What Does A Legal Extern Do?

A Legal Extern is a student who increases their knowledge of substantive areas of law. They perform legal research and writing, and work closely with attorneys, prosecutors, and other people.

Between the years 2018 and 2028, Legal Extern jobs are expected to undergo a as fast as average growth rate of 0.06%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's even crazier is that the number of Legal Extern opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 50,100.

Legal Externs typically earn $87,817 annually, which breaks down to $42.22 an hour. However, Legal Externs can earn anywhere from upwards of $36,000 to $210,000 a year. This means that the top-earning Legal Externs make $174,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

Maybe you're a current Legal Extern looking for a new opportunity, or maybe you're entertaining the notion of becoming a Legal Extern and want to see how it compares to similar jobs. We've compiled extensive information on becoming a Housing Counselor, Attorney At Law, District Attorney, and Attorney just so you can compare. But more on how these roles compare to a Legal Extern later.

Legal Extern Traits
Analytical skills
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Speaking skills
Speaking skills is important to being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.
Writing skills
Writing skills is important when it comes to clearing expressing yourself in any written document.

Legal Extern Job Description

Here are the duties and responsibilities that a Legal Extern is likely to perform in their role.

  • Manage all aspects of creating corporations and LLC's and relate documents.
  • Demonstrate research skills, including meticulous attention to detail, patience, and drive to achieve successful research results.
  • Train attorneys and librarians to use the Lexis-Nexis legal research system.
  • Appoint attorney ad litem for guardianship, heirship, and tax suits.
  • Proofread all materials for correct form of legal citations, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Proofread and edit attorney work product (grammar, usage, and content . )
  • Interview clients seeking permanent resident status and confer with opposing counsel in removal defenses.
  • Counsele individuals seeking benefits and communicate with government agencies to ensure efficient processing of benefit claims.
  • Hire by criminal defense and plaintiff's personal injury attorneys on a case basis.
  • Perform manual legal research, and computer assist legal research using Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw databases

Legal Extern Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 19% of Legal Externs are proficient in Legal Documents, Pre-Trial Motions, and Court Hearings. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Speaking skills, and Writing skills.

We break down the percentage of Legal Externs that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Legal Documents, 19%

    Filed and reviewed legal documents concerning contracts conflicts and investigated and interviewed relevant parties of commercial litigation matters.

  • Pre-Trial Motions, 11%

    Researched Chilean criminal law and drafted pre-trial motions and settlement negotiation documents in Spanish.

  • Court Hearings, 9%

    Conducted mass volume master calendar proceedings and individual court hearings involving family petitions and adjustment of status hearings.

  • Counsel, 7%

    Assisted the General Counsel by preparing legal memorandums on the potential implications of upcoming legislation for GHA's membership organizations.

  • Family Law, 6%

    Prepared marital settlement agreements while working simultaneously with two customers under the supervision of the Family Law Facilitator staff.

  • Real Estate, 3%

    Researched legal issues for a real estate development company ranging from foreign investment to contractual breach and statutory interpretation.

Additionally, Legal Externs have more skills than just Legal Documents, Pre-Trial Motions, and Court Hearings. Read about their personality traits here:

  • Analytical skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a Legal Extern to have. Lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues a Legal Extern is able to use Analytical skills in the following example: Prepared files for court, assisted attorney during court hearings, and maintained legal files and databases for all clients.
  • Yet, another important trait for a is Speaking skills. Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries, because they are speaking on behalf of their clients. Here's an example of how Legal Externs are able to utilize Speaking skills: "Represented indigent juvenile offenders in juvenile court hearings"
  • Writing skills is also an important skill for Legal Externs to have. Lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "Provided legal research, writing and analysis, drafted documents, attended court hearings involving litigation and criminal law."
  • It's essential that a Legal Extern have Interpersonal skills. Lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case. Interpersonal skills is extremely important for Legal Externs to have. As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "Assist counsel and paralegals Legal research Attend court hearings and out of court legal proceedings File maintenance Interpersonal communication skills with clients"
  • Here's a big one: a Legal Extern must demonstrate Research skills. Lawyers need to be able to find those laws and regulations which apply to a specific matter, in order to provide the appropriate legal advice for their clients. An example of this is shown by a Legal Extern who stated that they "Executed intensive research of case histories in New York Criminal Procedure law in order to prepare Supervising Attorney for court hearings."
  • Lastly, this career requires you to be skillful in Problem-solving skills. Lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the relevant applicable information. This example explains why: "Identified and resolved problems of delays in client intake and referral process."
  • In order to accomplish your goal of becoming a Legal Extern, we've found that over half, 18.1% to be exact, of Legal Externs have a bachelor's degree. The good news is that it doesn't seem like more schooling than that is necessary with only 9.7% having master's degrees. While it's true that most Legal Externs have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every nine Legal Externs did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those Legal Externs who do attend college, typically earn either a Law degree or a Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies degree. Less commonly earned degrees for Legal Externs include a Political Science degree or a Criminal Justice degree.

    Now that you have your degree, you're ready to become a Legal Extern. So where do you start applying? According to our research, Legal Externs are mostly hired by Touro College, American Civil Liberties Union, and Federal Home Loan Mortgage. Now is a good time to apply as Touro College has 3 Legal Externs job openings, and there are 2 at American Civil Liberties Union and 2 at Federal Home Loan Mortgage.

    Since salary is super important to some, it's good to note that Legal Externs are figured to earn the highest salaries at ArcBest, Purple Communications, and Jones Day Limited Partnership. If you were to take a closer look at ArcBest, you'd find that the average Legal Extern salary is $222,473. Then, onto Purple Communications, Legal Externs receive an average salary of $203,661, while the salary at Jones Day Limited Partnership is $192,473. Now, we need to figure out how difficult it will be to earn a spot with these companies. Currently, ArcBest has 1 jobs listed for Legal Externs. Additionally, Purple Communications and Jones Day Limited Partnership only have 0 and 0 job openings.

    The most distinguished Legal Externs are known to work for LAW OFFICES OF WINN SIMS, The Legal Aid Society, and Private Practice. In order to figure this out, we assessed which schools Legal Externs earned their degrees, and then looked into the companies that hired Legal Externs from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious graphic designers are:

      How a Legal Extern Compares to a Housing Counselor

      A Housing Counselor works directly with clients and organizations to support moderate and low-income clients in overcoming barriers to housing and financial stability. They represent the homeowner in interventions and/or mediation proceedings with the mortgage servicer, lender, and/or other stakeholders.

      First up to compare is the job of a Housing Counselor. Let's start with salary. Generally speaking, Housing Counselors receive $14,629 higher pay than Legal Externs per year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between Legal Externs and Housing Counselors are their skills. In both careers, employees bring forth skills such as Legal Documents, Counsel, and Real Estate.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a Legal Extern also must be experienced in skills such as Pre-Trial Motions, Court Hearings, Family Law, and Domestic Violence. Whereas a Housing Counselor is skilled in Literacy, Rental Assistance, Foreclosure, and HUD. So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Onto a more studious topic, it's no surprise that Housing Counselors tend to reach higher levels of education than Legal Externs. The actual difference in levels of education may actually surprise you. Housing Counselors are 7.9% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 26.7% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Legal Extern Compares to an Attorney At Law

      An Attorney at Law is responsible for preparing and examining contracts involving leases, licenses, purchases, sales, etc. They advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, or legal rights and obligations.

      Now we'll compare Attorneys At Law, which averages a higher salary of $8,086 higher than Legal Externs a year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's the skills they need. Both Legal Externs and Attorneys At Law are known to have skills such as Legal Documents, Pre-Trial Motions, and Court Hearings.

      While some skills are similar, others aren't. For example, a Legal Extern requires skills like Legal Intern, Client Meetings, Client Files, and Legal Memorandum. But your average Attorney At Law will need skills, such as, Trial Preparation, Bankruptcy, Small Business, and Business Law. This is where the differences really kick in.

      So you need to know how much education you're going to need. As it turns out Attorneys At Law study at similar levels of education than Legal Externs. They're 1.9% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 26.7% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Legal Extern Compares to a District Attorney

      Coming in at the third comparison is District Attorneys. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower dough than Legal Externs with a lower pay of $16,664 per year.

      Both Legal Externs and District Attorneys utilize similar skills, such as Legal Documents, Pre-Trial Motions, and Court Hearings, but beyond that the careers look very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For starters, Legal Externs are more likely to have skills like Real Estate, Intellectual Property, Personal Injury Cases, and New Clients. But a District Attorney will probably be skilled in Criminal Investigations, Misdemeanor Cases, Crime Victims, and Law Enforcement. This shows just how different these careers can be.

      When it comes down to education, District Attorneys tend to reach similar levels than Legal Externs. Especially since they're 1.3% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 13.9% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Legal Extern Compares to an Attorney

      Attorneys, also called lawyers, provide legal advice to clients in both criminal and civil cases. They research cases through interviewing witnesses, reviewing evidence, and speaking with their clients to determine the proper strategies for defense.

      Next up off the bench for comparison are Attorneys. In this career, workers tend to earn a higher pay than Legal Externs by about $31,235 per year.

      Both professions of Legal Externs and Attorneys use skills such as Legal Documents, Pre-Trial Motions, and Court Hearings within their day-to-day roles.

      Counsel, Legal Intern, Client Meetings, and Legal Memorandum are typically used by Legal Extern, whereas the average Attorney uses skills like Trial Preparation, Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, and Premises Liability to get through the day. Now you can really understand how different these two professions are.

      When it comes to education, these two careers couldn't be more different. For example, Attorneys typically reach similar levels of education than Legal Externs. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 0.3% more. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by a whopping 4.2%.