Legal Assistant How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

What is a Legal Assistant?

Legal assistants play an essential role in the day-to-day operations of the law office or legal department. They help with case management, document preparation, maintaining calendars, communicating with clients and court officials, and assisting with attorneys’ needs. Legal assistants must have excellent communication skills and keen attention to detail. They should also be comfortable working independently as well as part of a team. 

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Average Salary and Compensation

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

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

$56,340

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
  • You intend to hire on a temporary, contract, or contract-to-hire basis and direct the work activity
  • You are hiring a direct employee 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

There are many career sites out there. Here are the two we recommend for a legal assistant opening:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network for job seekers, professionals, and businesses. With this popular job site, you can enhance your brand and advertise your open position to a wide audience of motivated, qualified candidates. Job postings on LinkedIn are also extremely streamlined and user-friendly, making it even easier for candidates to apply. Additionally, applicants can use their LinkedIn profile instead of a resume to expedite the process. 

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CareerBuilder

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 Job Descriptions

Example 1

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 2

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.

Responsibilities

  • 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

Qualifications

  • 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 3

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.

Responsibilities:

  • 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

Qualifications:

  • 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

Sample Interview Questions

  • Why have you chosen to pursue being a legal assistant?
  • What is your work experience like?
  • How are your skills with research?
  • What are your plans for your career?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What soft skills do you have?
  • How do you ensure your work is accurate?
  • If you report to multiple attorneys, how do you prioritize your work?
  • Recall a complex legal decision you’ve dealt with, and describe the process that you utilized in order to finalize your decision. 
  • Where did you go to school?
  • How do you establish rapport in a professional context?
  • How do you stay organized?
  • What are some challenges you faced in your last role?
  • What is the biggest challenge you foresee in this position?
  • What motivates you?

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