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Working As An Executive Legal Assistant

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $60,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Executive Legal Assistant Do

Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.

Duties

Paralegals and legal assistants typically do the following:

  • Investigate and gather the facts of a case
  • Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
  • Organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems
  • Gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation
  • Write or summarize reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
  • Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages
  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
  • Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes, or reviewing trial transcripts
  • File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
  • Call clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions

Paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. 

Paralegals use technology and computer software for managing and organizing the increasing amount of documents and data collected during a case. Many paralegals use computer software to catalog documents, and to review documents for specific keywords or subjects. Because of these responsibilities, paralegals must be familiar with electronic database management and be current on the latest software used for electronic discovery. Electronic discovery refers to all electronic materials obtained by the parties during the litigation or investigation. These materials may be emails, data, documents, accounting databases, and websites.

Paralegals’ specific duties often vary depending on the area of law in which they work.

Corporate paralegals, for example, often help lawyers prepare employee contracts, shareholder agreements, stock-option plans, and companies’ annual financial reports. Corporate paralegals may monitor and review government regulations to ensure that the corporation is aware of new legal requirements.

Litigation paralegals maintain documents received from clients, conduct research for lawyers, retrieve and organize evidence for use at depositions and trials, and draft settlement agreements. Some litigation paralegals may also help coordinate the logistics of attending a trial, including reserving office space, transporting exhibits and documents to the courtroom, and setting up computers and other equipment.

Paralegals may also specialize in other legal areas, such as personal injury, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate.

Specific job duties may also vary by the size of the law firm.

In small firms, paralegals’ duties tend to vary more. In addition to reviewing and organizing documents, paralegals may prepare written reports that help lawyers determine how to handle their cases. If lawyers decide to file lawsuits on behalf of clients, paralegals may help draft documents to be filed with the court.

In large organizations, paralegals may work on a particular phase of a case, rather than handling a case from beginning to end. For example, paralegals may only review legal material for internal use, maintain reference files, conduct research for lawyers, or collect and organize evidence for hearings. After gaining experience, a paralegal may become responsible for more complicated tasks.

Paralegals and legal assistants often work in teams with attorneys, fellow paralegals, and other legal support staff.

Unlike the work of other administrative and legal support staff employed in a law firm, the paralegal’s work is billed to the client.

Paralegals may have frequent interactions with clients and third-party vendors. In addition, experienced paralegals may assume supervisory responsibilities, such as overseeing team projects or delegating work to other paralegals.

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How To Become An Executive Legal Assistant

Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies.

Education

There are several paths a person can take to become a paralegal. Candidates can enroll in a community college paralegal program to earn an associate’s degree. However, many employers prefer, or even require, applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Because only a small number of schools offer bachelor’s and master's degrees in paralegal studies, applicants typically have a bachelor’s degree in another subject and earn a certificate in paralegal studies.

Associate’s and bachelor's degree programs in paralegal studies usually offer paralegal training courses in legal research, legal writing, and the legal applications of computers, along with courses in other academic subjects, such as corporate law and international law. Most certificate programs provide intensive paralegal training for people who already hold college degrees.

Employers sometimes hire college graduates with no legal experience or legal education and train them on the job. In these cases, the new employee may have experience in a technical field that is useful to law firms, such tax preparation, nursing, or criminal justice.

Other Experience

In many cases, employers prefer candidates who have at least 1 year of experience in a law firm or other office setting. In addition, a technical understanding of a specific legal specialty can be helpful. For example, a personal-injury law firm may desire a paralegal with a background in nursing or health administration.

Work experience in a law firm or other office setting is particularly important for people who do not have formal paralegal training.

Many paralegal training programs offer an internship, in which students gain practical experience by working for several months in a private law firm, the office of a public defender or attorney general, a corporate legal department, a legal aid organization, or a government agency. Internship experience helps students improve their technical skills and can enhance their employment prospects.

Certifications

Although not required, some employers may prefer to hire applicants who have completed a paralegal certification program. Many national and local paralegal organizations offer voluntary paralegal certifications to students able to pass an exam. Other organizations offer voluntary paralegal certifications for paralegals who meet certain experience and education criteria. For more information about paralegal certifications, see the More Info section.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Paralegals must be able to document and present their research and related information to their supervising attorney.

Computer skills. Paralegals need to be familiar with using computers for legal research and litigation support. They also use computer programs for organizing and maintaining important documents.

Interpersonal skills. Paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships. They must make clients feel comfortable sharing personal information related to their cases.

Organizational skills. Paralegals may be responsible for many cases at one time. They must adapt quickly to changing deadlines.

Research skills. Paralegals need good research and investigative skills to conduct legal research.

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Executive Legal Assistant Career Paths

Executive Legal Assistant
Executive Assistant Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Manager Branch Manager
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Manager Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager Branch Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant To Executive Vice President Project Manager
Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant To Executive Vice President Project Manager Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant To Executive Vice President Project Manager Program Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant/Office Manager Owner Director
Chief Of Staff
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant/Office Manager Owner/Operator Property Manager
Real Estate Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant To President Manager Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant To President Consultant Account Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant To President Consultant Senior Accountant
Accountant And Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant/Office Manager Owner Operations Director
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Litigation Paralegal Corporate Paralegal
Senior Paralegal
7 Yearsyrs
Litigation Paralegal Consultant Senior Accountant
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Litigation Paralegal Contracts Administrator Administrative Manager
Human Resources Administration Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Paralegal/Office Manager Case Manager Property Manager
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Analyst Customer Service Manager
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Senior Paralegal
Legal Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Legal Assistant
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Executive Legal Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Legal Secretary 5.0 years
Legal Assistant 3.6 years
Legal Technician 3.3 years
Legal Clerk 2.3 years
Legal Receptionist 2.1 years
Legal Aide 1.7 years
Top Careers Before Executive Legal Assistant
Paralegal 7.7%
Internship 2.1%
Secretary 2.0%
Top Careers After Executive Legal Assistant
Paralegal 10.1%

Do you work as an Executive Legal Assistant?

Executive Legal Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

83.3%

Male

8.8%

Unknown

7.9%
Ethnicity

White

58.4%

Hispanic or Latino

19.1%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.2%

French

12.1%

Italian

5.3%

Portuguese

4.6%

Chinese

3.9%

German

3.5%

Korean

2.5%

Russian

2.5%

Mandarin

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Greek

1.8%

Japanese

1.1%

Dutch

0.7%

Cantonese

0.7%

Tagalog

0.7%

Czech

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%

Dakota

0.7%

Polish

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.4%
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Executive Legal Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.5%

New York University

7.9%

Kaplan University

7.7%

University of Maryland - University College

6.0%

Florida International University

4.8%

Strayer University

4.5%

Northeastern University

4.5%

DePaul University

4.3%

University of Texas at Austin

3.8%

Katharine Gibbs School

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

Montclair State University

3.8%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.8%

San Francisco State University

3.6%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.6%

Boston University

3.6%

George Mason University

3.3%

University of Washington

3.3%

Saint John's University - New York

3.1%

Miami Dade College

3.1%
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Majors

Legal Support Services

24.7%

Business

22.9%

Law

6.1%

Criminal Justice

5.5%

Political Science

4.5%

Legal Studies

4.0%

Psychology

3.8%

English

3.6%

Communication

3.3%

Human Resources Management

2.7%

Management

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%

Accounting

2.1%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

2.0%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

1.8%

Real Estate

1.7%

Health Care Administration

1.6%

Education

1.5%

Sociology

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

34.0%

Other

23.5%

Associate

15.1%

Certificate

11.6%

Masters

10.1%

Doctorate

3.7%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$60,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$34,000
Min 10%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
South Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does an Executive Legal Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Executive Legal Assistant in the United States is $60,101 per year or $29 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $34,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $104,000.

Real Executive Legal Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Legal Transaction Executive Cityr Group Management Corporation East Orange, NJ Dec 22, 2015 $202,259
Legal Transaction Executive Cityr Group Management Corporation East Orange, NJ Jan 19, 2015 $194,000
Legal Transaction Executive Cityr Group Management Corporation Orange, NY Jan 19, 2015 $194,000
Legal Transaction Executive City R Group Management East Orange, NJ Jan 01, 2015 $180,000
Executive Legal Assistant Penumbra, Inc. Alameda, CA Jul 28, 2014 $85,567
Executive Legal Assistant (Russian Law Specialty) Law Offices of Marina KAB CA Oct 28, 2016 $77,251

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Top Skills for An Executive Legal Assistant

  1. Legal Documents
  2. Counsel
  3. Real Estate
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Composed routine letters, memos and legal documents which included legal, technical and/or confidential information.
  • Provided executive-level administrative support to the General Counsel and Secretary of a publicly-traded premium denim design, manufacture and retail organization.
  • Participate in civil/criminal litigation, local government, condemnations and real estate matters.
  • Coordinate and manage domestic and international travel arrangements, prepare travel itineraries, and prepare/submit expense reports as needed.
  • Research and background searches regarding potential new clients, companies, employees, financial institutions, business development matters.

How Would You Rate Working As an Executive Legal Assistant?

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Top Executive Legal Assistant Employers

Jobs From Top Executive Legal Assistant Employers

Executive Legal Assistant Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Legal Executive by Cheryl B (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming a Legal Executive by Carole H (Full Version)

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