Key Competencies of a Legal Assistant

Do you have the aptitudes to become a good legal assistant? Here are some ways to find out.

The legal assistant supports the legal professional (lawyer, judge, notary). He is responsible for administrative tasks, such as drafting and formatting official documents. He also plays a crucial role in coordination and communication, in order to ensure that files are followed up and deadlines met. This function as a right-hand person requires the following skills…

Organization, responsiveness and stress management
A legal assistant manages his time efficiently and deals with emergencies. “We are putting out all kinds of fires each day,” declares Jenny Bolduc, legal assistant at Therrien Couture. “Every day brings new surprises! There is nothing routine about working with a lawyer.”

Rigour and precision
As Vanessa Des Serres, legal assistant with Langlois Lawyers, emphasizes, “Law is a matter of precision. It’s important to have great attention to detail, even if there are a lot of requests and tight deadlines. You have to keep the thread so you don’t overlook anything.”

Legal knowledge
Developing in the legal environment is what distinguishes it from other assistants. Knowledge of the basics and keeping up to date is an asset for this position. “If you understand legal language, the substance of things and why we do them, your work will be more effective,” says Ms. Des Serres. “The more experience an assistant has, the more involved she can be in legal research that is used in many cases,” continues Ms. Bolduc.

Versatility and curiosity
The legal assistant’s tasks vary. “Versatility comes with experience,” Ms. Bolduc emphasizes. “It is necessary to be curious and resourceful to ask the right questions and carry out tasks well.”

The legal assistant is careful about what information he discloses. “Discretion means keeping the confidence of our boss, whose professional and personal life we know,” explains Ms. Des Serres. “It is also paramount to ensure the confidentiality of information that we receive from clients.”

Careful communication
Mastering written and spoken language is essential. “When discussing with a client over the phone, or sending a document, it is the image of the firm and lawyer for whom we work that is at stake,” warns Ms. Des Serres. “This is true for both French and English…”

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