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Your complete guide to law office management careers and education

law office manager working at laptop computer

Good law office management is behind every successful law office. Law office administrators direct and coordinate the activities of a law firm or legal department, including the planning, organization, and direction of their department.

Some law office managers actually perform the same functions as legal secretarieslegal assistants, and paralegals, and are paralegals in everything but name. They can also become paralegals with some additional paralegal training.

In this article

4 steps to become a law office manager

Earn your associate degree in legal office management.

male legal administration student in college library

You may be able to enter the field with other office administration experience, but the go-to degree is a 2-year associate in law office management, where you’ll learn administrative and organizational skills and office technologies and software programs. Specific to the legal industry you’ll also take classes in criminal law, business law, accounting, legal document writing and legal office procedures.

Get work experience.

woman applying at law office

You can apply for internship programs where you’ll become familiar with legal professionals in your area. After earning your degree you may be able to join professional organizations, which offer the opportunity to learn more about the legal profession and present networking opportunities. Organizations such as the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) offer professional assistance through webinars, conferences and networking gatherings.

Find a job as a law office manager.

woman administrator running meeting in busy law office

Your internship or networking experience could pay off when seeking a job, but it may be wise to look outside the box and not only consider legal firms, but places where legal administration may also be needed, such as hospitals, schools, non-profits and government agencies.

Earn your professional certification.

man writing in book while looking at laptop screen

Earning professional certification allows employers to see how proficient you are in your role, and may be key to presenting advancement opportunities later on. Credentials are not required for law office managers and administrators but may help you in your employment. The ALA offers the Certified Legal Manager (CLM) credential program, which demonstrates you have “mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities to operate at a high level of expertise in the field of legal management.” They offer the certification exam twice each year.

The workplace

There is a lot of opportunity in law office management. Administrators work in law firms, legal departments, or governmental agencies and private corporations. They often do support work for lawyers, legal secretaries, legal assistants, or paralegals. Law office management is often a first step into these related fields.

Law office managers play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of a law office. Their responsibilities may include:

  • Overseeing salaries and benefits
  • Handling budgets
  • Billing and collections
  • Managing staff and facilities
  • Maintaining the library and office records
  • Recruiting attorneys
  • Doing legal research
  • Coordinating client marketing

Education and training

While there are no academic requirements for entry into the field of law office management, taking a 2-year associate’s degree program or a 1-to-2 semester certificate program in law office management or public administration will help you prepare for the complexities of legal practice.

Most programs cover these areas:

  • Management principles and concepts
  • Legal terminology
  • Human resource management
  • Supervisory techniques
  • Managing financial resources
  • Legal ethics

Salaries for law office managers

Law office managers are part of the larger field of administrative services managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics, the median national annual salary for administrative services managers is $103,330. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors.

Administrative Services Managers

National data

Median Salary: $103,330

Projected job growth: 5.6%

10th Percentile: $59,070

25th Percentile: $78,490

75th Percentile: $135,200

90th Percentile: $178,870

Projected job growth: 5.6%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $96,240 $69,070 $195,270
Alaska $88,820 $61,150 $158,270
Arizona $93,490 $49,410 $163,300
Arkansas $90,880 $55,800 $166,100
California $105,650 $61,150 $195,870
Colorado $132,330 $80,450 $199,280
Connecticut $122,670 $76,440 $196,950
Delaware $129,570 $93,490 $195,100
District of Columbia $121,060 $77,780 $183,540
Florida $98,790 $49,420 $173,740
Georgia $95,120 $50,980 $189,030
Hawaii $103,420 $64,150 $164,040
Idaho $103,010 $49,440 $169,760
Illinois $102,780 $62,720 $170,790
Indiana $94,190 $52,670 $165,080
Iowa $92,130 $62,200 $149,440
Kansas $103,450 $67,910 $166,570
Kentucky $97,360 $51,670 $161,140
Louisiana $91,310 $53,500 $162,990
Maine $88,780 $57,990 $190,140
Maryland $105,190 $64,290 $170,500
Massachusetts $128,270 $69,420 $226,500
Michigan $104,350 $60,130 $161,650
Minnesota $119,700 $76,750 $226,810
Mississippi $78,350 $45,400 $160,170
Missouri $95,040 $48,870 $161,080
Montana $101,850 $64,760 $129,570
Nebraska $94,510 $59,800 $161,920
Nevada $71,020 $38,080 $121,100
New Hampshire $109,180 $60,500 $170,740
New Jersey $130,230 $83,970 $213,760
New Mexico $98,410 $63,160 $158,690
New York $130,400 $81,720 $219,580
North Carolina $99,980 $59,550 $168,900
North Dakota $102,170 $71,680 $166,220
Ohio $81,500 $50,320 $141,600
Oklahoma $95,800 $47,510 $163,750
Oregon $95,740 $56,730 $137,860
Rhode Island $132,480 $94,790 $212,580
South Carolina $100,270 $62,410 $171,580
South Dakota $87,390 $63,100 $131,110
Tennessee $109,450 $53,800 $193,340
Texas $102,120 $58,720 $167,510
Utah $100,820 $59,110 $175,360
Vermont $78,310 $49,060 $131,540
Virginia $111,990 $64,210 $201,750
Washington $128,510 $82,370 $207,040
West Virginia $71,840 $49,030 $120,870
Wisconsin $105,000 $65,560 $166,090
Wyoming $104,280 $51,080 $156,460

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.