Since secretaries are sometimes referred to as administrative assistants, some people make the mistake of thinking that paralegals are legal secretaries. In fact, “legal assistant” is another term for “paralegal” according to the American Bar Association, national professional paralegal associations, and even the laws of some states. 1. Noun Phrase Check with the American Association for Paralegal Education or a local college to find an accredited legal assistant program. In its guidelines on the use of paralegal services, the American Bar Association (ABA) notes that the words “paralegal” and “legal assistant” are often used interchangeably. The ABA offers the following definition: You don`t hear the term secretary very often these days, unless you`re talking about a government official like the secretary of state. Instead, we moved to the term “administrative assistant.” Because “legal administrative assistant” is a full mouth, some employees who were once known as legal secretaries are now called legal assistants. However, this is not an accurate representation of their tasks. (According to NALS, “legal secretary” isn`t even an accurate description of the changing role of a legal administrative assistant; the organization suggests the new term “customer service coordinator.”) After meeting the necessary requirements, you can take the certification exam to become a certified legal secretary. NALS, the Lawyers` Association, is an organization that generally certifies both paralegals and legal secretaries. If you`re interested in the law but don`t want to become a lawyer, you may be considering other options. But how do you know if you should pursue a career as a legal secretary or legal assistant? What is the difference between the two? You don`t need a degree to become a legal secretary, but most employers are looking for a candidate with at least a legal secretarial certificate. Wondering about the difference between a legal assistant and a legal secretary? The two are often used interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.
Being a legal assistant requires knowledge of the law and legal procedures. An associate degree in paralegal studies is usually the minimum requirement for this position. Many paralegals specialize in their field and earn national certification to enhance their expertise and employability. The terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant” have been used interchangeably and for good reason over the years. These lawyers perform similar tasks within a law firm, and they are often mentioned in the same context in court legal decisions. Legal secretaries focus more on the clerical aspect of the law. You manage schedules, appointments, travel arrangements, databases and files. A legal secretary may also conduct case research under the direct supervision of a lawyer or paralegal. This work requires education and training. In some states, education and training standards are formalized with certification requirements that must be met before a person is considered qualified to perform essential legal work as a legal assistant or paralegal. Paralegals can promote their progress by choosing to specialize in their field, earn national certifications, and pursue graduate studies. They help prepare for the study and can usually support clients by answering many of their questions.
However, they cannot provide legal advice or lead clients to one action plan or another. You also cannot sign pleadings or other documents that must be reviewed and signed by the lawyer. The term “paralegal” generally refers to a person who is qualified by education, training or professional experience to perform substantial legal work under the direction and supervision of a lawyer. The same is often true for paralegals, but the National Association of Paralegals distinguished between the two roles in 2004. This is not necessarily required by a legal secretary, although knowledge of the field of law is beneficial for specialized tasks. Professional certification is not required to become a legal assistant, but it is usually sought after by employers. The old school of thought was that paralegals and paralegals were different jobs. Paralegals did not want to be called legal assistants because they usually met additional training requirements to become paralegals. Well, while the National Association of Paralegals and the ABA agree that the terms are interchangeable, you might still encounter reluctance if you treat them accordingly. According to the American Bar Association, the paralegal and the legal assistant can be used interchangeably. The current definition says: Jobs for legal secretaries have begun to decline as many administrative tasks are now automated. To keep up, it may be beneficial to enroll in a Legal Administrative Assistant certificate program that includes training in Office software and computer programs.
The median salary for legal secretaries and administrative assistants is $48,980 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Paralegals and paralegals perform many of the tasks that a lawyer would have to do personally if he or she did not hire such a professional. They conduct legal research and draft pleadings, contracts, leases, and other court and legal documents. If you`ve already considered a career in law but don`t want to be a lawyer, you might be interested in the position of legal assistant or legal secretary. Sally A. Kane, JD. is a lawyer, publisher and author who has over two decades of experience in the legal services industry and has published hundreds of articles related to his career.