By PublisherLast Updated March 10, 2022
Legal assistant training can prepare you to become a critical link within a law office.
A Canadian legal assistant school can help open the door for you to work with lawyers, prosecutors, and public defenders. You can learn how to take on many of a lawyer's tasks outside of setting fees, offering advice, or presenting cases. You could be responsible for analyzing and organizing information, helping prepare legal arguments, and drafting pleadings.
Legal assistant schools provide the chance to learn diverse skills. They prepare you to pursue work in private practices, large corporate firms, or government agencies.
Legal Assistant Training & Career Information: 7 Common Questions
1. How Long Does It Take to Become a Legal Assistant?
Program length is one of the key benefits of legal assistant training. You could be prepared to enter the workforce rather quickly. You could be prepared to enter the workforce rather quickly. You can complete the average legal assistant program in approximately eight months to a year. And that could even include an internship or practicum, which provides an opportunity to gain valued experience in a legal office before graduating from your program.
2. Will I Require Any Additional Certifications?
Currently, industry certification is not required in Canada to work as a legal assistant. Depending on your program choice, you could be eligible to become a member of the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario (ILCO).
It is important to note that the term law clerk is interchangeable with legal assistant in Ontario and some other provinces. But it is not to be confused with a law clerk who works for the courts, a position typically made available for law school graduates.
3. What Does a Legal Assistant Do?
A legal assistant's daily responsibilities can be varied. And job duties depend on several factors, including your level of experience, the type of position, and the size and type of organization in which you are employed. Some of the more common tasks that a legal assistant could be responsible for include the following:
- Assisting a lawyer or legal team (including paralegals)
- Handling the day-to-day operations of the front office
- Maintaining file systems
- Communicating with clients and other professionals
- Interviewing clients and witnesses
- Preparing trial briefs
- Composing wills and other legal documents
- Conducting research
- Drafting correspondence
- Performing billing procedures
4. Where Can a Legal Assistant Find Work?
Legal assistant schools can help set you up to work in various settings well beyond law offices. You can find legal assistant positions in:
- Private practices
- Corporate law firms
- Legal aid agencies
- Government organizations
- Non-profit organizations
- Financial institutions
- Insurance companies
- Real estate companies
5. How Much Do Legal Assistants Make?
According to a 2022 report from the Government of Canada's Job Bank, the median hourly wage for legal assistants in Canada was $24.00. However, some of the top-paid legal assistants earned significantly more. Your level of experience, location, as well as size and location of the organization may largely determine your level of pay.
6. What Is the Job Outlook for Legal Assistants?
The demand for legal services tends to grow with the economy. As new businesses emerge and companies grow, there is a greater need for legal counsel. Additionally, updated and increasingly complex legislation increases demand, along with the government providing greater access to legal aid services.
Job opportunities in the next three years for legal assistants are expected to be fair to good, depending on which province you live in, according to a December 2021 Job Bank report.
7. Are There Any Other Benefits to Becoming a Legal Assistant?
A legal assistant school can help prepare you for a career faster than you might have thought possible. And it's a career in which you may experience a favourable job outlook along with the potential to make a good living. But what else might you expect from this field? Other benefits that legal assistants often enjoy include:
- Exciting and challenging work: You could find quite a bit of diversity in your job and may use your problem-solving skills on a daily basis. And since you'll likely be assisting a lawyer or legal team, you could uncover fascinating aspects of the law and stay abreast of the evolving legal landscape.
- Opportunities for advancement: As you develop experience as a legal assistant, you could pursue opportunities to move to a bigger firm or a higher-level position. You could even decide to become a paralegal.
- Possibility of helping others: You may think that legal assistants only help lawyers or their legal teams, but many of them also help clients. For example, when you are drafting real estate documents or preparing paperwork for family court trials, you are helping clients with significant life events. They could be quite appreciative of the work you do, leaving you with a great deal of satisfaction in your job.
- Transferable skills: There could come a time in your career where you decide to change direction. The good news is that if you decide to leave the legal world, you could have skills that are easily transferable to other sectors. Many businesses value administration, communication, organization, and research skills. You could find yourself qualified for various positions outside of the legal workforce.