With the accumulation of cases and necessary activities, any size legal office can be a ball of confusion. Legal office managers and assistants of every level can straighten out the myriad responsibilities and ensure the office runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Armed with anything from an associate degree to a master's degree, you may be able to find a niche for yourself in the legal field.
Law office managers oversee the daily operations of a legal office. Their duties are administrative and it is their responsibility to coordinate and monitor the activities that occur within the legal office. Individuals who want to pursue a career in law office management can get associate or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, a bachelor's degree in law office administration or a master's degree in law office management.
|Required Education||Associate or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in law office administration|
|Other Requirements||Master's degree in law firm management may be beneficial|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||7% for all general and operations managers*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$97,730 for all general and operations managers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)'
Law Office Manager Job Duties
The basic duty of a law office manager is to ensure the office is running smoothly. They coordinate and monitor all activities within the law office. During a typical day a manager may check over completed documents for accuracy and quality, hold a staff meeting and ensure a lawyer has all necessary paperwork to take to court.
The manager is responsible for assigning tasks and ensuring tasks are completed on time and in accordance with quality guidelines. Other job duties include greeting clients, answering incoming calls, managing e-mail correspondence and handling clerical tasks. Additional job duties of a law office manager include:
- Preparing subpoenas and other legal documents
- Handling legal research
- Preparing memos and other correspondence
- Creating client files
- Training new staff
- Scheduling attorney and client meetings
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Law Office Manager Education Requirements
To become a law office manager, one may earn an associate or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies. Other options include a bachelor's in law office administration or master's in law office management.
Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
An associate degree in paralegal studies prepares graduates for the position of law office manager. A paralegal program includes courses in legal ethics, legal office procedures and litigation. Students also learn how to conduct legal research and to use legal office computer applications. A program in paralegal studies should have approval from the American Bar Association.
Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies
A student may earn either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies. The program consists of general education courses, courses specializing in paralegal studies and possibly an internship. Courses may include:
- Litigation and law
- Property law
- Legal writing and research
- Civil practice
- Legal research on the Internet
- Trial process
- Trusts and wills
Bachelor of Professional Studies in Law Office Administration
A bachelor's degree in law office administration is designed to help students prepare for a career as a law office manager by offering courses that cover both administrative tasks and legal specific tasks. Students learn to organize and direct business within a law office using their skills in client billing, library and case management and docket control. Courses in the program may include:
- Legal marketing
- Financial planning
- Legal technology
Master of Professional Studies in Law Firm Management
Students develop their skills in leadership and business needed to oversee a law firm in this graduate program. Applicants are required to have experience in managing a law firm. Students learn about the practices, principles and theories of managing a law firm. They also investigate how to apply skills in strategic management to develop plans and recommendations.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general and operations managers, including law office managers, earned a median annual salary of $97,730. In addition, the BLS projected a 7% increase for general and operations managers.
Prospective law office managers can hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies or law office administration. In some cases, a master's degree in law office management may be beneficial. These managers need a firm grasp of the legal system and legal terminology, as well as strong organizational and leadership skills.