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Hire The Best Legal Assistant By Looking For These 5 Traits

Are you trying to manage growth while keeping organized?

It’s great for growth, but when it gets out of control, it can spin into chaos. What fueled your organization can also cause your growth to falter.

It may look something like this.

Your desk is strewn with sticky notes. Your inbox has a storage warning. You feel like you’re running from meeting to meeting with a trail of messages and to-do lists dragging behind you. There’s a general sense of craziness, as if you’re holding onto the edge of a rocket trying to take off. 

To make things even more uncomfortable, your work involves important legal matters that require focus and in your daily workload they aren’t getting the attention they need. If these things fall through the cracks there could be expensive ramifications. 

A legal assistant would be a huge help, don’t you think? Someone to come in and tame the chaos, help you harness your energy back towards growth, and tighten up your rein on agreements, contracts and other legal matters?

It’s easy to spot the need, but not so easy to know what to do about it. So let’s start with the basics of how a legal assistant can help you, and then point you in the right direction for finding your own.

What Can A Legal Assistant Do For You?

It’s important to know the role of legal assistant, as well as what they don’t do.

A legal assistant’s duties vary depending on where they work and what kind of work needs to get done. Generally, they have legal training and know their way around legal language found in agreements and contracts, and help manage various tasks associated with the handling and completion of those kinds of projects.

Often times a legal assistant can also handle executive admin tasks that might include:

  • Managing and organizing paperwork
  • General office assistance
  • Scheduling meetings and appointments
  • Writing or working with drafts of documents, including letters, contracts, and other legal documents
  • Research
  • Working and communicating with clients and contract workers 

However, a legal assistant will not be acting as a licensed paralegal, and they will be acting under your supervision.

It’s also worth noting that a legal assistant is not qualified to give legal advice in any official capacity. They are there to simply provide additional leverage to your existing expertise, not substitute for an attorney.

5 Traits Of The Best Legal Assistants

The best legal assistants have five things in common. You can use this as a rubric as you look for your own legal assistant.

  1. They are highly educated. While it’s true that a paralegal must meet requirements for certification and licensure, that doesn’t mean a legal assistant shouldn’t have equal (or better) education. It’s great if you can find someone with a two-year or four-year degree in paralegal studies or a related field. 
  2. They are highly experienced. Education isn’t just a degree, however. Some legal assistants have trained on the job and have years of experience working with attorneys, or in corporate legal departments. Your assistant is probably going to be helping you with general duties, like a typical virtual assistant, but they also need to navigate through legal matters. 
  3. They are highly organized. People in need of a legal assistant are busy people. They need someone to inject organization into the chaos. Find someone who can manage a lot of moving parts, someone able to hit deadlines, manage projects, and give everyone the opportunity to be efficient. Look for an assistant with attention to detail, because one tiny mistake can blow the most well-organized project right out of the water.
  4. They are great at research. The ability to research is curiously underrated these days. Considering that information is practically a currency that your organization needs to run on, your legal assistant must be able to find what you need to know to make the right decisions. That means they can do more than a cursory internet search, but know how to find data and verify information from hard-to-find but reliable sources.
  5. They are great communicators. Whatever the format, your legal assistant has to be a good communicator. Good on the phone, good in writing, and good with all of the tech used to communicate now. That means they also know which format of communication works best for the task. Key to this skill is being able to take complex things and convey them in a way that’s usable and easy to understand for everyone.  

This list might look familiar to you if you’ve ever considered hiring a virtual assistant, as many of the skills overlap. The unique component is the education and experience with legal matters.

How To Find The Right Legal Assistant

So how do you translate all of that into making the right hire?

The standard approach is to write a job description for an assistant and mimic that list in some form. It also means you need to be able to verbalize your own expectations. After vetting the applications that come in, you’re going to have to conduct a remote interview with potential candidates.

Sounds easy enough, like hiring any other employee, but that entire process takes time. It also means you’re looking at a new full-time hire. That’s a big expense. And the chaos in your organization can continue to grow while you do all of this.

So what’s the best way to find the right legal assistant—not only the right person, but also the right process? 

It’s through subscription staffing with Boldly. We match you with a perfect candidate from our Fortune-500 qualified staff, and you tell us how many hours you will need your legal assistant, something you can adjust up or down as time goes on.

Not only is the process better, but so are the legal assistants you have access to.

Go back and look at that list of traits. It’s more than just the ability to understand a legal document. It’s a list that covers a broad range of excellence and experience that you’d find in an executive assistant. There’s even some marketing assistant tasks mingled in.

There’s no other way to get that broad range of quality, skip the time and expense of hiring, and stay within budget than through Boldly’s subscription staffing service. 

The best part? You can get started right now.

May 2022 Update: Times have changed, and Legal Assistants with this level of expertise can also be called Remote Executive Assistants.

Topic: Remote Executive Assistant

About the author Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Boldly. She's passionate about helping Businesses, Organizations and Executives increase productivity and move their work forward with the right skills and resources. Setting an example of the efficiencies gained working remotely, she’s been leading her entire team on a virtual basis for the past decade.

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