Correct Spelling for Legal Assistant
Like paralegals, all certifications for paralegals are voluntary. Some organizations issue certifications for paralegals and paralegals. NALS – Association for Legal Professionals offers exams for the qualifications of Professional Legal Secretary/Certified Legal Professional (PLS/CLP) and Professional Paralegal (PP). To be eligible for the exams, PP requires five years of professional experience; PLS/CLP takes three years. PYP candidates also tend to have more education. A legal assistant or paralegal is a person who is qualified by education, training or work experience and who is employed or hired by a lawyer, law firm, business, government agency or other body and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. Read more: Four professions similar to a paralegal or paralegal The average salary of paralegals – like lawyers – varies depending on factors such as area of expertise, experience and location. For example, paralegals who work in metropolitan areas (where the cost of living is higher) and in some states generally receive higher salaries. Don`t believe me? Do a search for “Paralegal or Legal Assistant” and you can really tear a few feathers if you confuse the two. No matter how you find a freelancer, it`s also important to make sure you have a good process in place to make it easier for a legal assistant to work with your business. Efficient law firm processes are especially important if your legal assistant is working remotely. Adding paralegals to your cloud-based practice management system makes it easy to work with paralegals, whether they work in the office or remotely. A legal assistant is usually a person who works for a lawyer or who has legal capacity.
Due to the role changes, the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) states that paralegals (PDF, 2.8 MB) “divide their time equally between paralegal duties, including researching and preparing discoveries, and duties of the legal secretary, to classify, guide, and assist their attorney in legal practice.” If you are considering a legal assistant, be sure to look for a candidate who has experience in areas that are particularly valuable to your particular law firm. The goal is to find a legal assistant who can handle tasks that are unsustainable, inefficient or impossible for a lawyer to perform. The right legal advisor should help you make your practice stronger, more efficient and more profitable. The regulation of paralegals has been addressed by many state legislatures, state bar association committees, and state Supreme Court working groups. None of these companies have introduced any regulations, be it registration, licensing or certification. The demand for paralegals has grown steadily since the 1960s. It is estimated that by the year 2000, there will be one hundred thousand paralegals in the United States, most of them women. A 1995 NFPA survey found that 94% of all paralegals were women. In addition to working for law firms, paralegals are now employed by corporations, banks, government agencies and insurance companies. The demand for legal assistants is highest in large cities.
Paralegals provide technical support to lawyers and often assist with a variety of client-related tasks. They are often the secondary point of contact for clients once the lawyer is assigned to a case. Although they can perform some administrative tasks, they are more concerned with legal tasks. Some typical responsibilities of a paralegal are as follows: The salaries of paralegals vary depending on their training and experience. The BLS does not distinguish between the salaries of paralegals and paralegals in its report above, but the BLS gives a median salary of $51,740 for both occupations. More than just a name, there is a difference between a legal assistant and a paralegal. Law firms need to understand “what a legal assistant is.” By understanding the different roles (and associated responsibilities), lawyers can make a more informed decision as they build their teams to grow their law firm. Sharon Miki writes for Clio on legal technology and legal affairs. As an experienced freelance writer and professional writer, she is passionate about creating fascinating, useful and well-researched articles.
Now that you understand “what a legal assistant is, you can decide to hire a legal assistant. When hiring a legal assistant for your law firm, there are several factors to consider to ensure you make the best business decision for your firm. Start the process by asking yourself questions such as: Paralegals or paralegals help lawyers provide legal services. Although they support lawyers in highly technical areas of law, they are prohibited from practising law without a licence. Legal assistants cannot represent a client or provide legal advice. Any work performed by paralegals must be performed under the supervision of a lawyer who is subject to disciplinary proceedings for violation of the ethics of the paralegal. As a general rule, paralegals do more administrative work than paralegals, for example: scheduling meetings or organizing client files, but this can vary depending on the employer and professional responsibilities. Note that although the ALA definition states that paralegals can perform paralegal duties, this is usually only possible if they have the necessary education and training. Learn more about paralegal salaries and how experience and education influence wages.
We often think that lawyers are the most common professionals in the legal field. However, lawyers work with a team of specialized professionals, including paralegals and paralegals who hold various roles. There is some overlap of jurisdiction between paralegals and paralegals. However, paralegals take care of tasks that include actual technical details with the law, while paralegals have a wider range of responsibilities. Here are the most important skills required for each role: Another difference between paralegals and paralegals is their salary. As paralegals undergo more training to qualify for their roles, they tend to earn more. FindLaw says at least a high school diploma, or GED, is usually required to work as a legal assistant. While there are no formal educational requirements to work as a legal assistant, you may want to consider higher education with a law degree to advance in your career. Paralegal positions usually require more training and previous experience. Hiring a paralegal can be an effective solution for law firms that need help with substantive legal work. A paralegal is also more profitable than another lawyer.
If your firm is struggling with lawyers overloaded with essential legal tasks, low billable hours or dissatisfied clients, and customer service complaints, you may benefit from working with a paralegal. Your office life will be much easier if you simply ask employees what they want to be called. If someone is a paralegal or legal assistant, find out which term they prefer. If your administrative assistant doesn`t want to be called a legal secretary, consider the terms administrative assistant or customer service coordinator. Overall, paralegals and paralegals have many similarities in professional responsibilities and day-to-day tasks. However, paralegals in the legal field may need more training and experience. If paralegal work sounds interesting, check out our step-by-step guide on how to become a paralegal. Kligerman, Susan D. 1996. “Perspectives on paralegal tradition”. Website of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
Available online at (accessed November 21, 2003). Since many paralegals focus on one area of activity, companies can find a paralegal with experience working with lawyers in their specific area of law. The American Bar Association (ABA) recently revised its definition of a paralegal to separate the role from that of a legal assistant. However, legal staff without lawyers or legal assistants should not exceed the general guidelines of the ABA Model Guidelines for the Use of Paralegal Services. Under no circumstances may paralegals act as lawyers, provide legal advice to clients or present themselves as lawyers. Paralegals may earn more than paralegals due to training and hiring standards. According to the NFPA, four-year training is the hiring standard for paralegals in many markets. Salary may vary by location, education, industry and employer. BLS data highlights the median salary of paralegals and paralegals in these industries: New York NY: 54,602 $Les highest-paid cities for paralegals are: Sally A. Kane, JD. is a lawyer, publisher and author who has over two decades of experience in the legal services industry and has published hundreds of articles related to his career. You don`t hear the term secretary very often these days, unless you`re talking about a government official like the secretary of state.
Instead, we moved to the term “administrative assistant.” Because “legal administrative assistant” is a full mouth, some employees who were once known as legal secretaries are now called legal assistants.