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Understanding Law Firm Job Titles

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Law firm job titles go way beyond lawyers and attorneys. The environment inside many law firms and legal departments can be quite fascinating and often intimidating, especially for new employees. There is a new language to learn, especially regarding firm leadership and navigating the firm hierarchy. We are breaking down the various law firm job titles to make it a bit easier to understand and plan for your potential career in law. This article covers general law firm job titles, positions in the courthouse, and administrative and behind-the-scenes roles in law firms.

General law jobs

First, let’s dive into the more general jobs in the field of law. These are mostly law firm job titles but include positions in large corporations and organizations with an internal legal department.


An arbitrator works to settle legal disagreements between two parties directly. The disagreement can be settled outside the court system if this process succeeds. Arbitrators hold private, confidential hearings to find a resolution. These hearings are more informal than in a standard court setting. The arbitrator will listen to the facts and the evidence and then make a decision. They must be independent and impartial. 


Attorneys are licensed professionals that can practice law in at least one state. They perform many jobs and tasks, including offering advice, helping clients, creating and renewing contracts, advocating for a client, and representing clients in a courtroom. Attorneys can file paperwork, request appeals, and engage in criminal defense or prosecution.

There are many unique specialties in law, and attorneys may operate in one specialty or practice in more areas. Attorneys can practice solo, with a partner, or as part of a law firm. 


Many people don’t know the difference between lawyers and attorneys because the terms are often used interchangeably. The easiest way to learn the difference was that all attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys. You can be a lawyer if you’ve completed law school, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve passed the bar exam and become licensed to practice law. 

Corporate counsel

Large companies and organizations often have their own legal department to handle any legal issues. That position is called corporate counsel. Some companies work with outside law firms on a long-term basis instead of employees. This role helps with compliance, financial reporting, negotiations, mergers, acquisitions, and litigation of any lawsuits. Corporate counsel will work with other departments within the organization to keep stakeholders updated and provide advice when needed.  

Case manager

Legal case managers are a support role for attorneys who oversee law firms’ case management process. The role tracks cases and organizes the paperwork, timelines, and case summaries. Case managers recommend cutting costs and effectively using resources while prepping for a case. Coordinating all the moving parts with big trials can be a big undertaking, so a case manager can help keep all the pieces organized and communicate with the appropriate people.

Jury consultant

Jury selection is a critical part of the case. A jury consultant assists in this process. They will help choose a jury that will be likely to return a verdict in their favor. Usually, they have a degree in a related field, like psychology or social sciences, which allows them to help advise on the selection process. This consultant can also help prep witnesses, participate in mock trials, and evaluate the deposition transcripts. 

A legal analyst helps attorneys with legal research and uses their specialized knowledge to provide analytical data and sort through paperwork and case information. They support the legal team and work alongside lawyers to conduct interviews. Analysts can help draft documents and complete some of the initial work for the team. 


Paralegals work under the supervision of lawyers. They are typically pre-law and potentially considering becoming an attorney. The role uses their extensive legal knowledge to prepare for cases and trials. Like the legal analyst role, they will help with research and drafting documents. 


Mediators are neutral third party help resolve an issue between two groups or people. They are not representing either side but working to reach a mutual understanding and agreement. Mediators are used in many situations, including divorce proceedings and union negotiations. If a mediator is successful, the case will stay out of the court system.

A legal services director is a position in larger organizations with a legal department. This director works with other departments and communicates the happenings within the legal team. It’s also their responsibility to keep the legal department on track with the organization’s values and overall goals. By providing legal advice and guidance to the senior leadership team, they can avoid lawsuits and guide contracts and negotiations. 

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Court positions

Outside of the standard law firm job titles, other positions are common in the legal field, including positions in the court system. This section reviews the jobs available in the courthouse. 

Court messenger

A court messenger is responsible for getting all the appropriate documents and information to all parties in each trial. This role is sometimes called a legal courier. Because of the importance of the documents and required confidentiality, it requires a specific person who can be relied on. The daily duties include filing documents with the court, picking up and dropping off time-sensitive files and packages, and distributing information among trial participants. 

Court transcriptionist

Court transcriptionists are responsible for providing written accounts of the court proceedings and any meetings that happen before or after the trial. It requires turning oral arguments into a transcript that can be referred back to and filed for a permanent record. Some transcriptionists use a special machine, like a stenotype or a voice recorder, to help produce a transcript.  

Court reporter

A court reporter is another name for a court transcriptionist. This role is responsible for recordkeeping and capturing all the dialogue in the courtroom using shorthand. It’s important that they are familiar with legal, medical, and technical terminology and able to transcribe this information accurately. Strong writing skills with excellent punctuation, vocabulary, and grammar are also essential for this role.


A magistrate assists district court judges. They are defined as any individual with the power of a public civil officer or an inferior judicial office, such as a Justice of the Peace. They will preside over many civil and criminal matters in court, but only judges can preside over felony trials. Magistrates can issue warrants, conduct preliminary proceedings in cases like the initial appearances, and hear certain cases.


Judges are responsible for presiding over the court. Many lawyers work to become judges in their careers. The role is critical to keep things fair and just in the courtroom during trials. They have to stay impartial and keep both sides in line. These are public officials that are either appointed or elected. They have the authority to hear cases in a court of law, and in non-jury situations, they are also required to pronounce a judgment in each case. 

Administrative roles

Plenty of people are helping behind the scenes of a law firm. These law firm job titles are most administrative and assist attorneys in arguing cases in the courtroom. Administrative work can be a great introduction to the legal field and provide an incredible experience. Many of these roles are filled by people interested in studying law or those interested in law but not wanting to go through law school and the bar exam.

Law firm administrator

The law firm administrator oversees all the day-to-day operations at a law firm. They manage the support staff, work on schedules, help with accounting and billing, and maintain organizational rules in the office. This person typically wears many hats in the office, especially without a large support staff. They may help with IT issues, client communication, bookkeeping, and HR duties.

Legal assistants work to help attorneys with their cases and workload. The role includes mostly administrative tasks, like drafting documents and maintaining legal files. Assistants help with research on cases and organize the information for the attorneys. They may also assist with communication and other office tasks.

A legal secretary is similar to a legal assistant. Large law firms may have both roles, but smaller firms may merge some of these law firm job titles. This is a specialized administrator that works in corporate environments. They help manage files and paperwork for the current caseload and file and organize paperwork for previous cases. The common tasks are helping with emails and clerical duties for attorneys and paralegals. 

Legal clerks assist attorneys or judges by researching issues and drafting legal opinions. This role is also called a judicial clerk or a judicial assistant. This role typically goes to recently graduated law school students, and serving as a U.S. federal judge is one of the most prestigious positions. It sets the clerk up for long-term career success. 

File clerk

A file clerk is responsible for maintaining and protecting the law firm’s files and records. The job requires a lot of data entry and data input. They may help with document preparation and file organization. The role requires accurate note-taking and strong organizational skills. File clerks archive records and upload digital files and data based on the firm’s record-keeping systems.