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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Legal assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There are currently 8,140 jobs for legal assistants in Massachusetts and this is projected to grow by 19% to 9,720 jobs by 2016. 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%. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a legal assistant can expect to earn about $23 per hour or $49,250 per year on average in Massachusetts and about $22 per hour or $46,120 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for legal assistants are not quite as good as in the overall category of Administration and Support in Massachusetts, and better than the overall Administration and Support category nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: closing agent, contracts specialist, and complex commercial litigation paralegal.

The Cambridge area is home to 149 schools of higher education, including seventeen within twenty-five miles of Cambridge 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 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 Cambridge 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: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts photo by Scs

Cambridge is located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 105,596, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Cambridge, 142, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Cambridge are priced at $1,078,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, twelve new homes were constructed in Cambridge, down from twenty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Cambridge are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 65.1% of Cambridge residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 38.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cambridge is 5.6%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Cambridge residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 73.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Western Avenue Baptist Church, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chapel and Cambridgeport Baptist Church are some of the churches located in Cambridge. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church.

Cambridge is home to the Great Court and the Cutter Square as well as John A Ahern Field and Sheridan Square. Shopping malls in the area include Porter Square Shopping Center, The Atrium Shopping Center and Cambridgeside Galleria Shopping Center.