There are four steps required to become a legal analyst: post-secondary training, related work experience, communication skills, and completing the job interview process. A legal analyst reviews cases, trends, decisions, and legal precedents. Their primary roles are to produce a legal opinion and advise lawyers on the different strategies available to them, and produce reports on legal trends.
A legal analyst must have a combination of excellent research skills, legal training, relevant work experience, and excellent communication skills. The role of legal analyst is most appealing to people who have a deep interest in the law and the overall impact on society. This type of analyst has limited interaction with people and often works independently within a law firm or think tank.
The first requirement to become a legal analyst is to complete a post-secondary education program. All analysts must have formal training in the law. This requires the successful completion of both a bachelor's degree and all the courses required for a law degree. Many people who have completed their legal training, but decide not to to become lawyers work as legal analysts.
Related work experience includes research assistant, complex policy analysis, and legal case reviews. As part of a law degree, there are a wide range of research papers, projects, and assignments that develop research and writing skills. This type of training can be further enhanced with speed reading courses or advanced research techniques.
Communication skills are critical when you become a legal analyst. The level of written communication is much higher in this field. As such, many people work with editors, writing coaches, and other professionals to enhance their writing skills. Just as business writing is a specific skill, so is legal writing.
When applying for a job as a legal analyst, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Almost all law firms will require a criminal records check as part of the application process. Keep this in mind when applying to become a legal analyst.
During the job interview process, most employers have a standard list of questions and are looking for complete, concise responses. Keep in mind that everything you say will be written down and reviewed. Avoid exaggerating your achievements and make sure to answer the question that is asked.
The role of a legal analyst is typically considered a support role, with little opportunity for presentation in front of a large audience or in court. However, the work they create is relied upon quite heavily by lawyers and other legal resources. On occasion, legal analysts can be seen on television or in the popular media, giving opinions and context to important legal issues.