Legal Careers Not Just for Lawyers

Thursday, May 21, 2009

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Legal careers aren't just limited to lawyers. Modern law offices rely on Legal Administrative Assistants (LAAs) to provide support for lawyers and to ensure the office functions efficiently... Legal careers aren't just limited to lawyers. Modern law offices rely on Legal Administrative Assistants (LAAs) to provide support for lawyers and to ensure the office functions efficiently. LAAs are crucial members of a law office team. Most lawyers consider them to be "the glue that keeps a firm together." They keep cases on track by dealing with the miniscule details that have to be accurately addressed to ensure things don't come to a costly grinding halt.

LAAs work under the direction of a lawyer practicing litigation, real estate conveyance, wills and estates planning or various fields of law. And while large parts of their jobs deal with the production of documents, legal assistants must understand the details, theories and principles necessary to complete them accurately. In order to succeed in the field, it's important that LAAs undertake a certain amount of training to qualify for the work. They must have basic knowledge of the Canadian legal system and court structure. They also need to understand legal rights and procedures as well as legal office procedures. Broad knowledge of the various types of law practices - family commercial, corporate and criminal law - is essential as well.

There are many employment opportunities for LAAs in Alberta and corporate law firms have earned reputations as great employers. They provide comfortable - and in some cases posh - work environments. They also provide stimulating, client-oriented work and offer salaries, benefits and other perks that few other employers can match.

But legal assistants aren't exclusively employed by law firms. Challenging positions exist in the legal departments of large corporations and real estate companies. LAAs also work in the court system as well as government land title offices.

According to Alberta Learning Information Service Occupation Profiles, the legal administrative assistant field will grow by 1.5 to 2.5 per cent annually for the next five years. And while turnover in this field is quite low, additional growth is expected as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next five to ten years.

Reeves College is now taking applications for the Legal Administrative Assistant and Paralegal programs.


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