Starting a position as a new lawyer is both exciting and overwhelming. However, there are many day-to-day tasks that need to be completed which are not taught in law school. This includes the administrative part of the job. New lawyers can utilize legal administrative support as valuable resources to assist with daily life at a law firm or corporation. Below are some of the functional roles that are part of the legal administrative support and how each of these roles plays an integral part in the day-to-day workings of a legal department. It is especially important for new lawyers to understand how the legal administrative support professionals at their job can help and how each person’s skill set can make the job that much easier!
Legal secretaries have a wide array of skills who assist with:
– Administrative paperwork
– Billing and time matters
– Managing phones and messages
– Maintenance and management of case files and documents
– Assistance with drafting a variety of legal documents
– Serving as a liaison between lawyers, clients, vendors and internal personnel
Legal Assistants and Paralegals (sometimes the title can be interchanged) work very closely with attorneys and can assist new lawyers with:
– Legal research
– Drafting, editing, proofreading and finalizing legal documents
– Trial preparation and post-trial matters
– Case management
– Communicating with clients, vendors and the courts on the status of matters
– Update, locate, organize and maintain current electronic and physical file records
– Review and organize files for storage, closing and destruction
– Handle records for storage or destruction
– Digitally scan documents, handle client/matter information and upload online records to a document management system
– Maintain the integrity and security of records
– Manage interoffice and offsite publication requests
– Update legal databases, spreadsheets, reports
– Conduct legal research and references
– Streamlining existing research tools and training staff how to utilize these tools
Learn What Your Legal Administrative Staff Can Do For You
New attorneys should understand as early as possible how to utilize legal support staff. The most efficient way is to just ask. Also, be sure to learn the responsibilities of the people in each role and how they can help.
Learn What You Can Do For Your Legal Administrative Staff
New attorneys have large workloads and are extremely busy. Clear and timely communication with legal administrative staff assisting makes a big difference. They are most likely assisting other lawyers with heavy workloads as well and need to know how to manage their time and the expectations of the other attorneys they are working with.
Show Your Appreciation
Legal administrative staff plays an extremely important and integral role at law firms and in-house legal departments on a day-to-day basis. It is important to show them that their efforts are appreciated and noticed. Although they are doing their job, doing this will also create a great working relationship between new attorneys and the legal administrative professionals who support them.
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