The curriculum for legal assistant associate's degrees covers a wide range of topics central to both office administration and business. The general skills that students in these programs learn include effective verbal and written communication, computer formatting and problem-solving. The specific legal administration skills students learn include processing appeals and motions, filing and coding important legal documents and organizing law libraries. Prior to graduation, students must complete an internship.
Applicants to these programs must demonstrate proficiency in basic math, reading, writing and key-boarding.
Legal Administrative Assistant Associate's Degree
Students in these programs learn about basic technological tools such as spreadsheet and word-processing software, electronic calculators, fax machines, copiers, scanners and e-mail. The program provides students with both practical and theoretical training in the following areas:
- MS Word
- MS Excel
- Data management
- Business communications
- Legal procedures
- Business math
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), legal administrative assistants, also called legal secretaries, are expected to experience a 4% decline in job opportunities between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). This is lower than both the average for all occupations and the 3% growth predicted for secretaries and administrative assistants overall. The BLS indicates that the median wage for legal secretaries in 2015 was $43,200 per year.
Although certification isn't necessary for most legal administration positions, it may enhance applicants' career prospects. Professional associations, such as the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), offer a diverse array of credentials for legal administrative professionals. Individuals seeking certification are required to pass a certification exam and have the required number of years of experience, which can vary depending on the specific certification being pursed. They can prepare for these exams by enrolling in basic training courses.
For students who want to become legal administrative assistants, associate's degree programs provide the necessary general and law-specific education.