Former Legal Assistant at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard and Ashley, PC
about 2 years ago
Honestly, this was the best job I have had in my working career so far just because it allowed me be part of a big picture and still feel important. Being a legal assistant is great for anyone with the hopes of possibly attending law school or just working in the legal field in general. While some legal assistant positions aren't as legal-intensive as you might think/hope, it was still a great way to show how a law firm operates and the many ways you can be part of the process. It's a great entry-level way of figuring out if law is something that you're really wanting to work with. That said, the downside for me was that there really isn't too much room for growth. If you aren't interested in becoming a lawyer, the only real way to grow in this setting is by becoming a paralegal. If you really enjoy the work, it's definitely worth pursuing, though.
I dislike the fact that many firms mistake a "legal assistant" as a secretary in the state of Florida. In other states Legal Assistant is used interchangeably with Paralegal. The main distinction to look for when searching out a true legal assistant/paralegal position is to confirm that the job description includes the ability to bill hours to the client. That the application does not include a minimum typing speed and that there is a certain degree of autonomy with regard to management of cases.
I like research and finding information on the cases.
I like being a legal assistant. I get to work for people who are hurt and need our help. Everything that we do as personal injury workers can help someone. I think the personal injury is very underrated because most people don’t know how much work goes into working up a case. A lot of our clients think our cases are “no brainers” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We have to fight tooth and nail with insurances because of course they don’t want to end up paying up. Clients don’t understand how hard it can be and then they get upset at us because their case is taking too long. I don’t like that peole don’t understand how tough our field actually is and that most of our work goes unnoticed.
Former Legal Assistant at King County Bar Association
about 2 years ago
My favorite part of being a Legal Assistant involved client interaction. Most of my job involved conducting client intake interviews, and it made me realize how much I enjoyed that human component of the law. As an undergraduate, pre-law student, getting that amount of exposure to clients and such a large amount of responsibility to speak with them is quite rare. Additionally, because the Housing Justice Project relied exclusively on funds the King County Bar Association collected through donations, resources were scarce, which was both a positive and a potential drawback. The lack of resources created an immediate need for people to jump right into the work, which meant that there was little initial training and I had to mostly pick up things as I faced them, which was intimidating at first. However, because of this, I got to assist in and work on a lot of things that I would not have been able to do at a regular law firm. Working with limited resources and personnel on time sensitive issues allowed me to develop efficient communication and synthesizing skills under pressure. Additionally, the constant turnover of volunteer attorneys made me better able to adapt quickly to different leadership styles. The severity of the case matters taught me how to balance compassion with realistic expectations.