The Office Manager has had, in the past, a particular image. No more. More often than not in today's complex and dynamic business environment a strong educational background is needed as well as familiarity with business technology, personnel management, purchasing, business process and local, state and federal laws and regulations. As a result, an increasing number of schools are offering Associate Degrees with a focus on Office Management. The majority of programs available are certificate programs offered at specialty schools and training centers. This makes this a uniquely accessible and stable educational investment.
Most programs in the private certification arena are self-paced, online courses and are very convenient to working individuals seeking opportunity. There are classroom style courses available as well with most offering certification in less than a year. There is also a professional association that provides access to these services and educational opportunities, as well as the benefits of membership. Don't wait another day to start your legal office management training. Schools are available in your area that can help. Research any below that offer Bachelor degree programs.
The growth for this field is expected to hover near 12% over the next 10 years. However, when considering a career in this field you should keep in mind that this is a unique, mid-level management career. There will always have to be office managers as there will always be office workers, secretaries, sales people, account manager, and the like. The most likely sector for office managers is in the small business sector where you will find yourself a vital part of the management team. Small businesses form the bulk of all employment in the U.S. and there are few, if any small firms that do not have an office manager.
The "Industry" of Office Management is the SMB or Small to Mid-sized Business. SMB's constitute over 80% of all employment in the United States, and an equivalent share of all general administrative personnel. The growth of this field is tied to the health of the economy to a degree. However, future growth will always track with the average growth of the economy and employment in general. This is because of the ubiquitous nature of Office Management and Administration. Additionally, there is a growing field of temporary and specialty Administration companies that place Office Managers on temporary contract or even provide outsourced services. This is a part of the new structure of business in America and should be an ongoing trend. Your career goals can start with a bachelor's degree in legal office management. Don't get left behind and become competitive in this tough hiring market.
Often individuals who wish to work in a legal setting earn their Bachelor’s degree in either Paralegal, Office Management or Criminal Law. Most of the degree programs are pretty similar, especially the first 2 years. During the last 2 years you’ll start to take courses that are more focused on law related subjects. When you research schools you’ll often see courses that make up your BA degree including:
- Legal Communication
- Criminal Justice
- Legal Office Management
- Property Law
- Civil Litigation
- Criminal Law
- Consumer Protection and Advocacy
- Desktop Publishing Software
- Bookkeeping and Legal Research
When you get hired as an office manager you’ll have a lot of duties depending of the size of legal office you’re working at. With your Bachelor’s degree you will quality for an entry level position if you don’t have prior work experience in a legal setting. Be prepared to do the following duties.
Budgets – Work with and maintain budgets for the company. This could include billable hours that the lawyers charge their clients.
Staffing – As a manager you’ll have more responsibilities and can even interview and hire other staff members.
Research – Most of the time you’ll be performing all types of legal duties for lawyers and even paralegals including conducting legal research. The research can be used in cases.
Marketing – Most of the smaller legal firms do their own marketing. As a legal office manager you could perform some of the marketing responsibilities but also you could work with an outside marketing firm to help gain clients for the law firm.
On average your salary ranges from $26,340 to $64,380 depending on experience as well as the type of law firm you work for. Higher end law offices in NY and CA pay the most. Some of the top office managers will make over $70,000 per year.