Overview

Prepare for a career in the legal profession with SAIT’s Legal Assistant diploma. Discover how to be integral to a legal practice with highly specialized legal administrative skills.

In this practical two-year diploma, your instructors are lawyers and former legal assistants who show you how to assist your lawyer with important tasks on various files. Using industry software, you develop accurate keyboarding and transcription skills and adapt your strong command of English spelling and grammar to prepare various legal documents effectively.

In your substantive courses, you master relevant terminology for corporate law, real estate law, family law, criminal law and more. You practice legal assistant tasks such as preparing a separation agreement, a criminal law file and a corporate minute book.

In your capstone course, you simulate a real law office to integrate all your legal assistant knowledge. At the end of the program, you demonstrate your professionalism and expertise to potential employers in your one-month practicum placement.

You’ll graduate as a skilled legal assistant and be highly employable in law firms and the court system.

To be successful in this program, you should:

  • attend and actively participate in the class
  • spend six hours per week on each course, outside of regular class time
  • have a strong command of the English language along with a solid foundation in writing skills and vocabulary, which will be further developed in the program
  • have good organizational skills and attention to detail, which are necessary for the program and as a Legal Assistant
  • have strong computer skills and a keyboarding speed of 30 words per minute (strongly recommended)
  • be prepared to work in teams
  • become familiar with and adhere to SAIT's academic policies.

If you are engaged in campus life and take advantage of SAIT support services, you may have a greater chance of success in SAIT's programs.

The opportunity to advance your education by transferring into this program or gain credit for previous postsecondary courses may be available.

There may also be opportunities to further your education by transferring to another institution once you graduate.

Learn more about program and institution transfer options.

In the final semester of this program, you will participate in a four-week law office practicum to apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout your studies.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will receive a SAIT Legal Assistant diploma.

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Each year, SAIT conducts a survey between February and April to determine the employment rate, salary and satisfaction of our newest SAIT alumni. 

people icon 94% graduate employment rate

salary icon $43,750 average starting salary

Find out more about our graduate employment statistics >

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

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Career counselling and support

Unsure which career path is for you? SAIT offers career planning services to help you decide your future.

You can also get started by taking our online career finder quiz, which can help you narrow down your search based on your current skills and interests.

Finally, you can also head to Alberta alis for various tools and resources, including additional quizzes and labour market information to help you narrow down a career path.

Services and workshops

Courses

The Legal Assistant diploma requires 61.5 credits (21 courses) to complete.

The program spans two years, with two semesters each year.

View classes by semester

Course Credits

This course in grammar and proofreading will prepare you to draft, write, edit, and proofread documents and correspondence to a standard acceptable in your profession.

Equivalents:
  • OADM 220
3

A diagnostic/prescriptive approach to improving touch typing skills relative to the legal support role is enhanced through the use of specialized skill building and speed building techniques. Ergonomic factors are presented for individual application. An entry level score of 30 net words per minute is strongly recommended. A minimum score of 40 net words per minute is required to pass this course.

3

Computer applications in the legal arena require efficient and knowledgeable application of sophisticated features. The large volume of law firm data requires you to master the firm’s computer network operating system features and network navigation. You will study the basic setup for message content and organization within a legal office, to ensure electronic messaging applications are used professionally and ethically. You will use word processing software tools to produce professional legal documents, exploring features such as indents, paragraph numbering, page setup, tabs and tables. Additionally, you will learn to use a presentation software to effectively convey legal information used for seminars or marketing.

3

Legal assistants need to be familiar with the administrative procedures and skills they will use in the legal industry. You will discuss what it means to be an industry professional and practice skills such as file opening and maintenance procedures, legal accounting, client relations, time management, and other routine office skills and procedures.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGA 205
  • LEGA 215
Corequsites:
  • LEGL 250
3

You will learn to efficiently produce lengthy legal documents using advanced legal word processing skills. You will explore features such as fill-in forms, styles, templates, table of contents, reviewing tools, document compare and merge. As well, legal assistants are often called upon to prepare calculations related to client files. Spreadsheet applications offer many time-saving tools to ensure accurate calculations and refined data formatting. You will learn how these applications use columns, rows, cells, functions, formulas and other tools to manage data. This course will also offer the opportunity for you to continue developing your keyboarding skill.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGA 215
3

Legal Transcription offers the opportunity to learn and practice the skills needed to transcribe the contents of legal correspondence and documents which lawyers have dictated. This is a very valuable skill used extensively in legal offices. Assistants type up the text while listening to the dictation through a set of headphones. In order to efficiently produce error-free final versions of these legal documents, assistants need to incorporate the listening, spelling, grammar and word processing skills they have acquired in previous courses in the Legal Assistant Program.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGA 205
  • LEGA 265
  • LEGL 250
3

Application of what you have learned is an excellent method of improving your proficiency. In this course, you will complete a series of legal cases from start to finish, applying previously acquired legal knowledge and skills in a simulated legal office environment. Your work will provide the opportunity to hone your interpersonal skills by working in teams and assuming leadership responsibilities, and it will help prepare you for the demands of the legal assistant role in various areas of law.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGA 255
  • LEGA 305
  • LEGA 365
  • LEGL 210
  • LEGL 270
  • LEGL 300
  • LEGL 310
3

Specific software for legal applications is part of a legal assistant’s workday -ranging from document management and assembly to accounting functions to practice management. To further build your skills, you will learn about specialized technology that is utilized in the legal industry.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGA 265
3

Gain a foundational knowledge of Canadian law in this course. You will examine the Canadian legal system, including sources of law, the Canadian constitution and the structure of the court system. You will also be introduced to ethics in the legal profession as well as various areas of substantive law, such as criminal law, evidence, tort law, contract law, family law, wills and estate law, and property law.

3

Corporate law is the law of businesses. This course provides a foundational knowledge of corporate law, including an examination of how different business structures are created, maintained and dissolved. You will also be introduced to current substantive law, prepare relevant documents and correspondence, and learn the responsibilities of a legal assistant in a corporate law context. An emphasis will be placed on Alberta corporations.

3

Specific writing and presentation skills are required by legal assistants in order to meet the legal industry’s needs. Legal correspondence must be clear and concise. Legal Writing focuses on preparing correspondence, e-mails, and simple documents that are unique to law firms. You will also hone your oral presentation skills by preparing and making professional presentations.

Pre-requisites:
  • ENGL 205
  • LEGA 205
  • LEGA 215
3

Want to deepen your understanding of civil litigation? These types of lawsuits require following specific procedures in Alberta - both in the Alberta Court of Justice and in the Court of King’s Bench. In the Court of King’s Bench, you will start with the initial retainer and progress through to Default Judgment. In the Alberta Court of Justice, you will examine a lawsuit from commencement to conclusion. You will also learn how to prepare sample documents that are used for lawsuits in Alberta.

3

Legal assistants are expected to have an understanding of legal principles and procedures relating to the purchase and sale of residential property in Alberta. You will explore a variety of real estate terms and principles, including real property, fixtures, chattels, estates or interests in land, and statutes affecting land. You will also study procedures related to the Torrens System, land title registry, real estate purchase contracts, caveats, searches, transfers of land and how these processes relate to the duties of lawyers and legal assistants.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGA 205
  • LEGL 200
3

This course continues on from the previous legal writing course and focuses on advanced writing skills required by legal assistants in order to meet the legal industry’s needs. Students will be provided with practical guidelines for developing legal documents in plain language. The course will emphasize the fundamentals of drafting, including word selection, sentence structure, and the use of plain English in preparing routine legal documents. Students will draft and edit short and long letters, as well as complex legal documents. Participants will explore the fundamentals of legal research and citation guidelines. Debate skills will be introduced by preparing for and participating in a debate.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGL 250
3

This is your chance to expand your understanding of litigation in Alberta. Litigation is essential to the work completed by legal assistants on a daily basis and the same procedures are used for all lawsuits in Alberta. Building on learning from the previous litigation course, you will explore procedures that are followed for lawsuits at the Alberta Court of King’s Bench from default judgment through to the conclusion of a file. You will also learn how to prepare sample documents that are used for lawsuits in Alberta.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGL 260
3

Building on previously learned foundational real estate concepts, this course moves into more complex transactions in the area of property law in Alberta. You will explore topics such as: residential and commercial mortgages, condominium ownership, builders’ liens and foreclosures, and relate these to the duties of lawyers and legal assistants. This course will develop skills that will allow you to prepare documentation for both residential and commercial real estate transactions and includes an exploration of remedies on mortgage defaults and commercial leases.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGL 270
3

Legal assistants carry an important administrative role in the practice of criminal law. In this course you will study the law and administrative procedures relating to criminal law matters. You will complete a comprehensive criminal file that includes preparing retainer and pre-trial documents. You will become familiar with CCM (Court Case Management) including RCS (Remote Courtroom Scheduling). You will be introduced to the administrative procedures for bringing a Charter application and preparing for trial in Provincial Court or Queen’s Bench. You will also review sentencing and appeals processes, and the administrative tasks related to Youth Offender prosecutions.

3

As a legal assistant, you may work in the area of family law, assisting clients who are dealing with separation, divorce, and issues relating to children as a result of separation and divorce. In this course, you will study the law and procedures relating to family law matters, including divorce actions, family law chambers applications, and family property actions. You will also complete mock files and applications in conformity with the Alberta Rules of Court and Practice Directives.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGL 260
3

Your work as a legal assistant may include working with wills and estates. This course introduces you to the Alberta laws and procedures followed when preparing wills and administering estates. You will learn how to draft a will, power of attorney and personal directive. You will also have the opportunity to prepare the forms required when administering a deceased’s estate in Alberta.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGL 260
3

This introductory course provides an overview of human behaviour in organizations at the individual, group, and organizational level and the effect of each on organizational effectiveness. Topics include: individual differences, motivation, communication, teams, power and politics, conflict and negotiation, leadership, organizational culture, and change management.

Equivalents:
  • MNGT 2250
3

The practicum for the Legal Assistant program is a work experience component of four weeks, which you will complete in a legal environment. You will gain this experience following successful completion of all courses in the program. The practicum will be completed after your final semester, bridging academic studies and practical experiential learning. It is your responsibility to locate a suitable practicum placement, although the Practicum Coordinator of your program can assist in securing an appropriate placement. In order to ensure suitability, your practicum placement must have the prior approval of the Academic Chair for the program.

Pre-requisites:
  • LEGA 305
  • LEGA 355
  • LEGL 200
  • LEGL 320
  • LEGL 350
  • LEGL 360
  • LEGL 380
  • MNGT 250
1.5

Progression

Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure >

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Explore your options!

Some courses in this program are available through Open Studies. You can complete courses via Open Studies to get a head start on your education, reduce your course load once accepted into a credentialed program, or determine which career path best suits you before you fully commit. 

You may also take courses for general interest or personal and professional development.

Available Open Studies courses

Admission requirements

Applicants educated in Canada

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents.

  • at least 50% English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2
  • at least 50% Math 10C or Math 20-3.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.

All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English Language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find out what educational documents are accepted and assessment options.

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.

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Academic Upgrading

Missing an admission requirement for this program? Upgrade your prior education to help you receive admission into one of SAIT's career programs.

Upgrade
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English language proficiency

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

Learn more

Available intakes

Fall 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: June 28, 2024
International students: Closed
  • Application deadline: May 29, 2024

Costs

2023/24 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023. They are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per year.

Domestic students

Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 2 $5,280 $1,570 $6,850
2 2.5 $5,544 $1,873 $7,417
Total cost:
$14,267

Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 2 $15,770.70 $1,570 $17,340.70
2 2 $16,559.24 $1,873 $18,432.24
Total cost:
$35,772.94

Books and supplies are approximately $1,000 - $1,500 per full-time year.

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore's website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date. Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck; no textbook purchase is required this term.

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Financial aid

Paying for your education may feel overwhelming, but we have resources and programs that can help, including information about payment options, student loans, grants and scholarships.

Learn more

Application process

Ready to apply?

Follow our step-by-step guide to submitting a successful application.

Learn how to apply

Communication during admission

Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. 

We recommend you add the business.advising@sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.

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Begin your application

Apply now using the online application portal. 

Ensure you have a valid Visa or Mastercard to pay the non-refundable application fee of $120 for domestic applicants or $150 for international applicants. 

Apply now

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.

Contact us

School of Business Advising

Phone
403.284.8485
Email
business.advising@sait.ca

International Student Advising

Phone
403.284.8852
Email
international@sait.ca