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How to Become a Law Firm Administrator

Do you enjoy working with others and managing many essential tasks and projects? Legal firms employ more than just lawyers; key staff members like law firm administrators are vital to keeping everything running smoothly.

Law firm administrators are responsible for helping to run the everyday functions of law firms. They impact everything from managing employees to determining workflow to welcoming new hires. 

Law firm administrator is a crucial and rewarding position that requires focus, leadership ability, and superior people skills. 

Sample job description

The law firm administrator helps to facilitate clear communication between clients, their attorneys, and the courts. They also must ensure that legal documents are organized and conduct supervision over the efficient operation of the law firm. They may counsel the supporting staff members and also are in charge of any discipline or termination needed for non-attorney employees. They must have the ability to keep records confidential and have a keen approach to professional communication skills for interpersonal and customer service-related interactions.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  •  Supervise staff and day-to-day operations
  • Collaborate with office managers, human resources specialists, and other office administrators 
  • Maintain appropriate staffing levels for reception, secretarial, etc. 
  • Assist human resources with integrating new team members
  • Help plan and coordinate office functions and events

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field, and experience working in administration in an office setting.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Leadership abilities, including supervisory and team-building skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Superior oral and written communication skills
  • Solid working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Professional and courteous with a positive attitude
  • Able to manage multiple tasks
  • Can work with minimal guidance and oversight

Preferred qualifications

  • At least 2 years of proven accounting and administrative experience in a law firm setting
  • Familiarity with IOLTA accounts and the rules surrounding the same
  • Proficient using Microsoft Excel, Word, and Outlook as well as Adobe
  • Effective written, verbal, and communication skills and experience in developing policies and procedures

Typical work environment

Most law firm administrators train and supervise support staff. They spend a lot of time in the office performing tasks to oversee a variety of clerical and administrative duties. They also spend their days managing the equipment and facilities, dealing with human resources, and delegating accounting functions as needed. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a law firm administrator are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. 

Available certifications

Most law firms will need law firm administrators, so many institutions offer different certifications to help. Check out the following: 

  • Certified Legal Manager Certificate (CLM). This comprehensive program is provided by ALA and will assist law firm administrators with gaining the distinction as certified legal manager. Certification will increase participants overall competency when it comes to increased ability to manage a law firm. It also encourages and improves job performance and provides acknowledgement of professional acumen of its passing persons. 
  • Law Office Administration Specialist Certificate Program. This program offered by the University of Texas at Austin is great for helping paralegals to fill management roles in law offices. It’s an online and self-paced course which includes exercises, quizzes, and more. For the elective requirement, students may pick one of these courses: e-discovery, legal ethics, laws of evidence, advanced legal research, and constitutional law. Participating in this program will increase understanding of personnel relations, timekeeping and billing, and law office technology and systems.

Career path

The path to becoming a law firm administrator starts by first obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field. It helps to achieve certification as a Certified Legal Manager to lay the groundwork to advance in a career in law firm administration. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3010

2020 Employment322,000
Projected Employment in 20308,600
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift350,600 increase

The employee experience is expected to become more central in the responsibilities of law firm administrators, as is an expanding need to multitask.