s office, legal department, or other appropriate legal setting. Additionally, our graduates receive a full range of Career Services that they can rely on throughout their career journey.
To learn more, visit our website and enroll today!