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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.

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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Legal administrative assistants (1242) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Legal Secretaries
2006 NOC : 1242

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Legal administrative assistants
NOC code: 1242

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 26 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 13, 2021 and May 25, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Prepare and key in correspondence and legal documents
Review and proofread documents and correspondence to ensure compliance with legal procedures and grammatical usage
Open and distribute regular and electronic incoming mail and other material and co-ordinate the flow of information
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: MS Word
Maintain filing system
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Organized
Schedule and confirm appointments
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary

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 Central

Academy of Learning - Calgary NE

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

Bow Valley College

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

Grande Prairie Regional College

QCom College of Technology (QCT)

Red Deer Polytechnic

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 - Edmonton

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

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.

In Alberta, the 1242: Legal administrative assistants occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 172 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Legal administrative assistants

2016 NOC : 1242
Average Wage
$30.74
Per Hour
Average Salary
$56,571.00
Per Year
Average Hours
35.4
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 1242 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


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 $28.85 $22.51 $23.08
Overall $25.71 $34.60 $30.74 $30.91
Top $28.62 $73.60 $41.60 $40.72

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

60%
60%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

22%
22%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

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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