Legal administrative assistants perform clerical tasks in law offices. Although no formal education is required, aspiring assistants can improve their job prospects by completing an undergraduate-level program.
Schools with Legal Administrative Assistant Programs
The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer legal administrative assistant programs.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Austin Community College District||Austin, TX||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$2,550 in-district, $9,210 in-state, $11,340 out-of-state|
|Linn-Benton Community College||Albany, OR||2-year, Public||Associate's||$4,265 in-state, $9,313 out-of-state|
|Lewis-Clark State College||Lewiston, ID||4-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$7,224 in-state, $18,224 out-of-state|
|Anoka Technical College||Anoka, MN||2-year, Public||Diploma||$5,584|
|Alexandria Technical and Community College||Alexandria, MN||2-year, Public||Diploma, Associate's||$5,402|
|Cuyahoga Community College||Cleveland, OH||2-year, Public||Certificate||$3,136 in-district, $3,953 in-state, $7,648 out-of-state|
|Kirkwood Community College||Cedar Rapids, IA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$4,194 in-state, $5,034 out-of-state|
|William T McFatter Technical College||Davie, FL||2-year, Public||Certificate||$3,083**|
|Kalamazoo Valley Community College||Kalamazoo, MI||2-year, Public||Certificate||$3,060 in-district, $5,100 in-state, $6,810 out-of-state|
|Moraine Valley Community College||Palos Hills, IL||2-year, Public||Certificate||$3,996 in-district, $8,916 in-state, $10,326 out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School website
School Selection Criteria
Here are some things to think about when choosing between programs:
- For students who are considering programs that include an internship, it can be helpful to find out where internships are offered, such as at a large law firm or state's attorney's office, in order to ensure that they will get experience in a setting where they might want to pursue a career.
- Students should consider the curricula of a program in order to ensure it meets they academic needs; for instance, programs may or may not include general education coursework.
- Aspiring assistants who have work commitments or other scheduling constraints may want to find programs that are available in online formats.
- When considering certificate and associate's degree programs, it can be helpful to find out if the credits can be applied toward a higher degree program in the future.
Certificate and Diploma Programs
Certificate and diploma programs for legal administrative assistants provide a short series of courses that cover the basics of office administration as well as relevant legal office-specific topics. Students gain experience with common software programs, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, and they build their business communications and administrative management skills. To prepare for office work at law firms, they study legal terminology, document preparation, document handling procedures and ethical issues. At some schools, there may also be a few general education courses.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs include the same office-related and law-specific courses as certificate programs, but they also require students to fulfill general education requirements. In addition, students may be required to complete an internship at a law firm. After completing one of these two-year programs, graduates are most commonly awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Although bachelor's degree programs in this field are uncommon, it is possible to find Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) programs for legal administrative assistants. Students build on associate's degree coursework with a wider range of electives and liberal arts courses. These programs take four years to complete.
Aspiring legal administrative assistants can get the education they need by earning an undergraduate certificate or degree. These programs are most commonly available at community colleges and technical schools.