The career of a virtual assistant is one which is packed full of opportunity. As the demand for virtual assistants grows, so do the niches and industries where virtual assistants can demonstrate their talents.
However, each of these sectors require a special skillset, and you need to be sure you can confidently tick each of these skills off your checklist. The legal world, of course, is highly complex, and the skills of a legal virtual assistant need to be exceptional to navigate it.
This is why we’re going to show you the must have skills you need to succeed.
What is a Legal Virtual Assistant?
A legal virtual assistant is an employee who delivers administrative services to legal professionals such as lawyers at a law firm. These services are varied and can be a mixture of both standard administrative duties and ones which are specific to the legal industry.
A standard administrative duty could, for example, involve organizing a lawyer’s appointment schedule. When it comes to more specialized legal duties, the skills of a legal virtual assistant will need to be sharp enough to edit and review legal documents.
And, as we’re talking about virtual assistants, all these duties need to be completed remotely. Therefore, rather than travelling to your employee’s premises, you will simply connect to their IT infrastructure via the internet. This will provide you with everything you need to complete your duties and make commuting a thing of the past.
What Do You Need to be a Legal Virtual Assistant?
Before you take your first virtual assistant job in the legal niche, you need to be confident you have the skills required to deliver a world-class service. After all, the legal profession is a tough, demanding environment, one where high-quality results are expected. So, to make it as a success, the skills of a legal virtual assistant you need to master are:
One of the key skills a virtual assistant needs is meticulous organization. The legal world, naturally, is complex and one where attention to detail is king.
Accordingly, a legal virtual assistant needs to be able to organize workloads effectively and efficiently. Understanding how to, for example, prioritize a list of tasks is crucial in this role.
So you need to be able to demonstrate that you have solid organizational skills. With a strong sense of organization on your side, you will be able to show employers that you can keep their law firm running like a well-oiled machine.
A legal virtual assistant needs to possess a strong understanding of legal terminology to be a success in the role. The nature of the legal industry means it’s one packed full of technical terms, and it’s vital you can interpret these to understand what your employers are requesting.
From getting to grips with the technicalities of wills through to dealing with Latin terms in documents and analyzing the content of trial briefs, you need to be at the top of your game with legal terminology.
With this skill in your locker, your employers will have peace of mind that their work is in safe hands.
Time management skills:
Lawyers work under extreme pressure and to tight deadlines, so it’s important they have someone backing them up with strong time management. Remember, employees such as lawyers and attorneys need to focus their attentions on complicated and time-consuming legal affairs.
As such, managing their day-to-day schedule needs delegating. And this is where the skills of a legal virtual assistant come in. Coming pre-loaded with the required skills to book appointments and update schedules, a virtual assistant will take away the pain of time management.
Working with a legal firm doesn’t mean your interaction is limited to working with lawyers. In fact, during your role, you will be dealing with a wide range of people. Which include fellow legal assistants, clients, law enforcement professionals and, of course, opposing legal teams.
And this requires a strong set of interpersonal skills. One of the most valuable skills in this area is the ability to meet new people and strike up an instant rapport.
Accordingly, make sure you are always gracious with colleagues and highlight just how much of a team player you are.
With more and more emails being sent every year, the demands of email communication is increasing rapidly. The perfect example of this is the inbox of any legal firm. Where all manner of queries from clients, law enforcement teams and judicial services will steadily build up throughout the day.
And it’s this demand which can put a serious dampener on an organization’s productivity. Thankfully, a legal virtual assistant will display the skills required to manage this workload. This means you will be able to show you can categorize emails, highlight the importance of urgent emails, and set up auto-redirects.
All virtual assistants need a certain level of IT knowledge to work remotely. But the demands of a legal virtual assistant make this even more crucial. Each role you take on will require strong IT skills, and these will be needed to create presentations, format documents, organize video meetings and complete data entry tasks.
A strong knowledge of Microsoft Office will mark you out as a contender for most roles, but it’s also vital you have experience using legal software such as MyCase and PracticePanther. Remember, most virtual assistants have good IT skills, but it’s down to you to prove yours are the very best.
One of the most important skills of a legal virtual assistant is the ability to understand confidentiality. Working with legal professionals, almost everything you hear regarding cases will be highly sensitive.
As a result, you need to understand the best handling practices for documents – such as password protecting them – and only ever using secure email servers to email trusted contacts. Otherwise, you run the risk of jeopardizing cases and letting your clients down.
Therefore, you need to show you are proficient in both data protection and understanding confidentiality protocols.
Attention to detail:
Legal cases rely on the smallest of details, so you need to make sure your attention to detail is sharp. Even the smallest typo on a document, for example, could create major problems when it comes to mounting a case.
As such, it’s critical you have a conscientious approach to checking and double checking all your work. It may feel monotonous to go back over a document and confirm everything is perfect but, in the long term, it will show your employers you are passionate about the result.
Strong communication skills should be at the forefront of your skillset if you want to stand out as a LVA. Lawyers, after all, rely heavily on the written word. It will often be down to you to draft documents or transcribe audio files.
As a consequence, your spelling and grammar need to combine with a strong vocabulary. To deliver written documents which are accurate and contain all the relevant information. And, as long as you can prove this, you should be the perfect candidate.
How to Become a Legal Virtual Assistant
The ultimate legal virtual assistant will be able to combine all the above skills to produce a package of productivity. However, without that connection to a law firm, you’re going to struggle to achieve everything you are capable of. But this is where Pineapple can step in and make that connection come alive.
Here at Pineapple, we pride ourselves on providing the best legal virtual assistants to the best law firms. With a wide range of contacts across the industry, we can align your skills with the perfect employer. Get your career moving in the right direction. So, if you feel ready to take the next step, get in touch with us here at Pineapple.
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