Legal Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Legal Assistant, or Paralegal, is someone who supports both Lawyers and Solicitors. They undergo training and education that enables them to prepare legal documents, handle evidence and prepare briefs. A Legal Assistant can also work as a Licenced Practitioner and offer legal advice to private clients.


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Legal Assistant duties and responsibilities

A Legal Assistant needs to have great attention to detail as they support Attorneys and Solicitors and help clients with legal issues. Their main duties and responsibilities include:

  • Preparing legal documents such as wills, summons, complaints, responses and witness summons
  • Readying materials for trial proceedings including documents, evidence and verifying factual information
  • Researching and compiling information that helps strengthen a case for the assigned Lawyer
  • Communicating with Lawyers and clients to keep everyone up to date
  • Supporting Attorneys during trial by preparing documents, fact checking, preparing evidence for presentation and tracking case developments
  • Assisting with accounting and billing
  • Coordinating appointments, including all correspondence and logistics necessary
  • Studying case law as it pertains to the type of law that is practised by the firm
  • Maintenance of a case log and/or file for reference and review


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What does a Legal Assistant do?

The Legal Assistant prepares legal documents for the Lawyers in the firm. The prepared paperwork should adhere to legal standards and contain the correct information as dictated by the Attorney. The Legal Assistant collects and prepares evidence along with supporting documentation for trial purposes. A Legal Assistant maintains communication between the client and Attorney and also keeps a log of the conversations. The Legal Assistant schedules calendars and is responsible for reading case law and briefs. They also keep notations for the Attorney’s review and verify the information for accuracy and validity.


Legal Assistant skills and qualifications

A successful Legal Assistant candidate will possess certain skills and qualifications that are needed for the execution of their duties. 

  • Ability to use initiative
  • Capable of using legal software
  • Accurately perform tasks as required
  • Legal research skills 
  • Flexible attitude towards daily tasks
  • Legal database certifications


Legal Assistant experience requirements

The amount of experience the ideal Legal Assistant candidate should have varies from one law office to another. A Junior Legal Assistant needs to be able to write legal documents to the required standards, handle office management software and legal industry software and manage schedules for both clients and Lawyers. A Junior Legal Assistant has less experience with studying the law, but should be capable of reading and understanding the main practise area of the law firm. 

A Senior Legal Assistant requires experience that aligns with the type of law practised by the law firm. This includes the ability to draft, review and negotiate non-disclosure agreements for use by others in the practise. A Senior Paralegal should be capable of maintaining legal templates for use by others. They should also have experience in supporting Lawyers with their daily duties and have existing knowledge of the relevant area of law. 


Legal Assistant education and training requirements

A Legal Assistant can have one or multiple diplomas and certificates that qualify them to work in the role. The organisation has the option to hire an individual with relevant skills and train them in the role through an apprenticeship or require education. The ideal education for a Legal Assistant candidate includes a Level 2 Diploma in Legal Studies, a CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice and a Level 3 Legal Secretaries Diploma. All coursework is entry-level. 

There are also advanced degrees for Legal Assistants that are more specialised and may be preferred by a firm.


Legal Assistant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Legal Assistant is £22,660 per year . The salary varies depending on geographic location, candidate experience and the law firm.


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Legal Assistant job description FAQs


What are the different types of Legal Assistants?

Legal Assistants are also classified as Paralegals or Legal Secretaries. While the roles are similar, they are not identical. A Legal Secretary is not qualified to provide legal advice, but a Paralegal and Legal Assistant are. A Legal Assistant can perform the work of the Legal Secretary if necessary and can also fulfill the duties of the Paralegal.


What should you look for in a Legal Assistant CV Resume?

At the very least, you should look for someone with secretarial experience and a willingness to learn the duties of the Legal Assistant. Look for candidates with the minimum education required to become a Legal Assistant and who is capable of performing their duties. If specialised experience is needed, look for candidates that have experience that matches the focus of the law office.


How can you make your job description stand out?

Be clear about the area of practice for the law firm and describe the duties clearly and concisely. Talk about the office culture, expectations of new hires and what the law firm can offer to a qualified candidate. Also describe a benefits package if applicable.

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