A legal administrative assistant is responsible for various secretarial duties in a legal office, but his or her precise job description depends on the firm. Commonly, people holding this type of job are expected to perform filing, run errands, and take messages, but they may also be expected to do more if they have enough experience with the law to do so. In some firms, an administrative assistant might be expected to do research for a case, but this requires more knowledge of the law than what is required for a general secretary. The skills can be learned on the job, but many assistants get specialized training beforehand in order to become more qualified for the job.
In most cases, a legal administrative assistant will be responsible for basic office tasks, like filing and keeping track of paperwork. Law offices often have a significant amount of paperwork relating to cases that needs to be stored and managed properly in order to effectively serve clients. Keeping track of appointments is often left to assistants as well, although there may be other secretaries who perform this more basic work.
Transcription and preparation of legal files is commonly part of this job. These tasks require expertise in typing but also knowledge of legal terminology. Many people find that courses specific to legal transcription are very helpful when looking for jobs in this field.
Performing research for lawyers requires a certain degree of knowledge of the law, but a person who is properly qualified can be asked to perform this type of task. What precisely the lawyer or law firm needs done will be explained on the job. In most cases, being able to follow directions and being intelligent enough to make sense of the law is enough to be able to perform basic research tasks.
Most of the time, the job is as simple as following directions. Whether a person is asked to type up a letter or run to deliver documents, the task will completed successfully if the person uses common sense and follows all relevant directions. The reason many people find that a specialized degree is important for work as a legal administrative assistant is because the difficulty of the task and is much more related to the difficulty in obtaining the job. While additional qualifications are helpful, they are not always necessary to perform the duties.