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Updated

Legal Assistant

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

  • Avg. Salary $56,201.00
  • Avg. Wage $30.49
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 5,800
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Legal Secretary, Office Personnel, Secretary

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Legal Secretaries (1242) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Legal Secretaries (B212) 
  • 2011 NOC: Legal administrative assistants (1242) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

17%
17%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Legal Assistant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Legal Secretaries
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 Mar 31, 2019

Duties and responsibilities vary from one organization to another. In general, legal assistants prepare correspondence and legal documents. These include trust documents, wills, mortgages, contracts, statutory declarations, affidavits, applications, and briefs. They use word processing, spreadsheet, database, or presentation software. They also:

  • Answer the telephone, schedule appointments and meetings, greet visitors, and handle administrative and business details
  • Set up and maintain systems to manage records, including classifying and coding electronic and hard copy files
  • Keep track of limitation dates (deadlines for court proceedings) and court dates
  • Learn and follow the correct legal procedures when preparing and serving legal documents
  • Transcribe correspondence and legal documents from digital recordings or handwritten notes
  • Open correspondence, including faxes and email, co-ordinate the flow of information, and respond to routine inquiries
  • Review and proofread outgoing documents to ensure they are error free and comply with legal procedures
  • Access and use online legal resources
  • Operate sophisticated office equipment such as voice mail systems, photocopying machines, and computer scanning equipment
  • Handle routine accounting procedures
  • Perform general office duties

They also may attend court or conferences to take notes, minutes, and dictation. They may attend hospitals or residences to witness a client’s signature on documents. With experience, their duties and responsibilities may overlap with those of paralegals. For more information, see the Paralegal occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Legal assistants work in fast-paced office environments. They usually work standard office hours but may need to work overtime to meet deadlines. Deadlines include such things as real estate closing dates and timelines for filing and serving documents.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Legal assistants need:

  • Communication, organization, and time-management skills
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • The ability to work with clients who are under stress
  • The ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • Integrity and the ability to maintain confidentiality
  • The ability to think quickly and switch between tasks when emergencies arise

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Employers need legal assistants to be computer literate. They must have fast, accurate keyboarding skills. The preferred typing speed is 80 words a minute. A post-secondary certificate or diploma in office administration, internet literacy, and familiarity with legal vocabulary are assets.

Prospective students should ask employers about the suitability and reputation of training programs before enrolling in a program. For information about related 2-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

Campbell College Ltd.

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

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

Robertson College - Edmonton

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Sundance College

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Legal assistants work for:

  • Legal firms
  • Legal departments of large companies
  • Real estate companies
  • Mortgage brokers and banks
  • Insurance companies
  • Municipal, provincial, and federal courts
  • Government departments and agencies, such as land title offices

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

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

The employment outlook (pdf) 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 Mar 31, 2019
Legal administrative assistants

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 $16.48 $27.66 $21.05 $20.62
Overall $23.08 $35.51 $30.49 $30.83
Top $25.71 $52.20 $39.03 $38.46

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
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

58%
58%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

17%
17%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

3%
3%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals website: www.alberta-paralegal.com

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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