Legal administrative assistants (NOC 1242)

High demand occupation

About this job

Legal administrative assistants perform secretarial and administrative duties in law offices, legal departments of large firms, real estate companies, land title offices, municipal, provincial and federal courts and government.

People in this occupation:

  • require an understanding of legal terminology, legal processes and common legal documents
  • handle and format legal correspondence, and review and proofread outgoing documents and correspondence to ensure that the documents agree with legal procedures and grammatical usage
  • set up filing systems, control confidential materials and establish office procedures

Individuals must be able to work individually and as part of a team.  People interested in this occupation must have verbal communication and numerical abilities, as well as well-developed motor coordination. They should also have an interest in compiling information, operating computers and other office equipment.

Common job titles
  • administrative assistant, real estate
  • assistant, commercial law / corporate law
  • assistant, corporate finance / tax
  • assistant, labour law / litigation
  • assistant, oil and gas rights
  • assistant, trademarks
  • administrative assistant, real estate
  • assistant, commercial law / corporate law
  • assistant, corporate finance / tax
  • assistant, criminal law
  • assistant, family law / wills & estates
  • assistant, foreclosures / insurance

Duties

Legal administrative assistants:

  • Prepare and key in correspondence and legal documents, such as deeds, wills, affidavits and briefs, from handwritten copy, shorthand and machine dictation using computers
  • Review and proofread documents and correspondence to ensure compliance with legal procedures and grammatical usage
  • Schedule appointments, meetings and conferences for employer
  • Set up and maintain filing systems, utilizing knowledge of legal records and procedures and frequently controlling confidential materials and documents
  • Open and distribute regular and electronic incoming mail and other material and co-ordinate the flow of information internally and with other departments or organizations
  • Determine and establish office procedures and routines
  • May supervise and train other staff in procedures and in the use of current software
  • May attend court, meetings or conferences to take notes, minutes and dictation
  • May perform other general office work as required including preparing financial statements.

Work environment

Legal administrative assistants work mainly in law offices or the legal sections of larger organizations. Most legal administrative assistants work regular, full-time office hours throughout the year. However, some after-hours or weekend work may be required, depending on specific demands.

The work involves extensive use of computer word processing and information management systems and equipment. Injuries such as wrist or eye strain may arise as a result of using computers for extensive periods.

Insights from industry

Most new job opportunities that come available in the next few years will arise from the need to replace retiring workers.

Employment growth in this occupational group is not expected in the next few years, largely as a result of office automation and technological changes that have reduced the demand for administrative assistant professionals. However, of the specialties within the administration occupational group, legal administrative assistants have more favourable labour market conditions and stronger prospects for full-time work.

While the current supply of new graduates is sufficient, some employers are finding it difficult to find candidates with hands-on practical experience and substantive knowledge in the various areas of legal practice. Legal administrative assistants with training and experience in litigation and conveyance procedures, as well as those with strong computer and communication skills, will be highly sought after.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Legal administrative assistants often start their careers as receptionists in law firms or the legal departments of larger organizations, or as junior legal secretaries working under the supervision of those with more experience.

As they gain experience, junior legal administrative assistants may advance to senior legal administrative assistant positions. With further education, they may progress to other occupations such as paralegal and related.

To keep their prospects for employment and promotion strong, all legal administrative assistants should be prepared to take additional training in legal theory and practice.

Additional resources