Litigation legal assistants perform administrative tasks such as drafting and filing legal documents, scheduling meetings, communicating with clients, and performing research. Litigation legal assistants usually work in fast-paced law offices, but they may also work in government agencies or corporate legal departments. Litigation legal assistants typically work full time, and they are expected to work overtime as necessary to meet the needs of busy law offices.
Interacting with a variety of people, from clients and attorneys to city officials and opposing counsel, litigation legal assistants have strong communication skills that allow them to work effectively with others. Those well-suited to this profession are sharp, personable, and extremely organized.
Litigation Legal Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
No two litigation legal assistants are exactly alike, as specific skills vary from employer to employer. However, after analyzing online job postings, we identified several core duties common to the job:
Litigation legal assistants draft, prepare, and process a variety of court and legal documents, including expert witness designations, voir dire instructions, motions for preference, and complaints.
Managing the calendar involves tasks such as scheduling appointments, making travel and meeting arrangements, and rescheduling meetings and events as necessary.
Receive Phone Calls
Litigation legal assistants receive many phone calls, during which they handle clients, forward calls, and answer questions.
Litigation legal assistants perform legal research, investigate facts, and examine information about the cases they are working on.
Assist with Invoicing
Working with bookkeepers, litigation legal assistants assist with billing and invoicing. They ensure that all invoices are paid.
Litigation Legal Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Performing a variety of administrative tasks, litigation legal assistants pay careful attention to details and work proactively. They know the ins and outs of litigation and law. In addition to one to five years of previous experience, employers typically look for candidates with the following skills and qualifications:
- Filing experience – with strong organizational skills, litigation legal assistants file documents, organize folders, label documents, and manage binders for trial and business development purposes
- Typing skills – drafting letters and documents requires litigation legal assistants have quick typing skills. Employers typically desire candidates who can type at a speed of over 50 WPM
- Transcription – litigation legal assistants use precision and accuracy to transcribe legal documents and dictations
- Communication skills – litigation legal assistants have strong communication skills, both written and verbal. They communicate frequently with attorneys, courts, and process servers, and they correspond with clients to answer questions and offer updates regarding their cases
- Confidentiality – working with sensitive material, litigation legal assistants maintain confidentiality guidelines and do not disclose information about clients or cases
Litigation Legal Assistant Education and Training
Most employers prefer litigation legal assistants to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and one to five years of relevant experience working with attorneys in a legal setting. Litigation legal assistants have a firm understanding of litigation, law, and court practices. On-the-job training may be provided to introduce litigation legal assistants to their employer’s practice.
Litigation Legal Assistant Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, litigation legal assistants make an average of $49,000 each year. The lowest-earning 10 percent make less than $31,000; the highest-earning 10 percent make more than $80,000. Litigation legal assistants who work full time receive benefits such as sick and vacation days, health insurance, retirement plan options, and bonuses based on individual or company performance.
Growth for this job is expected to rise 15 percent in the next 10 years, which is faster than the average for all professions. As law firms aim to increase efficiency in their offices, there is a stronger demand for legal assistants.
Are you interested in learning more about being a litigation legal assistant? Here are some helpful resources to get you started:
Litigation Support Professional Networking – with over 20,000 members, this LinkedIn group provides a platform for legal support staff to connect with one another and answer questions. The aim of the group is to help legal professionals network and advance their knowledge of the legal field
Fundamentals of Litigation for Paralegals – written by Marlene Maerowitz and Thomas Mauet, this book explains the litigation process from the moment a client walks through the door to the judgment and resolution of a case. The book features internet research questions, techniques for using computer litigation support systems, and cases with follow-up discussions
NALA Manual for Paralegals and Legal Assistants – this guide, published by the National Association of Legal Assistants, covers the skills that paralegals need to succeed on the job. It includes solutions to real assignments and offers techniques and procedures to tackle problems at work
The Paralegal Mentor – full of helpful tips, this blog offers strategies for paralegals to achieve goals and find direction in their careers. To help legal professionals advance in their field, the blog offers insight and resources on topics such as continuing education, ethics issues, and organization
Legal Break-In – written by L. R. Williams, who has over 25 years of experience, this book helps readers land a job as a paralegal. The book highlights the different skills necessary to work as a paralegal and the various areas of law that paralegals should be familiar with. It also includes information on networking and answering interview questions