Those interested in a career as a legal office manager or legal secretary may want to look into an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in legal administration. These programs can usually be completed in two years and feature about 60 credit hours of study.
A.A. Programs in Legal Administration
Students enrolled in an associate degree in legal administration are prepared for entry-level clerical occupations in legal offices. Students usually get employed as administrative assistants; as they gain work experience they can seek to become office supervisors or executive assistants.
Students enrolled in legal administration programs are often taught about legal procedures, documents and terminology. The importance of attention to detail, organization, professionalism and discretion are stressed in the program whose admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.
Coursework focuses on various subjects necessary for the performance of legal administrative responsibilities, such as accounting, database management and keyboarding. Students may also gain professional training by engaging in co-op work. Coursework commonly includes topic areas such as:
•Office software applications
•Business law and ethics
•Legal research and writing
•Legal document formatting
Job and Wage Outlook
A job growth of 18% is predicted for legal secretaries during the period from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)), with the best opportunities likely to be enjoyed by individuals who are extremely knowledgeable about computer software. In May 2010, legal secretaries took home an average annual wage of $43,270.
Legal secretaries can volunteer for certification that would help them showcase their skills and knowledge in the field to prospective job givers. Certifications are offered for legal secretaries by various organizations, such as the National Association for Legal Secretaries and the Legal Secretaries International. To obtain professional designations, legal secretaries have to meet minimum standards in terms of work experience and training undergone.