How do I Become a Legal Coordinator?

Mary McMahon

The position of legal coordinator has varying job requirements, depending on the role a legal coordinator plays. Someone who wants to become a legal coordinator should think about the type of legal coordinator he or she wishes to become, as there are a number of paths to pursue. At a minimum, it's necessary to gain experience in the legal field, and administrative skills are also strongly recommended, as legal coordinators usually need to be comfortable in administrative environments.

In Europe, clients communicate directly with the legal coordinator.
In Europe, clients communicate directly with the legal coordinator.

Some companies use the job title “legal coordinator” to refer to a fully qualified lawyer who coordinates work with multiple attorneys, organizations, and individuals. To become a legal coordinator in this capacity, it will be necessary to go to law school and qualify to practice law. This type of position is common in nonprofit organizations who want a coordinator to facilitate meetings with groups with similar interests and to direct joint projects. People who are interested in nonprofit legal work may find this type of legal coordinator position very rewarding.

Other companies refer to administrative assistants as legal coordinators. In this sense, in order to get the job, it will be necessary to have several years of office experience, ideally in legal settings, and it helps to have experience in management. This type of legal coordinator assists lawyers in the office with preparation of documents, coordinates appointment scheduling, and provides other forms of administrative support. For this type of legal coordinator position, taking classes in administration at a college or trade school can help, or candidates can get experience on the job and use it to seek out legal coordinator positions.

To become a legal coordinator who provides administrative support to lawyers, it also helps to have research skills. Lawyers in busy firms often rely on the expertise of their support staff to do the ground work, which means that the legal coordinator needs to be familiar with the law, comfortable with researching in legal databases, and skilled at presenting data. Field research may also be requested on occasion.

Someone can also become a legal coordinator with the goal of managing the services offered by a legal clinics. Legal clinics classically offer assistance to people who have difficulty affording legal advice or representation, such as tenants involved in disputes with their landlords. This type of legal coordinator manages the office, scheduling appointments, allocating staff time, answering questions from the public, and so forth. It helps to have legal experience in this case, but the legal coordinator usually does not assist lawyers directly, and office management skills are far more important for someone who wants to become a legal coordinator in a legal clinic.

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