Legal assistants provide crucial services to lawyers, and they have an important role in the legal world. People in this role must gather and organize legal documents, collect case information, schedule appointments and meetings and provide help to lawyers throughout hearings and trials. Legal assistants typically work in law firms, and in order to provide quality assistance to lawyers, they must be highly organized, knowledgeable of legal procedures, good at communicating both verbally and in writing, and they must also be able to juggle multiple tasks at a time.
In an interview, lawyers will be looking for an assistant who is capable of working efficiently and will ultimately make their job easier. If you’re thinking of becoming a legal assistant, here are some questions you can expect to hear during interviews, as well as some suggested responses which will show your potential employer that you are prepared for the job at hand.
Legal Assistants Will Be Asked About their Communication Skills
Legal assistants must be excellent communicators to excel in a legal career. They assist lawyers in working with clients, and they frequently correspond with clients on behalf of a lawyer. As a legal assistant, you may encounter difficult or demanding clients, and an interviewer will want to know what strategies you have for communicating with these clients in a productive and diplomatic manner.
During an interview, you can address questions about your communication skills by emphasizing your interpersonal skills. Think of past employment experiences in which you have had to communicate objectively and diplomatically. Your interviewer will want to know that you can remain calm under pressure, while still communicating clearly.
Lawyers Will Want to Know How Familiar a Candidate is with Technology
Legal assistants must be proficient with a number of software types, and they should also be able to type rapidly. Today, operations within the legal world are largely dictated by technology, and therefore a legal assistant must be comfortable with the legal programs and tech in use, as well as possess the ability to learn how to use new systems.
When answering questions about your ability to use technology, it’s essential to reference the programs you’re familiar with and demonstrate your experience with these programs. Legal administration assistant courses at AOLCC Alberta focus on keyboarding skill-building, as well as teaching students how to use various technology platforms such as Microsoft Word and Outlook. After your legal assistant training, you can reference these courses in interviews as proof of your ability to apply technology skills on the job.
You May Be Asked About Their Organizational Abilities
One of the first things that an interviewer will want to know about a candidate is whether they possess the organizational skills necessary to keep up with the job at hand. Legal assistants are expected to keep all case information, legal documents, statements, evidence, and correspondence organized, and failure to do so can have detrimental impacts on court processes. In an interview, you may be asked about what you would do as a legal assistant to improve efficiency, meet deadlines, and handle your everyday workload.
When interviewing, you can illustrate your organizational capabilities by giving your interviewer an example of a system of organization that you’ve used effectively. Give examples of which tasks you would prioritize, and highlight situations during your life in which you have used your organizational capabilities to your benefit. This will give your interviewer a good idea of how you will manage your duties on the job. Additionally, you can reference the hands-on experience gained during your legal assistant training. In a legal assistant program such as that offered by AOLCC Alberta, students learn in a simulated “real world” work environment, gaining the experience necessary to stay organized as a legal assistant.
Legal Assistants Should Be Prepared to Speak About their Passion for the Legal Field
The moment when you’re asked questions pertaining to why you chose to go into the legal field is when you really have the chance to stand out as an applicant. An ideal assistant to a lawyer will not only be capable but should also be passionate about the work that they’re doing. In an interview, you can answer these questions by sharing why you decided to become a legal assistant, what motivates and excites you about the legal world, and why you want to work within the specific firm or office you’re applying to. Before an interview, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the firm you want to work for, as demonstrating this knowledge shows your interviewer that you’re passionate about working for them in particular.
Do you think you have what it takes to work as a legal assistant?