Being a legal assistant can be a very satisfying way for any person to make his or her way into the field of law. As a legal assistant, you can learn the ins and outs of being a lawyer through first-hand experience. You can also learn how to work with legal documents, meet with clients and work in specific fields of law. As a legal assistant, you may also find that your law firm ultimately wants to cover the tuition so that you can attend law school and become a lawyer. Being a legal assistant for a few years is a wise way to gain an edge for employment at a law firm in the future. Here are some steps that you can take if you want to become a legal assistant.
Have a Passion for the Law
Having a passion for the law is a must if you decide to pursue the route of a legal assistant. As a legal assistant, you will have to work with thousands of different documents that lawyers hand you in a rush. It will be your job to research different laws and draft memos for the lawyers in your firm. If you do not have a love for the law, then this task can get very boring very quickly. Many people lose their drive and ambition when they work for a law firm for just a few weeks. Make sure that you are prepared to handle the challenge of working in a law firm.
Know How to Play Secretary
You may have to do various secretarial duties as a legal assistant. A lawyer may expect you to answer phones and file various documents. It will be up to you to learn how to do these tasks. You likely will not be trained by anyone if you are working in a small legal office. You will be expected to handle everything entirely on your own. You should also learn how to work with high-powered people. There will likely be many other lawyers visiting your firm, and you will have to know how to engage them in conversation and make them feel at ease.
Obtain a Certification
There are various certifications that you can obtain if you want to become a legal secretary or a paralegal. Having a certification can set you apart from the others in your legal office. It can also put you on the track to become a secretary or a paralegal in a much faster time period than your colleagues.
Try Out a Temporary Position
If you are not sure that you want to be a legal assistant for a long period of time, then you can work with a job placement agency. A job placement agency will put you in a temporary position with a law firm. You will be able to try out the law firm and decide whether you like the environment. It also gives an employer the opportunity to decide whether he or she wants to hire you in the future.
Pick a Specialty
If you want to prepare yourself for going to law school and becoming an attorney, then try to become a legal assistant in a specific field of law. Being a legal assistant in a specific field of law, such as bankruptcy, can give you the knowledge that you need to be an effective bankruptcy attorney in the future.
By choosing to be a legal assistant, you are making a wise investment in your career. You are making a wise choice that may open doors you could have never imagined in the legal profession.