The law affects almost every aspect of our lives—whether you move into a different house, start a new job, or get married. After a legal assistant program, you could go on to pursue a number of different career paths and work in various areas of law. If you’re considering a career as a legal assistant but don’t know what to expect, then look no further. We spoke with Sandi Kerger, the legal instructor at Saskatoon Business College (SBC), about what life is like for legal assistants in Saskatchewan.
Together with instructing at SBC, Sandi also works as a paralegal for some law firms in Saskatchewan. This means she has good connections with legal professionals in the region and has a comprehensive understanding of exactly what the role involves for recent graduates. Read on to find out what to expect after you graduate.
“It Can Be Anything You Want it to Be”
What your life is like as a legal assistant very much depends on what kind of law firm you choose to work in. Sandi explains that students at SBC study various areas of law, starting with a basic introduction to legal terminology, legal procedures, and legal document preparation.
She explains that, “We also go into various areas of law which includes family law, civil litigation, conveyancing which is real estate, wills and estates, criminal law, and corporate.” This means that after completing a legal assistant program, students could work in a particular field that interests them.
“Don’t just think law offices and courts,” Sandi cautions, “think other organizations such as Potash Corporations that have legal departments, SGI’s litigation department, our City Hall that has a City Solicitor’s office, mortgage companies, banks, or other businesses with legal areas, so there is lots of opportunity.”
Work Closely with Clients After Legal Assistant Program
After the legal assistant diploma , you can expect to work closely with lawyers and clients on a daily basis. Sandi says that this is something she finds rewarding in her own work. “Having worked at law offices and in the legal field for many years, I like the interaction between clients and the assistants,” she says. “I find you really develop a vested interest in the file when you get to know the clients.”
However, legal assistants should still expect to know how to work independently. Sandi explains that, “Independence, I think, is valued in legal assistants. The law offices that I work for prefer to have their assistants work as independently as possible. I have worked with some legal assistants that are almost 100% totally independent. So, if you are that kind of person and like that kind of a challenge, it is very rewarding.”
Daily Tasks and Work Hours
While day-to-day life as a legal assistant depends on your workplace, there are some tasks that remain the same. Speaking about the daily life of a legal assistant, Sandi says that, “Typically, I would assume that when the assistants arrive at work, they would retrieve whatever files they have diarized for the day; then the files would be reviewed with their lawyer. The lawyer and assistant would determine what work had to be done on the files, and if there are any other matters that are more urgent than another.”
She adds that, “They would perhaps be fielding calls for their lawyers, drafting and filing various documents for court and signing various documentation with the clients if their lawyer is unavailable. As well, the assistants may be attending court with their lawyer to assist the lawyer in court. Some of our legal assistant graduates have also went on to law school after a period of time working as a legal assistant, or have pursued additional studies in law.”
Legal assistants can expect to work regular hours. “It can be anything from 9 – 5,” says Sandi, adding that, “Some assistants work 8:30 to 4:30. It depends on the office. Some offices stagger hours too.”
So, how do you know if this is a field you might really enjoy working in? “I find legal extremely interesting and a lot of the assistants do too”, says Sandi, adding that “Our lives are so connected with law, sometimes you do not even realize how often you are involved in legal areas in our day to day lives.”
Do you want to find out more about legal assistant college?
Contact Saskatoon Business College today!