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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Boston, Massachusetts

Legal assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Boston, Massachusetts. About 8,140 people are currently employed as legal assistants in Massachusetts. By 2016, this is expected to grow 19% to about 9,720 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for legal assistants are expected to grow by about 28.1%. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

Legal assistants earn about $23 hourly or $49,250 annually on average in Massachusetts and about $22 hourly or $46,120 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Administration and Support, people working as legal assistants in Massachusetts earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Administration and Support nationally. Jobs in this field include: document processor, litigation paralegal, and legal investigator.

There are seventeen schools within twenty-five miles of Boston where you can study to be a legal assistant, among 151 schools of higher education total in the Boston area. The most common level of education for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Boston 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

Northern Essex Community College - Haverhill, MA

Northern Essex Community College, 100 Elliott Street, Haverhill, MA 01830-2399. Northern Essex Community College is a medium sized college located in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,020 students. Northern Essex Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated six and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Anna Maria College - Paxton, MA

Anna Maria College, 50 Sunset Lane, Paxton, MA 01612-1198. Anna Maria College is a small college located in Paxton, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,333 students and an admission rate of 89%. Anna Maria College has associate's degree, two to four year, bachelor's degree, and postbaccalaureate certificate programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

Bentley University - Waltham, MA

Bentley University, 175 Forest St, Waltham, MA 02452-4705. Bentley University is a medium sized university located in Waltham, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,675 students and an admission rate of 38%. Bentley University has a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

Quincy College - Quincy, MA

Quincy College, 24 Saville Ave, Quincy, MA 02169. Quincy College is a small college located in Quincy, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,080 students. Quincy College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated four and ten students respectively in 2008.

Nashua Community College - Nashua, NH

Nashua Community College, 505 Amherst St, Nashua, NH 03063-1026. Nashua Community College is a small college located in Nashua, New Hampshire. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,925 students. Nashua Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five and eight students respectively in 2008.

Middlesex Community College - Bedford, MA

Middlesex Community College, Springs Rd, Bedford, MA 01730-9124. Middlesex Community College is a medium sized college located in Bedford, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,511 students. Middlesex Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

Marian Court College - Swampscott, MA

Marian Court College, 35 Little's Point Rd, Swampscott, MA 01907. Marian Court College is a small college located in Swampscott, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 203 students and an admission rate of 60%. Marian Court College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated three and six students respectively in 2008.

Fisher College - Boston, MA

Fisher College, 118 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02116. Fisher College is a small college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,262 students and an admission rate of 62%. Fisher College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two and three students respectively in 2008.

The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus - Tewksbury, MA

The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus, 515 Woburn Street, Tewksbury, MA 01876. The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus is a small school located in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 299 students. The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus has a one to two year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty students in 2008.

North Shore Community College - Danvers, MA

North Shore Community College, 1 Ferncroft Rd, Danvers, MA 01923-0840. North Shore Community College is a medium sized college located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,223 students. North Shore Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated four and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Assumption College - Worcester, MA

Assumption College, 500 Salisbury St, Worcester, MA 01609-1296. Assumption College is a small college located in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,888 students and an admission rate of 71%. Assumption College has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated four students in 2008.

Newbury College-Brookline - Brookline, MA

Newbury College-Brookline, 129 Fisher Ave, Brookline, MA 02445. Newbury College-Brookline is a small college located in Brookline, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,042 students. Newbury College-Brookline has less than one year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated zero, one, and two students respectively in 2008.

Massachusetts Bay Community College - Wellesley Hills, MA

Massachusetts Bay Community College, 50 Oakland St, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481-5399. Massachusetts Bay Community College is a medium sized college located in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,975 students. Massachusetts Bay Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five and seven students respectively in 2008.

Bunker Hill Community College - Boston, MA

Bunker Hill Community College, 250 New Rutherford Ave, Boston, MA 02129-2925. Bunker Hill Community College is a medium sized college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,500 students. Bunker Hill Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventeen and one students respectively in 2008.

Atlantic Union College - South Lancaster, MA

Atlantic Union College, 338 Main St, South Lancaster, MA 01561-1000. Atlantic Union College is a small college located in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 384 students. Atlantic Union College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

Boston University - Boston, MA

Boston University, One Silber Way, Boston, MA 02215. Boston University is a large university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 31,669 students and an admission rate of 59%. Boston University has a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated one student in 2008.

Suffolk University - Boston, MA

Suffolk University, 8 Ashburton Pl Beacon Hill, Boston, MA 02108-2770. Suffolk University is a medium sized university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,783 students and an admission rate of 82%. Suffolk University has one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventeen, one, and two 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: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts photo by Ahonc

Boston is situated in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 609,023, which has grown by 3.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boston, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Boston are valued at $216,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were constructed in Boston, down from forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boston are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 35.6% of Boston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boston is 8.2%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Boston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Brighton Congregational Church, Leslie Lindsay Chapel and Universalist Meeting House are some of the churches located in Boston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Episcopal Church.

Boston is home to the Metropolitan Water Works Pumping Stations and the Mystic Pier 1 as well as Schoolboy Stadium and Liberty Square. Shopping centers in the area include Legion Shopping Center, Longwood Galleria Shopping Center and Neponset Circle Shopping Center. Visitors to Boston can choose from Federalist Restaurant, Eco-Logical Solutions and Omni Parker Hotel for temporary stays in the area.