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Legal Assistant

Legal assistants perform a variety of administrative duties in law offices, the legal departments of large organizations, courts, justice departments, real estate companies, insurance companies and land title offices.

  • Avg. Salary $54,640.00
  • Avg. Wage $29.81
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 7,500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Legal Secretary, Office Personnel, Secretary

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

69%
69%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Legal Assistant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Legal Secretaries
NOC code: 1242
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to maintain filing systems; and in reviewing documents and correspondence to ensure that they comply with legal procedures and grammatical usage

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating computers, and other office equipment; may train other staff in the use of current software

directive

Interest in speaking with people to schedule employers' appointments, meetings and conferences; in opening and distributing regular and electronic mail and other materials; and in co-ordinating the flow of information internally and with other departments and organizations; may supervise other staff in procedures

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Jun 02, 2016

Duties and responsibilities vary from one organization to another but, in general, legal assistants:

  • use word processing, spreadsheet, database or presentation software to prepare correspondence and legal documents such as deeds, wills, mortgages, contracts, statutory declarations, affidavits, applications and briefs
  • answer the telephone, schedule appointments and meetings, greet visitors and handle administrative and business details
  • set up and maintain records management systems (including classifying and coding electronic and hardcopy files)
  • transcribe correspondence and legal documents from digital recordings or handwritten notes
  • open correspondence (including faxes and e-mail), co-ordinate the flow of information and respond to routine inquiries
  • review and proofread outgoing documents to ensure they are correct and comply with legal procedures
  • access and use online legal resources
  • operate sophisticated office equipment such as voice mail messaging systems, photocopying machines and computer scanning equipment
  • handle routine accounting procedures
  • perform general office duties as required
  • may attend court or conferences to take notes, minutes and dictation.

With experience, legal assistant duties and responsibilities may overlap with those of paralegals (for more information, see the Paralegal occupational profile).

Working Conditions
Updated Jun 02, 2016

Legal assistants work in fast-paced office environments. They usually work standard office hours but overtime may be required to meet deadlines.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jun 02, 2016

Legal assistants need the following characteristics:

  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • good organization and time management skills
  • the ability to maintain accuracy
  • the ability to pay careful attention to detail
  • personal integrity and the ability to maintain confidentiality
  • the ability to work independently or as part of a team.

They should enjoy dealing with people, operating equipment such as computers, and compiling and organizing information.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jun 02, 2016

Employers require legal assistants to be computer literate and have fast, accurate keyboarding skills. Some require a typing speed of 60 words a minute. A post-secondary certificate or diploma in office administration, Internet literacy and familiarity with legal vocabulary are definite assets.

Prospective students should investigate the suitability and reputation of training programs with employers before enrolling in a program. For information about related two year diploma programs, see the Paralegal occupational profile.

The Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) offers professional development courses for legal support staff.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

ABM College

Academy of Learning - Calgary NE

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown

Academy of Learning - Edmonton South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton West

Academy of Learning - Medicine Hat

Academy of Learning - Red Deer

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Calgary

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Edmonton

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Red Deer

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Spruce Grove

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Red Deer

College of New Caledonia - Prince George

Evergreen College - Calgary

Grande Prairie Regional College

Red Deer College

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary North

Reeves College - Edmonton

Reeves College - Lethbridge

Reeves College - Lloydminster

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Robertson College - Edmonton

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Thompson Rivers University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jun 02, 2016

Legal assistants are employed by:

  • legal firms
  • the legal departments of large corporations
  • real estate companies
  • insurance companies 
  • municipal, provincial and federal courts
  • related government departments and agencies (for example, land title offices).

In large organizations, experienced legal assistants may advance to supervisory positions.

In Alberta, 80% of people employed as legal assistants work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Jun 02, 2016

Legal administrative assistants
NOC code: 1242

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.63 $30.97 $23.15 $21.50
Overall $21.48 $37.70 $29.81 $30.22
Top $25.50 $54.95 $37.22 $37.35

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

69%
69%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

35%
35%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

2%
2%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jun 02, 2016

Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) website: www.lesaonline.org

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 10, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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