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What are the duties of a legal assistant?

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A legal assistant performs a range of duties, including investigating case facts, conducting research for legal articles, researching laws and regulations, and maintaining and organizing documents or files, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Legal assistants may also write reports in preparation for trials, draft legal documents or correspondence, obtain affidavits for attorneys, and communicate with lawyers, witnesses and clients to schedule depositions, meetings and interviews.

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Other duties of the legal assistant include helping lawyers during the trial phase by reviewing transcripts of trial testimony, taking notes, and setting up or handling exhibits, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, assistants may file appeals, brief and other documents with the court on behalf of an attorney.

Although these are common tasks of the legal assistant, duties may vary from practice to practice or employer to employer, states the BLS. In smaller practices, legal assistants may help prepare legal arguments, whereas in larger practices, they may work on reference files or collect evidence.

Depending on the practice, the legal assistant may draft a settlement agreement, organize binders of documents or coordinating trial attendance for other personnel or set up computers and equipment in the courtroom. Legal assistants find work in all areas of the law, from personal injury to corporate law and criminal law practices.

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