Legal Assistant: Diploma Program Description

About this article
As a legal assistant you will be part of a prestigious and growing career field, and play a vital role in the legal system. This article describes some of what is involved in a diploma program to become a legal assistant.
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What is a Legal Assistant Diploma Program?

The primary task of a legal assistant is to help his or her employing lawyer to prepare for legal proceedings, such as closings, hearings, trials, or corporate meetings. As a legal assistant, you will investigate the facts of a given case to be sure that your team has all relevant information and that it is presented in a professional, ethical way according to regulations. You may be required to research and identify appropriate laws, judicial decisions, legal articles, and other materials that your employing lawyer or law team might find helpful. In addition, you will be expected to write reports and summations that will help determine how a particular case should be handled.

Skills Acquired

In a diploma program to become a legal assistant, you will learn the many skills necessary to the profession. You'll become proficient in interviewing, and gain an understanding of the role of the Legal Assistant in interviewing clients and witnesses. Also, you will get important training in the Rules of Court and procedures that apply to pre-trial investigations, court applications, the discovery process, preparing bills, foreclosure applications, and small claims procedures. In most programs you will learn about the laws governing intellectual property, legislation affecting intellectual property, management and enforcement of intellectual property rights and an introduction to the new issues and problems created by the Internet and e-commerce. As documentation will be big part of your job as a legal assistant, a good program should give you adequate training in drafting and preparing legal documents for use by law firms and clients. Other topics you can expect to find covered by a legal assistant diploma program include the management systems used in small and large law firms; technology in the legal profession; computer applications for law office systems; solicitor/client relationships; professional ethics and the role of the legal assistant; and law office accounting procedures.

Coursework in a Legal Assistant Diploma Program May Include:

  • Legal Document Processing
  • Litigation Procedures
  • Legal Research
  • Wills and Probate Procedures
  • Litigation Procedures
  • Family Law
  • Legal Interviewing

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for legal assistants should enjoy steady growth through 2014, as employers seek to reduce costs by hiring legal assistants to perform tasks formerly carried out by lawyers. Average annual salaries for legal assistants in 2004 were about $39K.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
      • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
      • Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice
      • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice - Intelligence & Crime Analysis Track
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSCJ: Law
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • Master: Criminal Justice
      • MSCJ: Leadership & Executive Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Legal Support and Services
      • BS - Legal Support and Services - Paralegal
      • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
      • Bachelor: Criminal Justice
    Associate's
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
    Certificate
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor - Management - Criminal Justice
    Master's
      • M.S. - Criminal Justice
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Penn Foster Career School

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma: Paralegal
      • Career Diploma: Legal Secretary
      • Career Diploma - Legal Transcriptionist
      • Certificate - Advanced Paralegal Applications
      • Certificate - Real Estate, Wills and Estates for Paralegals
  • Online Programs Available
    8. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Corrections and Case Management
      • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Generalist
      • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Homeland Security and Crisis Management
      • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Forensic Science
      • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    9. University of the Rockies

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Psychology - Criminology and Justice Studies
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Psychology - Criminology and Justice Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma

Featured Schools

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Criminal Justice - Intelligence & Crime Analysis Track

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • MSCJ: Law
  • BS - Legal Support and Services
  • AAS in Legal Support and Services
  • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor - Management - Criminal Justice
  • M.S. - Criminal Justice
  • BS - Criminal Justice

Are you a US citizen?

Penn Foster Career School

  • Career Diploma: Paralegal
  • Career Diploma: Legal Secretary
  • Career Diploma - Legal Transcriptionist

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Corrections and Case Management
  • Bachelor or Science - Criminal Justice: Generalist
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

Are you a US citizen?