An associate's degree program in legal administration provides an intensive focus on legal terminology, document preparation, computer applications and research methods that allow secretaries and administrative assistants to manage paperwork. These programs are typically composed of about 60-70 credit hours of study and take about two years to complete. Admission into a legal secretary or administrative assistant program generally requires a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Legal Administration Overview
Associate degree programs in legal administration typically prepare students for legal office environments involving computer technology, software use, word processing and office administration. These programs teach students the speaking, writing and interpersonal communication skills necessary to interact with clients and persons in law offices. Coursework in legal terminology, document preparation, computer applications and research methods qualify them to manage paperwork in a legal environment.
In addition to writing and humanities electives, a degree program might include courses like:
- Business communications
- Keyboarding and word processing, computer applications
- Records management, legal transcription
- Business math
- Ethics and law
- Office procedures, accounting
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 21% decrease in employment for legal secretaries from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). In May 2018, the BLS estimated that legal secretaries earned a median annual salary of $46,360.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Legal secretaries and administrative assistants can become accredited or certified through organizations such as NALS, which offers the Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS) and Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) designations for those who pass an exam (www.nals.org). Legal Secretaries International offers the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) designation in various areas of legal expertise, including intellectual property and criminal law (www.legalsecretaries.org). Experienced legal secretaries who wish to advance in the legal profession may earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, or a post-baccalaureate certificate further into their academic career.
Students who earn an associate's degree in legal administration will learn how to perform administrative and secretarial duties in a legal office setting. There is an option for students to become accredited or certified through professional organizations, and experienced legal secretaries can go on to earn bachelor's degrees or certificates in related fields.