legalAt Cockle Legal Briefs, we are honored to work with some of the brightest legal minds in the country.  In doing so, it’s clear that an organized and competent legal assistant is worth his or her weight in gold.

These individuals are key resources for an attorney and are frequently responsible for legal research, writing, and managing competing time-sensitive projects.  To be successful in the legal field, a great legal assistant should have:

  1. Technology Skills

We live and work in an environment marked by the high use of technology, giving us the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions as never before.  Tech-smart legal assistants provide an array of computer-based tasks for their occasionally less than tech-savvy attorneys.  Some of these functions include:

  • Formatting legal documents
  • Tracking deadlines
  • Maintaining calendars
  • Videoconferencing
  • Navigating legal research databases
  1. Organizational Skills

Organizational skills are essential in managing the day-to-day aspects of a law practice or an attorney’s bloated case load.  Twelve hour days aren’t uncommon.  The best legal assistants are able to maintain paper and electronic files, accomplish difficult tasks at the last minute, and operate as an undeniable force in front of those who want more time than an attorney is able to give.

  1. Research skills

Effective legal research skills separate the Pros from the Joes.  A great legal assistant can execute legal research on Westlaw or Lexis, cite check, secure expert witnesses, and obtain relevant information from the client in a pinch.

  1. Writing Skills

Attorney’s won’t, and often can’t, write everything that’s filed in court.  Legal assistants often find themselves drafting internal memorandums, court motions, transactional documents, and entire sections of a brief.  An indispensible legal assistant utilizes strong grammar and proofreading skills to assist attorney’s filing in a variety of jurisdictions.

  1. Attention to Detail

Quality legal assistants handle many of the minute details of a legal practice.  They’re responsible for everything from scheduling meetings, monitoring deadlines, and organizing emails to ordering lunch, booking a flight, and checking for updates on a jurisdiction’s local rules.