Legal Assistant Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Legal Assistant Do?

Legal assistants assist lawyers and other legal professionals in preparing legal documents, conducting legal research, and managing administrative tasks. Depending on their specific job duties and the jurisdiction where they work, legal assistants may also be called paralegals, legal secretaries, or legal administrative assistants.

The majority of legal assistants work in law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, or other legal settings. Lawyers may use them to prepare documents such as contracts, pleadings, and briefs, as well as to draft legal correspondence, manage case files, and communicate with clients.

Despite not providing legal advice or representing clients in court, legal assistants play an essential role in supporting lawyers’ work and helping to facilitate smooth and efficient proceedings.

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National Average Salary

Legal assistant salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Legal Assistant is:


Legal Assistant Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great legal assistant is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1

Legal assistants support lawyers with legal research, drafting, communicating with clients, and preparing hearings, trials, and meetings. All that’s required for being a paralegal is a high school diploma, however many have an associate’s degree or a certificate in legal studies. Paralegals must have great organization and communication skills. Because paralegals spend a lot of time with clients, they must have great interpersonal skills as well in order to ensure clients feel comfortable with sharing personal details about their cases. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Maintain and organize files
  • Conduct legal research
  • Investigate and gather facts for cases
  • Write or summarize reports
  • Help lawyers during trials by taking notes or reviewing transcripts
  • File exhibits, briefs, appeals, and other legal documents
  • Communicate with clients, witnesses and attorneys
  • Schedule interviews, meetings and depositions

Education and experience

Legal assistants usually have at least an associate degree and/or have earned a certification in paralegal studies. A bachelor’s degree is preferred, as is law firm experience or training. Some firms might hire college graduates with a bachelor’s degree but no legal experience and then train them.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint and Excel)
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with others
  • Solid research and writing skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Discretion and the ability to handle confidential information
  • Expertise in time management and prioritization

Preferred qualifications

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Secretarial skills
  • In-depth knowledge of local and federal laws

Example 2

The Legal Assistant will perform administrative duties to support the Chief Legal Officer and the legal department.

Essential role functions

  • Acts as liaison between company attorneys, outside counsel, organizations, and management
  • Facilitate contract review, administration, and management of ABC Company entity contracts using contract management software
  • Drive annual and other periodic corporate reporting and filings with secretaries of state and other business registration/qualification authorities
  • Coordinate with global subsidiaries regarding annual reports, minutes, and other documents, as well as obtain necessary signatures from officers and ensure timely return of documents
  • Drive and expedite due dates, deadlines, and task completion for the legal team as needed
  • Support M&A activities
  • Perform administrative and secretarial duties for the legal department
  • Conduct intermediate-level legal and factual research on assigned matters
  • Assist Chief Legal Officer with preparations for Board meetings
  • Assist with integrations of acquired entities with the legal department
  • Performs other duties as assigned
  • Strong analytical, organization, and communication skills accompanied by the flexibility to quickly adapt in a fast-paced, changing environment

Minimum qualifications

  • 5+ years experience as a legal secretary or legal assistant
  • Associates degree
  • Proficiency in Office365 – including Microsoft Word, Teams, PowerPoint, and Excel

Bonus qualifications

  • Experience in an in-house corporate law practice
  • Legal Assistant or Paralegal certification
  • College degree
  • Notary Public

Core competencies

  • Problem-solving: Strong analytical skills. Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner, and gathers and reviews information appropriately. Uses own judgment and acts independently; seeks input from other team members as appropriate for complex or sensitive situations.
  • Oral/written communication: Listens carefully and speaks clearly and professionally in all situations. Edits work for accuracy and clarity and is able to create, read and interpret complex written information.
  • Planning and organization: Prioritizes and plans work activities and uses time efficiently. Strong organizational skills.
  • Adaptability: Adapts to changes in the work environment, manages competing demands, and is able to deal with frequent interruptions, changes, delays, or unexpected events.
  • Dependability: Consistently on time and at work, responds to management expectations, and solicits feedback to improve performance.
  • Interpersonal skills: Capable of developing strong interpersonal networks and trust within the organization.

Example 3

ABC Company is seeking an experienced full-time Legal Assistant/Legal Secretary in the firm’s (City) office. The ideal candidate will ensure the smooth running of the office and effective case management by providing legal services under the supervision of attorneys, including one in our (State) office. This individual will frequently communicate with the clients, and have exceptional organizational skills, attention to detail, the ability to prioritize, and a strong ability to multitask. This position offers competitive pay, parking, and the potential for bonuses.


  • Provide administrative support to lawyers
  • Handle communication with clients
  • Locate and develop case-relevant information
  • Prepare documents (pleadings, discovery, discovery responses, etc.) for review by attorneys
  • Monitor compliance with deadlines
  • Administrative filings, court filings, electronic transcription, expense reimbursement processing, travel arrangements, and calendar maintenance


  • Associate’s degree or equivalent experience
  • 2 years or more recent experience in legal assistance
  • Familiarity with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Proficient in MS Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
  • Ability to learn and effectively utilize various computer applications and other forms of technology

Example 4

ABC Company, a multi-office national firm, has an immediate opening for a full-time legal Assistant for our (City, State) Office.

Job summary:

The individual in this role will assist attorneys in defending civil litigation matters in the areas of Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice. This is a hands-on position that involves working collaboratively with clients and employees of the firm.


  • Maintains calendar for trial and discovery deadlines
  • Schedules depositions, hearings, legal proceedings, and appointments for attorneys
  • Submits invoices and assists attorney with time entry on billing software
  • Ensures organization of files including opening, closing, management, and maintenance of files
  • Under attorney direction drafts and prepares correspondence and other written documents as required including responses, reports, filings, pleadings, answers, motions, interrogatories, contracts, opinions, position papers, letters, etc., and other documents as necessary
  • Organizes and analyzes documentary evidence including contracts, medical records, reports, depositions, discovery, investigative, and other documents and summaries. Interpretation and preparation of chronologies and summaries as requested
  • Prepares, issues, and handles tracking and disposition of subpoenas or other requests for information
  • Performs other duties as assigned


  • 1+ years of prior legal assistant experience supporting litigators in defense litigation preferably in personal injury and medical malpractice defense and in a high-volume, fast-paced law firm environment
  • Florida State Court filing including E-Filing experience required
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications such as Excel, Word Perfect, PowerPoint, and Outlook required
  • Requires critical thinking skills, excellent communication and organizational skills, decisive judgment, and the ability to work with minimal supervision
  • High School Diploma or its equivalent required

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Boston College offers a fully online certificate in paralegal studies which will prepare its students to take on all the core aspects of law: legal writing, research, technologies, and real estate, probate, family, and business law. It takes only 14 weeks to certify and offers access to a community of elbow candidates to help build their professional network.
  • Paralegal Certificate. In just eight months, candidates can earn their Paralegal Certificate, which plays a critical role in assisting lawyers. They will need an understanding of emergent technologies and to be grounded in being able to assess real-life situations, such as intellectual property. This course is designed to prepare its candidates to leverage all the core legal knowledge they learn throughout the time enrolled.

How to Hire a Legal Assistant

Consider the following when hiring a legal assistant:

  • Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to source and recruit for this role successfully?
  • Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid, or even junior-level skills suffice?
  • Duration: Is this a one-time project, or an indefinite need?
  • Management: Can you effectively direct the work effort?
  • Urgency: Are there any deadlines associated with this need?
  • Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?

Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. When hiring a legal assistant, we recommend the following options:

1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)

The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.

This is the best route to take when:

  • You need to fill the position quickly
  • You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
  • Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
  • You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff. 
  • You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
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2. Advertise your opening on a top job board

Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice. 

We recommend using a job board when:

  • Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
  • You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort 
  • You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
  • You are prepared to respond to all applicants

We recommend CareerBuilder when hiring a legal assistant:


CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.

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3. Leverage your internal resources

You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates. 

A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.

We recommend these options when:

  • Your brand has great name recognition
  • You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
  • You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
  • You have an effective employee referral program in place

If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Why have you chosen to pursue being a legal assistant?
  • Do you have experience drafting legal documents such as pleadings, contracts, or motions?
  • What is the best way to conduct legal research and ensure the information you find is accurate and reliable?
  • What tools and software do you use to manage and organize your case files and legal documents?
  • What was the most difficult situation you encountered while working on a legal case, and how did you handle it?
  • When working on legal matters, how do you protect sensitive information?
  • If you have multiple cases or projects with competing deadlines, how do you prioritize and manage your workload?
  • During a legal case, what strategies do you use to ensure clear and effective communication between lawyers, clients, and other stakeholders?

Need help hiring a Legal Assistant?

We match top professionals with great employers across the country. From filling urgent job openings to developing long-term hiring strategies, our team is here to help. Review our staffing solutions, browse our award-winning Staffing Corner blog, or call today. We look forward to connecting with you soon.

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