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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Santa Rosa, California

Legal assistants can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Santa Rosa, California area. Currently, 24,700 people work as legal assistants in California. This is expected to grow by 26% to about 31,200 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.

Income for legal assistants is about $26 hourly or $54,800 annually on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $22 hourly or $46,120 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Administration and Support, people working as legal assistants in California earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Administration and Support nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: real estate closer, labor and employment certified paralegal, and eviction specialist.

There are seven schools of higher education in the Santa Rosa area, including two within twenty-five miles of Santa Rosa where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. Legal assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be 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 Santa Rosa 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.
  • 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

Napa Valley College - Napa, CA

Napa Valley College, 2277 Napa-Vallejo Hwy, Napa, CA 94558-6236. Napa Valley College is a medium sized college located in Napa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,404 students. Napa Valley College has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven students in 2008.

Empire College School of Business - Santa Rosa, CA

Empire College School of Business, 3035 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403-2126. Empire College School of Business is a small college located in Santa Rosa, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 832 students. Empire College School of Business has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated four and twenty-three students respectively 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: Santa Rosa, California

Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa, California photo by Njaelkies Lea

Santa Rosa is situated in Sonoma County, California. It has a population of over 155,796, which has grown by 5.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Rosa, 159, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Rosa are priced at $193,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty new homes were built in Santa Rosa, down from three hundred sixty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Santa Rosa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 27.6% of Santa Rosa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Santa Rosa is 10.1%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Santa Rosa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 32.1%, is less than both the national and state average. United Pentecostal Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Bennett Valley Baptist Church are among the churches located in Santa Rosa. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Santa Rosa is home to the Sonoma County Administration Center and the Quarry Picnic Area as well as Live Oak Park and Coffey Park. Shopping malls in the area include Montgomery Village Shopping Center, Saint Francis Shopping Center and Flamingo One Stop Shopping Center. Visitors to Santa Rosa can choose from Amansi, Astro Motel and Beautiful Weddings & Events for temporary stays in the area.