To pursue a career as a law firm administrator or legal administrator, you need a degree in business administration or legal administration. Prior work as a legal assistant or administrative assistant is one way to gain the skills and experience to advance to a role as a legal administrator. Legal Secretary certification is voluntary, but highly recommended because many employers require it. Legal secretaries or managers of law offices who have completed an approved paralegal training course or who have one year of legal experience can sit for an exam to become accredited legal secretaries (ALS).
Many colleges and universities offer graduate certificate programs in the area of legal administration. Employers in legal fields prefer to hire management candidates from law firms with relevant work experience. Although the job duties of paralegals (often referred to as paralegals) and paralegals often intersect, they are actually two very different support professionals in a law firm. Often, the candidates who receive the most serious consideration are those who have had experience as a legal secretary, paralegal, or paralegal.
A legal administrator is largely responsible for the day-to-day operations of a law firm, including personnel administration, financial administration, and facility management. These resources can give potential legal administrators the professional edge they need to advance in this field. Professional organizations, such as the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), offer valuable resources to individuals who want to enter this field, including webinars, conferences, a professional magazine, a job board, and networking opportunities. Legal administrators may be responsible for compiling, organizing, and maintaining electronic records of cases or contracts.
And while legal secretaries perform some of the traditional tasks of their predecessors, such as answering phones, filing and organizing, they now assume a much larger role in law offices, performing high-value activities such as managing client relationships and drafting legal documents. Law firm managers can also handle legal and official contracts in different institutions, such as schools, hospitals, and corporations. Legal secretaries work primarily in law offices; however, they are also valuable additions to government agencies, corporate legal departments, and public interest firms, among others. Organizations such as the Association of Legal Administrators offer professional assistance through webinars, conferences and networking meetings.
Alternatively, a bachelor's degree in fields such as business administration, marketing, finance, or human resources is also acceptable for the position of legal administrator. Legal Secretaries International confers the title of Certified Clerk Specialist (CLSS) in specialized areas such as civil lawsuits, real estate, probate and commercial law to those who have five years of law experience and pass an exam. In addition to a bachelor's degree, an additional certification can be very useful in becoming a legal administrator. Research the educational requirements, training, and experience you'll need to start a career as a legal administrator.