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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

If you want to be a legal assistant, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 9,550 people work as legal assistants in Pennsylvania. This is expected to grow 15% to about 11,000 people 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%. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

The income of a legal assistant is about $21 hourly or $44,420 annually on average in Pennsylvania. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $22 hourly or $46,120 yearly on average. Legal assistants earn more than people working in the category of Administration and Support generally in Pennsylvania and more than people in the Administration and Support category nationally. Legal assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: legal aide, corporate legal assistant, and legal paraprofessional.

There are eighty-three schools of higher education in the Pittsburgh area, including eight within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. The most common level of education 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 Pittsburgh 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

Bradford School - Pittsburgh, PA

Bradford School, 125 West Station Square Drive, Suite 129, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Bradford School is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 583 students and an admission rate of 95%. Bradford School has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five and thirty-six students respectively in 2008.

Academy of Court Reporting Inc-Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA

Academy of Court Reporting Inc-Pittsburgh, 235 4th Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Academy of Court Reporting Inc-Pittsburgh is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 174 students. Academy of Court Reporting Inc-Pittsburgh has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus - Pittsburgh, PA

Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus, 777 Penn Center Boulevard, Building 7, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 534 students and an admission rate of 75%. Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Community College of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, PA

Community College of Allegheny County, 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1895. Community College of Allegheny County is a large college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,366 students. Community College of Allegheny County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-one and thirty-one students respectively in 2008.

Sanford-Brown Institute - Pittsburgh, PA

Sanford-Brown Institute, 421 Seventh Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1907. Sanford-Brown Institute is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 838 students. Sanford-Brown Institute has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two students in 2008.

Westmoreland County Community College - Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County Community College, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697-1895. Westmoreland County Community College is a medium sized college located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,512 students. Westmoreland County Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated one and ten students respectively in 2008.

West Virginia Business College-Wheeling - Wheeling, WV

West Virginia Business College-Wheeling, 1052 Main St, Wheeling, WV 26003. West Virginia Business College-Wheeling is a small college located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 60 students. West Virginia Business College-Wheeling has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated forty-five students in 2008.

Everest Institute-Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA

Everest Institute-Pittsburgh, 100 Forbes Ave, Suite 1200, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1320. Everest Institute-Pittsburgh is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 368 students and an admission rate of 70%. Everest Institute-Pittsburgh has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-four 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: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.