My day usually began by reviewing pending legal files by contacting various governmental offices or checking the case status online. Depending on the status, I would then request further action through email or online. At other times, I would meet with various clients to obtain documentation to support their case and review legal work before submitting to the appropriate governmental offices. As mail came in for different cases I would contact the clients to provide an update. As new cases came into the firm, I would also work on preparing the legal forms and packages for the attorneys to review before submission. At the same time, I was also in charge of answering phones and providing excellent customer service to current and potential clients. Other tasks included researching precedent cases, working on special office projects, supporting the attorneys in any form, and going to various offices in person to request documentation. On occasion I was also asked visit various courts and even conducted a few jail visits.
The day would consist of picking up the mail in the morning. After that point, you're responsible for completing a multitude of tasks, anywhere from storing legal documents, preparing conference rooms, assisting on cases, etc. As a File clerk you'll also be responsible for ordering office supplies and maintaining the case database. There will also be times where you'll be asked to drive to the hospital, courthouse, etc. in order to pick up or even drop of documentation.
When I worked at Troutman Law Firm I mainly helped when clients were hoping to start a case with the firm. The firm was a bankruptcy type of casework. I would make them a consultation appointment and get them paper work. After they met with one of our lawyers we would start making their case and filling out more paperwork to get it started. I worked 8am to 5pm normally unless there was court in Portland going on.
This will vary slightly depending on the attorney you work for. After clocking in, I would sort my attorney's mail and check my email to see if any important documents (police reports, hospital records, etc.) came in. I would add these to the appropriate files. Next, I would go into my attorneys office to get my "to-do" list for the day. There would probably be some new files to open (contacting the insurance company, requesting or filing a police report, requesting medical records, sending welcome letters), and some existing files to update (check the status of hospital, records follow-up with the insurance company, etc.). Once I felt caught up with my email, to-do list, etc., I would get started on my "30-day" phone calls. Each client is contacted once a month to check in on their treatment and to see if they have any questions or concerns. I would call the client, and their doctor to confirm the last time they were treated, and fill out a short form to go in their file. A lot of your day as a legal assistant will consist of playing phone tag and copying/scanning/mailing documents. Some might find these tasks mundane, but I enjoyed working through a to-do list and feeling accomplished at the end of each day. The repetition of many of these tasks means you get really good at your job early on. I found this job to be comfortable and stress-free.
The short version is that it really depends on the employer, but I was essentially an executive assistant to my attorneys.
Typically I started by getting mail and checking voicemail every morning, and during the day I was the receptionist and took in and roomed people coming for appointments. After that, my work was whatever assignments the attorneys gave me. This ranged from preparing documents for review, to scheduling depositions, to filing documents online or at court in-person, to making phone calls to court or clients or other lawyers, or even to going around town to drop off or pick up a variety of things. I even drove my bosses to the airport once.
In the end, you're support staff for the attorneys. The more I was able to do for them the better I was rewarded.
Former Legal Assistant/Bookkeeper at LEDESMA LAW OFFICE
over 2 years ago
Coming in during the morning hours, getting the schedule and files prepared for the attorney. Looking over account receivables and payable. Making phone calls on those accounts. Returning calls on new customers and completing intakes.