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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Tallahassee, Florida

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for legal assistants in the Tallahassee, Florida area. There are currently 19,240 working legal assistants in Florida; this should grow 42% to about 27,360 working legal assistants in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for legal assistants are expected to grow by about 28.1%. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

The income of a legal assistant is about $21 per hour or $44,090 yearly on average in Florida. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,120 yearly on average. Earnings for legal assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Administration and Support in Florida and better than general Administration and Support category earnings nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: labor and employment certified paralegal, complex commercial litigation paralegal, and real estate closer.

The Tallahassee area is home to nine schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Tallahassee where you can get a degree as a legal assistant. 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 Tallahassee 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

Tallahassee Community College - Tallahassee, FL

Tallahassee Community College, 444 Appleyard Dr, Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895. Tallahassee Community College is a large college located in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,048 students. Tallahassee Community College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifteen 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: Tallahassee, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida photo by Diligent Terrier

Tallahassee is located in Leon County, Florida. It has a population of over 171,922, which has grown by 14.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tallahassee, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Tallahassee are priced at $166,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred new homes were built in Tallahassee, down from six hundred thirty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tallahassee are educational services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is public administration, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 45.0% of Tallahassee residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tallahassee is 7.1%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Tallahassee residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Abundant Life Foursquare Church, Advent Episcopal Church and Aftermath Church are among the churches located in Tallahassee. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Tallahassee is home to the Miracle Plaza and the Tallahassee Community College Library as well as Old Fort Park and Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northwood Mall, Parkway Shopping Center and Tallahassee Mall. Visitors to Tallahassee can choose from Cactus Motel, Best Western Pride Inn Suites and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.