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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Chesapeake, Virginia

For those living in the Chesapeake, Virginia area, there are many career and education opportunities for legal assistants. The national trend for legal assistants 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 approximately $21 hourly or $44,280 yearly on average in Virginia. Nationally they average about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually. Legal assistants earn less than people working in the category of Administration and Support generally in Virginia and more than people in the Administration and Support category nationally. Jobs in this field include: legal paraprofessional, bankruptcy assistant, and litigation paralegal.

There are thirty-six schools of higher education in the Chesapeake area, including six within twenty-five miles of Chesapeake 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 Chesapeake 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

Bryant and Stratton College-Virginia Beach - Virginia Beach, VA

Bryant and Stratton College-Virginia Beach, 301 Centre Pointe Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. Bryant and Stratton College-Virginia Beach is a small college located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 567 students. Bryant and Stratton College-Virginia Beach has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

Tidewater Community College - Norfolk, VA

Tidewater Community College, 121 College Place, Norfolk, VA 23510. Tidewater Community College is a large college located in Norfolk, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,900 students. Tidewater Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two and thirty-two students respectively in 2008.

Centura College - Virginia Beach, VA

Centura College, 2697 Dean Drive, Ste 100, Virginia Beach, VA 23452-7431. Centura College is a small college located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,423 students. Centura College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirty students in 2008.

Hampton University - Hampton, VA

Hampton University, , Hampton, VA 23668-0099. Hampton University is a medium sized university located in Hampton, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has an admission rate of 45%. Hampton University has a two to four year and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated zero and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Centura College - Chesapeake, VA

Centura College, 932 Ventures Way, Chesapeake, VA 23320. Centura College is a small college located in Chesapeake, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 44 students. Centura College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated nine students in 2008.

Thomas Nelson Community College - Hampton, VA

Thomas Nelson Community College, 99 Thomas Nelson Drive, Hampton, VA 23666. Thomas Nelson Community College is a large college located in Hampton, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,541 students. Thomas Nelson Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eight 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: Chesapeake, Virginia

Chesapeake, Virginia
Chesapeake, Virginia photo by BetacommandBot

Chesapeake is located in Chesapeake City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 220,111, which has grown by 10.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chesapeake, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chesapeake are priced at $160,000 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, five hundred eighty-nine new homes were constructed in Chesapeake, down from seven hundred fifty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Chesapeake are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and transportation equipment. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 24.7% of Chesapeake residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chesapeake is 6.1%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Pleasant Grove Church, Refuge Mission Church and Saint Andrews Church are among the churches located in Chesapeake.

Chesapeake is home to the Jacks Camp and the Portlock Yard as well as Cascade Park and Ford Park. Shopping malls in the area include Great Bridge Shopping Center, Greenbrier Mall Shopping Center and Poplar Hill Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chesapeake can choose from Courtyard By Marriott, Chesapeake Travelodge Motel and Comfort Inn Bowers Hill for temporary stays in the area.