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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Legal Administrative Assistant

Majors Overview December 11, 2013

Get information about the legal administrative assistant career and its education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

A.A. Programs in Legal Administrative Assistant

Students enrolled in an Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree Programs for Legal Administrative Assistant are trained in fundamental areas of legal office management and administration, including organization, transcription, terminology and filing. While this program is devised to suit those who seek jobs in law firms, the skills, and knowledge learned by students are applicable in virtually every professional office environment. Students learn general skills such as problem-solving, computer formatting and verbal and written communication.

Students are taught specific legal administration skills including organization of law libraries, filing and coding of important legal documents and processing of appeals and motions. Students may have to become familiar with basic technological tools such as e-mail, scanners, copiers, fax machines, electronic calculators and word-processing and spreadsheet software. Students augment classroom instruction with lessons related to professional development through participation in internships.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Additionally, they are also expected to be proficient in key-boarding, writing, reading and basic math. Those who lack proficiency in these areas may have to undergo developmental courses before they are allowed to begin core coursework of the associate’s degree Program.

Coursework

Coursework in a legal assistant associate’s degree program spans a broad array of topic areas central to business as well as office administration. Students are provided with theoretical as well as practical training in topic areas such as:

•MS Excel
•Business math
•Legal procedures
•MS Word
•Business communications
•Data management

Job and Wage Outlook

A better-than-average job growth rate of 18% has been predicted for legal administrative assistants, also referred to as legal secretaries, during the decade from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).

Secretaries and administrative assistants are expected to enjoy a job growth rate of 11%. In 2010, there were more than 228,000 individuals working as legal secretaries in the U.S., and they earned an average annual wage of $41,500 for that year.

Continuing Education Choices

Employers for a majority of legal administration positions don’t insist on certification, however, by volunteering for certification, candidates are likely to boost their career opportunities. Legal administrative professionals can volunteer for a wide range of credentials are offered by various professional associations, including the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). Passage of an exam and gaining specific number of years of experience is usually required to obtain certification, though the norms can vary according to specific certification being sought. There are basic training courses devised to help interested candidates prepare for certification exams.

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