Working to become an administrative legal assistant is an excellent way to gain experience working with law offices. Great for current or potential law students or for those merely interested in the legal system, legal administrative jobs offer considerable amounts of training and insider information to those considering a future job in law. More training may be required to become an administrative legal assistant than for other administrative jobs, but a great resume and shining personality may be able to become an administrative legal assistant simply on talent.
Before entering the job pool to become an administrative legal assistant, it is vital to master basic administrative qualities. Phone and personal manners should be impeccable, while an ability to efficiently organize and prioritize should be nurtured. Take the time to stop by a local copy and print shop to become familiar with copy, fax, and scanning machines. Make certain that your handwriting is legible to other people, and study up on correct grammar and spelling to ensure that any correspondence looks professional.
In the modern world, anyone planning to become an administrative legal assistant must have superior computer skills. A job-seeker should be at least minimally familiar with all basic operating systems, major word processing programs, and organizational tools such as basic accounting programs. These skills can be easily mastered at home, but if the cost of software is prohibitive, consider taking a basic computer skills course at a local community college or job training center. These classes are often inexpensive and give students a chance to work with the computers and ask questions in person.
What sets legal work apart from any other office is its association with the law. While it is usually not necessary to have a comprehensive knowledge of local or state laws to become an administrative legal assistant, it will likely be helpful to have a clear understanding of what specific issues the law office handles. Some experts recommend asking detailed questions at job interviews about the legal codes and areas specific to job; a willingness to learn and demonstrated interest in law may very well help land a job.
To find listings for legal administrative jobs, check local employment ads for any openings. If travel distance is not prohibitive, consider stopping by in person to deliver a resume and other required application information; the supervisor may be more likely to ask for an interview if he or she can put a face to a name on a resume. Be friendly and pleasant to all employees during the interview process; employers often discuss their hiring plans with everyone, so now is the time to make a great impression on all potential co-workers.