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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for legal assistants. Currently, 2,700 people work as legal assistants in Alabama. This is expected to grow by 29% to 3,490 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for legal assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 28.1% over the next eight years. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

Legal assistants earn about $19 per hour or $41,390 annually on average in Alabama and about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually on average nationally. Incomes for legal assistants are better than in the overall category of Administration and Support in Alabama, and better than the overall Administration and Support category nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: legal investigator, immigration paralegal, and legal analyst.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Montgomery where you can study to be a legal assistant, among twelve schools of higher education total in the Montgomery area. Given that the most common education level for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become a legal assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Legal Assistant

Legal Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents. They also conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.

Legal assistants ready affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system. They also ready legal documents and real estate closing statements. Finally, legal assistants meet with clients and other professionals to consider specifics of case.

Every day, legal assistants are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for legal assistants to gather and analyze research data, such as statutes and legal articles, codes, and documents. They are often called upon to get ready for trial by performing tasks such as organizing exhibits. They also file pleadings with court clerk. They are sometimes expected to direct and schedule law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas. Somewhat less frequently, legal assistants are also expected to appraise and inventory real and personal property for estate planning.

They also have to be able to investigate facts and law of cases and search pertinent sources and call upon witnesses to testify at hearing. And finally, they sometimes have to ready affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system.

Like many other jobs, legal assistants must be thorough and dependable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Montgomery include:

  • Court Reporter. Use verbatim methods and equipment to capture, store, and transcribe pretrial and trial proceedings or other information. Includes stenocaptioners who operate computerized stenographic captioning equipment to provide captions of live or prerecorded broadcasts for hearing-impaired viewers.
  • Lawyer. Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
  • Paralegal. Assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents. May meet with clients or assist lawyers and judges in court.
  • Title Examiner. Search real estate records, examine titles, or summarize pertinent legal or insurance details for a variety of purposes. May compile lists of mortgages, contracts, and other instruments pertaining to titles by searching public and private records for law firms, real estate agencies, or title insurance companies.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Legal Assistant Training

South University-Montgomery - Montgomery, AL

South University-Montgomery, 5355 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36116-1120. South University-Montgomery is a small university located in Montgomery, Alabama. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 576 students and an admission rate of 90%. South University-Montgomery has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twelve and three students respectively in 2008.

Community College of the Air Force - Montgomery, AL

Community College of the Air Force, 130 W Maxwell Blvd, Montgomery, AL 36112-6613. college located in Montgomery, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 321,775 students. Community College of the Air Force has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventy-two students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Legal Assistant: The CLA examination is divided into five sections.

For more information, see the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. website.

Certified Legal Investigator: The National Association of Legal Investigators, Inc.

For more information, see the National Association of Legal Investigators website.

Certified Legal Video Specialist: The use of video in the legal environment is growing fast.

For more information, see the National Court Reporters Association website.

Certified Broadcast Captioner: Prove you're on the cutting edge.

For more information, see the National Court Reporters Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama photo by Spyder Monkey

Montgomery is situated in Montgomery County, Alabama. It has a population of over 202,696, which has grown by 0.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Montgomery, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Montgomery are valued at $129,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred seventy-eight new homes were built in Montgomery, down from six hundred nineteen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Montgomery are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is public administration, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 29.4% of Montgomery residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Montgomery is 10.1%, which is less than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Montgomery residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.6%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Big Roxanna Church, William African Methodist Episcopal Zion Chapel and Whitfield Memorial United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Montgomery. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Churches of Christ.

Montgomery is home to the Montgomery Public Library and the Booker T Washington Community Center as well as Old Selma Road Park and Montgomery East Exchange Park. Shopping centers in the area include Montgomery East Plaza Shopping Center, Montgomery Mall Shopping Center and Norman Bridge South Shopping Center. Visitors to Montgomery can choose from Relax Inn, Islander and Towne Place Suites by Marriott for temporary stays in the area.