Interested students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or an Associate of Science (AS) in Legal Office Administration. They may also pursue an AAS or AS in office administration with a legal concentration option. In addition to general office skills courses, these programs include classes in legal procedures and legal documents. Upon completing a program, students may pursue entry-level secretarial positions in legal offices. In order to apply to one of these two-year programs, students must have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Associate of Science in Legal Office Administration
These programs provide training in office computer systems and communication techniques. Specifically, students can take courses in office systems, word processing, keyboarding, and client interviewing. Some law-related course topics include:
- Legal document formatting
- Legal ethics
- Legal research
- Legal terminology
- Litigation procedures
- Operations of the legal system
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants was expected to increase by 8% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). In 2014, the BLS reported that legal secretaries earned a median annual salary of $43,200.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Programs typically prepare students to meet the requirements for voluntary professional certification in the field. Organizations such as the National Association of Legal Secretaries, Inc. (NALS) and Legal Secretaries International, Inc. offer certification options for administrative professionals in the legal field. Typically, certification is earned by meeting education and experience requirements and passing an exam.
Some individuals working in legal offices may decide to become paralegals. The most common educational path to become a paralegal is typically the completion of an associate's degree program in paralegal studies, but individuals who already hold an associate's degree in legal office administration may pursue a certificate or bachelor's degree program in legal studies. Employers may also train individuals for advancement to paralegal positions.
Overall, AS and AAS programs provide the basic office training and law-related instruction necessary for office jobs in the legal field. From there, students can seek formal education or on-the-job training if they want to become paralegals.