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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Atlanta, Georgia

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for legal assistants in the Atlanta, Georgia area. There are currently 6,560 working legal assistants in Georgia; this should grow by 22% to 8,030 working legal assistants in the state 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 $22 per hour or $45,840 annually on average in Georgia. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually. Incomes for legal assistants are better than in the overall category of Administration and Support in Georgia, and better than the overall Administration and Support category nationally. Legal assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: proposal specialist, contracts specialist, and document processor.

There are ninety-one schools of higher education in the Atlanta area, including nine within twenty-five miles of Atlanta where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. Legal assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Atlanta 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

Gwinnett College - Lilburn, GA

Gwinnett College, 4230 Hwy 29 Ste 11, Lilburn, GA 30047-3447. Gwinnett College is a small college located in Lilburn, Georgia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 360 students. Gwinnett College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated zero and nine students respectively in 2008.

Iverson Business School - Atlanta, GA

Iverson Business School, 6685 Peachtree Industrial, Atlanta, GA 30360. Iverson Business School is a small school located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 351 students. Iverson Business School has a one to two year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven students in 2008.

Brown Mackie College-Atlanta - Atlanta, GA

Brown Mackie College-Atlanta, 6600 Peachtree Dunwoodry Road, 600 Embassy Row, Atlanta, GA 30328. Brown Mackie College-Atlanta is a small college located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 705 students. Brown Mackie College-Atlanta 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.

Clayton State University - Morrow, GA

Clayton State University, 2000 Clayton State Boulevard, Morrow, GA 30260-0285. Clayton State University is a medium sized university located in Morrow, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,056 students and an admission rate of 46%. Clayton State University has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-two and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Griffin Technical College - Griffin, GA

Griffin Technical College, 501 Varsity Rd, Griffin, GA 30223-2042. Griffin Technical College is a small college located in Griffin, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,162 students. Griffin Technical College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five students in 2008.

Herzing University - Atlanta, GA

Herzing University, 3393 Peachtree Road, Suite 1003, Atlanta, GA 30326. Herzing University is a small university located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 363 students and an admission rate of 88%. Herzing University has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eight students in 2008.

Atlanta Technical College - Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Technical College, 1560 Metropolitan Pky SW, Atlanta, GA 30310-4446. Atlanta Technical College is a small college located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,293 students. Atlanta Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty, seven, and eight students respectively in 2008.

Gainesville State College - Oakwood, GA

Gainesville State College, 3820 Mundy Mill Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566. Gainesville State College is a medium sized college located in Oakwood, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,060 students and an admission rate of 98%. Gainesville State College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifteen and seven students respectively in 2008.

Dekalb Technical College - Clarkston, GA

Dekalb Technical College, 495 N Indian Creek Dr, Clarkston, GA 30021-2397. Dekalb Technical College is a small college located in Clarkston, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,939 students. Dekalb Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eleven, eight, and thirty-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.

LICENSES

Paralegals

Licensing agency: National Association of Legal Assistants
Address: 1516 S. Boston, Suite 200, Tulsa, OK 74119

Phone: (918) 587-6828
Website: National Association of Legal Assistants

LOCATION INFORMATION: Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia photo by Evilarry

Atlanta is located in Fulton County, Georgia. It has a population of over 537,958, which has grown by 29.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Atlanta, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Atlanta cost $173,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, five hundred two new homes were constructed in Atlanta, down from 1,247 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Atlanta are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 34.6% of Atlanta residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Atlanta is 11.1%, which is greater than Georgia's average of 10.1%.

The percentage of Atlanta residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.7%, is more than both the national and state average. Aarons Tabernacle Church, Welcome Home Baptist Church and Adair Park Church are some of the churches located in Atlanta. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Atlanta is home to the Martin Luther King Junior Community Center and the Diuid Hills Golf Club as well as Alexander Park and Wesley Avenue Park. Shopping malls in the area include Rio Mall Shopping Center, Collier Heights Plaza Shopping Center and Northside Parkway Shopping Center. Visitors to Atlanta can choose from Country Inn-Stes Atl Dwntwn S, Comfort Inn and Comfort Inn Buckhead North for temporary stays in the area.