Confidentiality is the foundation of the law office/client relationship, since lawyers can only provide effective representation when there is full and open communication. When clients visit a law office, it’s of utmost importance that they feel secure that all information they provide to lawyers and any legal staff will be held secret and confidential, no matter what the nature of their case may be.
If you’re planning to pursue a career as a legal office administrator, you’ll be playing an important role in maintaining confidentiality in the workplace no matter which type of law office you choose to work in. Read on to find out how you can do your part to help protect client information, so they can continue to get the confidential legal representation they need.
Greeting Clients Professionally Once You Become a Legal Office Administrator
Many graduates with legal training go on to work at the front desks of law firms during their legal office administrator careers. Because they are the first person clients see when they enter the law office, it’s important for these professionals to greet clients kindly and professionally.
When greeting clients, maintaining confidentiality is important. You’ll want to remain friendly, but never ask about or discuss details of a client’s case. The details of their visits are between them and their lawyer, so you’ll never want to say things like “I assume you’re here to discuss ____?” as this could serve as a breach of trust in the attorney/client relationship.
Creating and Filing Documents with Confidentiality After Legal Office Administration Courses
Once you become a legal office administrator, you’ll help lawyers by creating and filing important documents that pertain to different cases. Since legal documents contain sensitive information, it’s important that they be handled with care.
When working with legal documents, your task management skills will play a key role in maintaining client confidentiality. Make sure that when you type up, print, and file away a document, that you complete each task before moving on to your next responsibility. By remaining focused, you’ll reduce the risk of forgetting a document in the photocopier where anyone can walk by and grab it, accidentally sending emails to the wrong recipients, or filing documents in the wrong folders or cabinets.
Share Files Securely Once you Become a Legal Office Administrator
Computers have transformed the way files are created, stored, and shared in the legal office environment. Some law offices have even gotten rid of filing cabinets and switched to computers or data storage services instead. If you work for a practice that stores data electronically, you’ll want to make sure that these documents are properly protected. Not only do these documents contain important case information, but they also contain important client information such as their addresses and social security numbers—which you wouldn’t want falling into the wrong hands.
Many law offices use computers instead of paper filing systems
In order to help keep these files safe, you’ll want to first make sure that your office internet connection is protected with a firewall to help block out anyone who’s unauthorized from gaining access. If your office uses a remote storage service, make sure that it’s a reliable source, and that everything that gets uploaded is password protected.
If you’re passionate about law and want to work with lawyers and paralegals, then legal office administration can be your ticket to a satisfying career.
Legal office administrators can be found in law firms of all shapes and sizes. In fact, the career path you find after graduation can be very different depending on which kind of law firm you decide to work for.
Here’s a look at the kinds of firms you’ll get to choose from after you graduate, and the type of career each has to offer.
Larger Law Firms Show That Bigger Can Sometimes be Better
If you like city living and want to work on top accounts with world-class lawyers, then you might be a good fit for a big law firm.
Big law firms can employ hundreds of professionals and have offices all over the world.
Big law firms are sometimes called corporate law firms. That’s because they often snap up the biggest contracts, which only large companies can afford.
These firms often have huge, towering offices in Canada’s biggest cities. Professionals working at these offices are often paid a little more than legal office assistants working at smaller firms. However, a bigger pay at a bigger office also often comes with more hours and more responsibility.
Medium-Sized Law Firms Offer the Best of Both Worlds
Medium-sized law firms can offer the best of both worlds to graduates who aren’t sure about where they want to work once they start their legal office administrator careers. Medium-sized law firms provide tons of variety, but a little less of the glitz and glamour that come with bigger firms.
That’s not to say that they don’t sometimes work on major cases, though. Many medium-sized firms still pull in big corporate clients with demanding cases.
Small Law Firms Offer Variety for Legal Office Administrators
If you like the idea of working with a small tight-knit team, then a smaller law firm might be the perfect place for you. Small law firms usually have teams of only two to twenty lawyers, paralegals, and office administrators. As a result, you’ll soon know all of your co-workers by starting up your career at a small law firm.
Small law firms tend to me more laid back and friendly.
In addition, small law firms tend to offer more variety than big and medium-sized law firms, and as an office administrator, you might find yourself working on a variety of different cases.
However, on the other hand, small firms can also come with smaller salaries than larger firms.
Boutique Law Firms are for Legal Office Administrator Grads Who Want to Specialize
As you complete yourlegal office administrator courses, you might find that you will enjoy come of your law courses a little more than others. For example, you might discover that you have a passion for family law, or that you shine best when you’re working on civil litigation.
If you want to specialize in one particular area of law once you graduate, then a boutique law firm might be your best bet.
These firms used to be small, but now they range in size from having just a few employees to having a few offices across the country. However, what they all have in common is that they specialize in one area of law. Some might only work on real estate law, while others might cover copyright law, or wills and estates.
There is one thing that boutique firms all have in common: they provide graduates with the opportunity to specialize in a specific area.