A lot of your day as a legal assistant is spent completing tasks, all with the goal of helping a lawyer. You might organize documents or compile the facts of a case, you might even help the lawyer prepare for an upcoming trial.

Whatever the lawyer needs your help with, you're there to get it done. The majority of legal assistants work for law firms or even government agencies, but you can find work as a legal assistant in many industries.

If you want to become a legal assistant, you probably should earn your associate's degree, or at least a certificate in paralegal studies. Employers may even only look for people with a bachelor's degree. Either way, you should expect some on-the-job training. After all, you want to make sure you're collecting the right facts.

What Does a Legal Assistant Do

There are certain skills that many legal assistants have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, computer skills and research skills.

Learn more about what a Legal Assistant does

How To Become a Legal Assistant

If you're interested in becoming a legal assistant, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 51.3% of legal assistants have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.4% of legal assistants have master's degrees. Even though most legal assistants have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

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Legal Assistant Job Description

Legal assistants work with lawyers to make sure the lawyer's cases are properly managed. They may draft legal documents, review items for the lawyer's signature, provide initial recommendations on key items, set up appointments, and other administrative duties.

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Legal Assistant Career Paths

Average Salary for a Legal Assistant

Legal Assistants in America make an average salary of $42,387 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $58,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $30,000 per year.
Average Legal Assistant Salary
$42,387 Yearly
$20.38 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Legal Assistant

The role of a legal assistant includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general legal assistant responsibilities:

  • Seek and locate sources of information, in aid of investigations
  • Making copies, filling faxing making collection calls organizing documents for courtprevious legal experience preferred or willingness to learn why kelly®?at kelly services®, we work with the best. Our clients include 97 of the fortune 100™ companies,
  • Manage initial review of advertising/marketing content for significant campaigns

There are several types of legal assistant, including:



A paralegal is in charge of substantive legal work. Typically, they serve lawyers who are so busy building a case that they need help sorting out all of the legal work. That's where you come in.

Paralegals take pride in their responsibilities by administering their knowledge of the law and legal procedures. It can be a great thing to have a paralegal on the case because the law will determine what direction a lawyer may swing a case.

While you definitely need a working knowledge of what the law is, you really only need to obtain an associate's degree for this line of work. Sure, you could probably spend your entire life going through and memorizing every single law out there, but laws change all the time so chances are you're going to have to look it up anyway.

  • Average Salary: $49,943
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Legal Secretary


A Legal Secretary assists lawyers and helps them to prepare and arrange legal documents. They are trained and highly knowledgeable in legal processes and the documentation of legal cases, and they have an important function in the day-to-day life of a lawyer's office.

They have a wide range of responsibilities, from answering phones, scheduling appointments, and taking messages to preparing presentations, proofreading pleas and briefs, and preparing drafts for correspondence. They manage the documentation of legal cases, as well. They work in close contact with the attorneys, clients, witnesses, and courtroom staff.

To be a successful legal secretary, you need to be organized and constantly on your toes. You need to be able to multitask and perform under pressure, coordinating the execution of various tasks simultaneously. Being assertive and energetic is a must but, as you will interact with many different kinds of people, patience and understanding are essential qualities for you as well.

  • Average Salary: $41,725
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Legal Extern


Let's rip the Band-Aid off, shall we? As a legal extern, you're probably not going to get paid. But what you take away from these opportunities may prove more useful in the longterm. What you'll take away from a legal externship will be experience and academic credit. Which really is priceless, if you ask us.

You'll have experience right off the bat within a legal setting. This definitely will give you an edge against your other colleagues. A legal extern is very similar to an internship, but is usually much shorter. So while you're getting the experience, you don't have to commit to it for as long.

Since being a legal extern won't last very long, it's a good way to see if you even want to work in the legal industry. It'll give you a glimpse into everything you will be doing, like conducting client interviews, making a court appearance, and even some legal research and writing. Just think of it as a very in-depth glimpse into "a day in the life" of a legal profession.

  • Average Salary: $47,238
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Legal Assistant Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active legal assistant jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where legal assistants earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Legal Assistant Jobs By State

Legal Assistant Education

Legal Assistant Majors

16.4 %

Legal Assistant Degrees


51.3 %


25.4 %

High School Diploma

8.3 %

Top Colleges for Legal Assistants

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Texas Wesleyan University

Fort Worth, TX • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Hamline University

Saint Paul, MN • Private

In-State Tuition




9. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Legal Assistant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.6% of legal assistants listed litigation on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and computer skills are important as well.

  • Litigation, 11.6%
  • Legal Correspondence, 10.0%
  • Discovery Responses, 6.1%
  • Legal Research, 6.0%
  • Law Firm, 5.1%
  • Other Skills, 61.2%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Legal Assistant Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Legal Assistant templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Legal Assistant resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Legal Assistant diversity

Legal Assistant Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among legal assistants, 82.6% of them are women, while 17.4% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among legal assistants is White, which makes up 59.9% of all legal assistants.

  • The most common foreign language among legal assistants is Spanish at 61.0%.

Online Courses For Legal Assistant That You May Like

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Best States For a Legal Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a legal assistant. The best states for people in this position are California, Colorado, New York, and Connecticut. Legal assistants make the most in California with an average salary of $50,391. Whereas in Colorado and New York, they would average $49,366 and $48,414, respectively. While legal assistants would only make an average of $48,243 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Legal Assistant Jobs: 173
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Colorado

Total Legal Assistant Jobs: 217
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. New York

Total Legal Assistant Jobs: 474
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Legal Assistants

How Do Legal Assistants Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Legal Assistant Employers

Most Common Employers For Legal Assistant

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
3Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg$51,034$24.54227
4Greenberg Traurig$49,432$23.7796
5Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA$46,172$22.20128
6Social Security Administration$45,809$22.02121
7Williams International$45,717$21.98113
8Cohen & Company$45,255$21.76109
9Binder & Binder$43,834$21.0790
10Law Co$43,785$21.0587

Legal Assistant Videos

Becoming a Legal Assistant FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become A Legal Assistant?

It takes between two and five years to become a legal assistant. During those two to five years, you will need to complete an associate's degree, any certifications, and rack up some work experience.

Is A Legal Assistant A Good Job?

Yes, being a legal assistant is a good job. If you are looking for a steady day job, being a legal assistant is a good choice. If you decide to become a legal assistant, you'll be signing up for a career in a fast-evolving field where your talents and worth ethic could be the key factor of your success.

Is A Legal Assistant The Same As A Paralegal?

No, a legal assistant is not the same as a paralegal, although they are very similar jobs. While a legal assistant's work is more administrative, a paralegal gathers information for trials.

Is Legal Assistant A Good Career?

Yes, working as a legal assistant can be a good career. As a legal assistant, you'll do challenging, important work that has the potential to make a difference. There are many employment options ranging from private law firms to government agencies and everything in between.

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