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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in New Orleans, Louisiana

Legal assistants can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. There are currently 3,290 jobs for legal assistants in Louisiana and this is projected to grow by 29% to 4,230 jobs 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 $18 per hour or $38,330 per year on average in Louisiana and about $22 per hour or $46,120 yearly on average nationally. Legal assistants earn more than people working in the category of Administration and Support generally in Louisiana and more than people in the Administration and Support category nationally. Legal assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: immigration paralegal, contracts specialist, and real estate closer.

There are thirty-two schools of higher education in the New Orleans area, including three within twenty-five miles of New Orleans where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. Given that the most common education level for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree, 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 New Orleans 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

Herzing College - Kenner, LA

Herzing College, 2400 Veterans Mem Blvd., Suite 410, Kenner, LA 70062. Herzing College is a small college located in Kenner, Louisiana. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 250 students and an admission rate of 57%. Herzing College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eight students in 2008.

Tulane University of Louisiana - New Orleans, LA

Tulane University of Louisiana, 6823 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118-5698. Tulane University of Louisiana is a large university located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,157 students and an admission rate of 27%. Tulane University of Louisiana has associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and postbaccalaureate certificate programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven, two, and four students respectively in 2008.

Nunez Community College - Chalmette, LA

Nunez Community College, 3710 Paris Rd, Chalmette, LA 70043. Nunez Community College is a small college located in Chalmette, Louisiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,470 students. Nunez Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven and four 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: New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana photo by Krakers

New Orleans is located in Orleans Parish County, Louisiana. It has a population of over 311,853, which has shrunk by 35.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in New Orleans, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in New Orleans cost $139,700 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, eight hundred eighty-two new homes were built in New Orleans, down from 1,026 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in New Orleans are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 25.8% of New Orleans residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in New Orleans is 9.8%, which is greater than Louisiana's average of 7.1%.

The percentage of New Orleans residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.1%, is less than both the national and state average. All Saints Catholic Church, Iglesia Bautista Getsemani and Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in New Orleans. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

New Orleans is home to the Keller Market and the New Orleans Country Club as well as Harris Playground and Hardin Playground. Shopping malls in the area include Carrollton Shopping Center, Read Boulevard Shopping Center and Read Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to New Orleans can choose from Rampart Street Connection, Lafitte Guest House and HAMPTON INN & SUITES CONV CTR for temporary stays in the area.