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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

There are many career and education opportunities for legal assistants in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area. About 380 people are currently employed as legal assistants in South Dakota. By 2016, this is expected to grow 26% to about 480 people employed. 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. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

Income for legal assistants is about $18 per hour or $38,710 annually on average in South Dakota. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually. Earnings for legal assistants are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Administration and Support in South Dakota and better than general Administration and Support category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: real estate closer, corporate legal assistant, and proposal specialist.

The Sioux Falls area is home to ten schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Sioux Falls 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, 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 Sioux Falls 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.
  • 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

National American University-Sioux Falls - Sioux Falls, SD

National American University-Sioux Falls, Vista Park Office Building Suite 100, 2801 South Kiwanis Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57105-4293. National American University-Sioux Falls is a small university located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 391 students. National American University-Sioux Falls has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated six and seven 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: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota photo by AlexiusHoratius

Sioux Falls is located in Minnehaha County, South Dakota. It has a population of over 154,997, which has grown by 25.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Sioux Falls, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Sioux Falls cost $149,700 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred eighty-six new homes were built in Sioux Falls, down from 1,000 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Sioux Falls are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 27.8% of Sioux Falls residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Sioux Falls is 5.1%, which is greater than South Dakota's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Sioux Falls residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 66.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Messiah Church, Sunnycrest Church and First Convenant Church are some of the churches located in Sioux Falls. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Sioux Falls is home to the Elmwood Golf Course and the Cactus Hills Country Club as well as Pioneers of Minnehaha County Monument and Picasso Park. Visitors to Sioux Falls can choose from Kelly Inn, Fairfield Inn Sioux Falls and Albert House for temporary stays in the area.