As a legal office manager, you will be responsible for overseeing the overall functioning of the office, performing accounting, hiring and firing staff, administering benefits, organizing the office, supervising the staff, tracking court appearances on the calendar, preparing legal documents, and managing case files. In smaller firms, a law office manager may do all of the above and all paralegal duties as well.
Unsurprisingly, salaries for law office managers vary based on location, size of the firm, and experience. As of May, 2010, the median salary was $50,000.
How to Become a Legal Office Manager
Each law firm has their own requirements regarding hiring a law office manager. There are no set guidelines on acceptable education. It is advisable that candidates have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in office management, accounting, business, or paralegal studies.
Attorneys look for candidates with high attention to detail, are deadline oriented, have leadership and people skills, and are knowledgeable in computer software. Successful law office managers need to be familiar with accounting, legal research, and case management software.
Law office managers need to have previous office management experience in any setting. It is to your advantage to have experience as a paralegal as well. Employers will be impressed if candidates have both legal knowledge and management skills. Having both ensures that candidates will be able to handle all of the responsibilities they are given.
Some law firms want candidates to be certified as a legal manager through the Association of Legal Administrators. In order to earn this certification, one must pass a difficult examination. Certain education and experience requirements must be met before managers can even sit for the exam. Areas covered on the exam include accounting, managing client accounts, and managing human resources including an understanding of employment law, knowledge of the legal industry, business management skills, and knowledge of legal industry software.
Joining the state association of legal office management also boosts your chances of landing a law office management position. These organizations provide continuing education, networking opportunities, and a listing of job openings.
Schools For Legal Office Management and Administration