Online Classes to Be a Legal Executive Assistant

Get info about online programs that can lead to a career as a legal executive assistant. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career options.

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Essential Information

Legal assistants and paralegals work closely with licensed attorneys and interact with lawyers, clients and judges. Online classes for paralegals are typically offered as part of certificate and associate's degree programs in paralegal studies, legal assisting or legal support and services. Practicing or retired attorneys often provide most of the classroom instruction in online legal executive assistant classes. While some programs are offered entirely online, others are offered in hybrid formats and require students to participate in occasional in-house seminars or group field trips to local law libraries or criminal courts.

Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Certificate programs are an excellent option for aspiring professionals to quickly and efficiently gain knowledge and experience. Curricula are typically divided into two sections: core courses and electives. Students learn how to research and analyze legal documents, deal with clients, and prepare complaints.

Information and Requirements

Some schools offer students the choice between fully online and hybrid programs. Both options are nearly identical; students who choose to learn fully online will not miss out on any learning opportunities that are exclusive to hybrid programs, and vice versa. For admission, a high school diploma or its equivalent is the chief requirement.

Common Courses

Prospective certificate candidates can expect to receive training in a wide-range of legal subjects including:

  • Family law
  • Criminal law
  • Real estate
  • Litigation
  • Probate
  • Writing and automated research

Associate's Degree in Legal Support and Services

For students seeking a more in-depth approach to their studies, associate's degree programs can be an appealing choice. These programs feature general education courses, major courses relate directly to legal studies, and electives allow students to pursue their own interests.

Information and Requirements

An additional benefit to these programs is their duration: despite more intensive study, programs can be completed in as little as 12 months, which helps students keep tuition costs down while quickly readying them for a career in legal affairs.

Common Courses

An associate's degree in legal support and services may include the following courses:

  • Legal ethics
  • Criminal law
  • American jurisprudence
  • Torts

How Online Learning Works

A computer and a high-speed Internet connection are generally all that is needed to begin taking legal assisting classes online. These online classes utilize the latest in distance learning technology, including electronic blackboards, instant messaging and web conferencing software.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants were expected to increase 8% from 2014-2024. This average increase in job opportunities will be due to the growing need for paralegals and legal assistants, particularly in areas such as health care, finance and insurance. The median annual salary for paralegals and legal assistants was $48,810 as of May 2015.

Aspiring legal executive assistants can get relevant training through online certificate or associate's degree programs. While certificate programs are brief and only include the training assistants need to support lawyers, associate's degree programs provide a general education foundation in addition to an introduction to the field of law.

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