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Working As A Litigation 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

  • $54,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Litigation 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 A Litigation 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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Litigation Legal Assistant Career Paths

Litigation Legal Assistant
Litigation Paralegal Paralegal/Office Manager Office Manager
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Litigation Paralegal Case Manager Program Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Litigation Paralegal Case Manager Director
Business Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Legal Secretary Office Manager General Manager
Managing Partner
9 Yearsyrs
Legal Secretary Office Manager Owner
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Legal Secretary Executive Assistant
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Legal Assistant Executive Assistant
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Legal Assistant Executive Assistant Owner
Owner And Founder
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Legal Assistant Executive Assistant/Office Manager President
Commissioner
5 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Owner Founder
President And Founder
5 Yearsyrs
Contractor-Paralegal Contracts Administrator
Senior Paralegal
7 Yearsyrs
Contractor-Paralegal Contract Attorney Partner
Senior Partner
9 Yearsyrs
Contractor-Paralegal Contract Attorney Attorney
Managing Member
8 Yearsyrs
Attorney Board Member
Trustee
6 Yearsyrs
Attorney Senior Counselor
Deputy Chief Counsel
6 Yearsyrs
Paralegal/Office Manager Owner/Operator Business Owner
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
Corporate Paralegal Contracts Administrator Office Manager/Administrative Assistant
Office Manager And Legal Assistant
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Legal Assistant Senior Paralegal
Legal Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Corporate Paralegal
Senior Legal Assistant
5 Yearsyrs
Corporate Paralegal Legal Analyst Contract Attorney
Legal Department Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Litigation Legal Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Paralegal 5.3 years
Legal Secretary 5.0 years
Paralegal 3.7 years
Legal Assistant 3.6 years
Legal Clerk 2.3 years
Top Careers Before Litigation Legal Assistant
Paralegal 8.1%
Internship 4.0%
Secretary 3.3%
Assistant 1.7%
Attorney 1.4%
Top Careers After Litigation Legal Assistant
Paralegal 14.1%
Law Clerk 3.0%
Attorney 2.2%
Internship 2.2%

Do you work as a Litigation Legal Assistant?

Litigation Legal Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

73.9%

Male

17.2%

Unknown

8.9%
Ethnicity

White

56.8%

Hispanic or Latino

20.3%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.1%

French

12.9%

German

7.1%

Mandarin

4.5%

Chinese

3.9%

Hindi

3.2%

Italian

3.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Russian

2.6%

Cantonese

1.9%

Urdu

1.9%

Carrier

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Hebrew

1.3%

Arabic

1.3%

Turkish

0.6%

Hmong

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%
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Litigation Legal Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.2%

Florida International University

6.9%

Miami Dade College

6.6%

Hillsborough Community College

6.6%

George Washington University

6.3%

University of Houston

5.3%

Kaplan University

5.3%

Fordham University

4.9%

Northeastern University

4.6%

University of South Florida

4.3%

New York University

4.3%

Center for Advanced Legal Studies

4.3%

Suffolk University

4.3%

Georgetown University

3.9%

Saint John's University - New York

3.6%

Nova Southeastern University

3.6%

Florida Atlantic University

3.6%

Broward College

3.6%

Strayer University

3.6%

University of San Diego

3.3%
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Majors

Legal Support Services

27.9%

Law

15.4%

Business

13.2%

Criminal Justice

8.2%

Political Science

6.6%

Legal Studies

4.7%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

2.7%

Psychology

2.7%

English

2.6%

Sociology

2.1%

Education

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Human Resources Management

1.6%

Management

1.6%

Accounting

1.5%

Communication

1.4%

General Studies

1.4%

Marketing

1.1%

History

1.0%

Finance

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

30.1%

Other

20.0%

Associate

13.6%

Doctorate

13.0%

Certificate

11.2%

Masters

10.3%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$54,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$32,000
Min 10%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Pacifica Companies
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Litigation Legal Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Litigation Legal Assistant in the United States is $54,710 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $91,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Litigation Legal Assistant?

Have you worked as a Litigation Legal Assistant? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Litigation Legal Assistant.

Top Skills for A Litigation Legal Assistant

  1. Legal Documents
  2. Trial Preparation
  3. Court Hearings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared legal documents for collection litigation including Motions, Stipulations and Judgments.
  • Assisted attorneys in trial preparation including reviewing depositions and creating summaries as well as labeling exhibits.
  • Maintained attorneys' calendars utilizing Time Matters with respect to court hearings and client meetings.
  • Prepared documentation relating to civil litigation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions and railroad contracts.
  • Drafted discovery responses and discovery propounded to defense counsel, and maintained discovery calendar.

How Would You Rate Working As a Litigation Legal Assistant?

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Top Litigation Legal Assistant Employers

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