Legal Assistant

By Aoife Read - Last update

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Legal Assistant careers are generally considered to be prestigious. But legal assistant careers are a demanding field of study. legal assistant careers require a considerable level of commitment. The process of qualification is a long one. However, the law is a fascinating and rewarding career.


There is a broad range of legal assistant courses available at third-level colleges, including Law and Legal Studies degrees. Also, some degrees combine Law with another subject such as History, Politics, Philosophy, Taxation, Business, French, and German. You can also do a higher-certificate or ordinary degree courses in Legal Studies and Legal Studies with Business. These can facilitate access to the degree courses.

As you can guess, Law students study many aspects of Irish and International law. This includes aspects such as tort, contract, criminal, land, and constitutional law. Furthermore, they will cover subjects such as Irish Legal History and Legal Writing. Students on some courses will also have a core or optional subjects in areas such as languages, business and the arts.

Options after Qualification

The Law Society of Ireland oversees the professional training and certification of solicitors, while the Honorable Society of King’s Inns is responsible for the education of barristers in Ireland.

Newly qualified solicitors usually start as a junior in an established private practice. New barristers spend a period devilling with an experienced barrister before branching out on their own.

The Work

Legal assistants are often the first port of call for a member of the public when legal matters arise. They provide all manner of legal advice and services to the public, organisations, and businesses. Common tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Drawing up documents to oversee land and property sales
  • Helping individuals in legal disputes with others
  • Drawing up wills and other legal agreements
  • Dealing with business and corporate law
  • Advising people in trouble with the Gardaí

Legal Assistants also brief barristers for court cases. Some firms of solicitors specialising in a particular area, such as environmental or media law.

Personal Qualities & Work Environment

An aptitude and command over the English language are vital, as it is necessary to understand and translate the complex legal language. Researching skills are also hugely important as is a willingness to work hard.

Fostering good relationships with peers and clients is a must. Confidence and public speaking skills are also required. Legal assistants usually work from an office. Long hours are common and expected, especially for people beginning their legal careers.


Adverse possession: When someone occupies land without the legal title for a long enough period, normally 12 years, that they are recognized as the legal owner (‘squatter’s rights’)

Conveyance: The transfer of ownership and rights of property from one person to another

Tort: Any wrongdoing that may result in a civil action for damages

Devilling: A period of training where a trainee barrister shadows an experienced barrister for a year


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